July 22, 2022
Mt. Shasta to campsite at Disappearing Creek, mile ~1511.2
One of the beautiful things about staying in a hotel is that the curtains block out the light in the morning. We sleep in past seven, and it feels amazing. Once we are up and moving, we finish packing up, make some sad weak hotel coffee, and get ready to go out for a proper breakfast.
It’s 0.8 miles back across town to Black Bear Diner, and there’s a pretty long wait. However, this wait is made bearable by the fact that as we’re walking in, we see Ishay! I love how he just pops up in the most unexpected places. We compare experiences from the last hundred miles or so, and we talk about how Northern California has been a little bit of a struggle. I love his energy so much. He’s just so chill and excited about everything all the time.
We all order coffee (bottomless, of course) and drink cup after cup. Because I feel like I haven’t been eating enough vegetables, I order the veggie scramble. Any nutritional value that I would have derived from this is negated by the fact that I also get a very large biscuit with gravy on the side. It is delicious.
Our last stops before we leave town include Burger King, where we refill our water and tribute orders cheeseburgers to pack out (at the last minute I decided not to do this, which I regret deeply later). I also realize that I don’t have one of my credit cards in my wallet. In a panic, I call the Mexican restaurant from last night. Turns out, I forgot to take it with me. So I have to head there as well.
On the way, we stop at the post office so that I can drop off another batch of postcards, then Jumbo and Tribute try to find a cash machine while I walk to the Mexican restaurant, making a pitstop on the way to the natural grocery store, where I get a very tasty orange cream popsicle. While I’m walking to the Mexican restaurant, I call my mom because I haven’t in a while. Our conversations always feel a little bit rushed on trail, but it’s nice to check in. I get my credit card back from the restaurant, then Jumbo, Tribute, and I stand across the street and start hitching.
A guy named Dale pulls over and tells us that he can give us a ride in about an hour. So we go to a little cafe and get Italian sodas because what the heck, it’s hot and we’re not in a rush. Then we walk back down the street to meet Dale, who drives us back to the PCT. Thank you, Dale!
At the trailhead, we talk to a group of hikers who’s just going into town. Then someone we haven’t seen in forever rolls up: Gus! He’s one of the other English guys we were hiking around at the beginning, and he’s infamous for always being a little cranky about something. But he seemed in great spirits today, and it was fun to catch up.
We walk under the I-5 overpass and immediately start climbing a steep, AT-style hill. Why. After about half a mile it levels out and the terrain is extremely pleasant pine needle-covered path for a bit. Jumbo is by now croaking when he talks and can’t breathe well when walking. Meanwhile, I just feel completely exhausted. Every step is so much effort. I feel like I’ll never get to camp. Jumbo says this how he felt a couple of days ago, suggesting that I may also be getting sick. Ugh. I really don’t want to be sick.
We take a long break at a creek, then another break a few miles later. I’m just trudging behind them. At our second break, Jumbo says it feels like he has heartburn in his throat. I record a video of him talking about how he is and it’s honestly hilarious. His voice is about an octave lower than normal and so quiet you can barely hear him. Poor thing.
The rest of the day goes so slowly. We only have 10 miles, but it feels like an eternity. I trudge, drunk water, change my music, trudge some more. The trail starts to go upwards and I’m treated to a lovely view of the Castle Crags. It’s not much farther after this that I run into the boys at a campsite wedged in right next to the trail near Disappearing Creek. Works for me. We set up and then do dinner in our tents to avoid the mosquitoes. Then I have the deeply unfortunate realization that I have to go dig a cathole. Now. Oh god. I sprint off into the woods, annoyed, but I make it. Then, exhausted, I return to my tent and feel the beautiful sensation of being horizontal.