I again woke up at 5 am, wanting to get to the road and into town as early in the day as possible. The mosquitoes this morning were pretty awful, which fueled moving as quickly as possible, and I was ready to leave by 5:45.
However, no one else at camp was ready to go yet, so I walked the short distance back to the dirt road just before the campsite, where there was a relatively unobstructed view of Mount Shasta, lit by the just-risen sun. There, I saw Alias, whom I also hadn’t seen in quite awhile (Tehachapi, I think).
The mosquitoes getting to be too much, I started hiking about quarter after six. The trail was a very easy downhill (and completely lacking in views), and I didn’t hike as fast as I could just so I wouldn’t have to wait as long for everyone else to get to the road where the trail angel I contacted yesterday would pick us up.
The trail passed 1500 miles on the way to I-5. This also means that the trek through California is nearly at an end: less than two hundred miles to go before I reach Oregon.
We arrived at the trail’s crossing of I-5, via an underpass with Soda Creek Road, around 8:15, somewhat earlier than I told the trail angel last night, but easily in line with the smooth downhill we had from camp. Castle Crags was somewhat visible, poking up from behind some trees. I sent him a message saying we were at the trailhead, but before he responded, a local, Dan, pulled up in his truck and offered us a ride into town. In addition to the five of us from the camp last night, there were three other hikers that had arrived as well. Somehow, all eight of us (and our packs) fit in Dan’s truck. It was a veritable clown car of hikers.
Dan dropped us off at the Black Bear Diner, where we ate breakfast. I had “The Grizz”, which was a tremendously large breakfast of giant pancakes, eggs, and lots of meat.
Afterwards, several of us went to the Fifth Season, a hiker-friendly gear shop, where we could leave our packs while we did our chores around town. After buying a new fuel can and a new bottle of sunscreen, I left to go to the food store. About halfway there, I got a call from the motel I’m staying at, the Travel Inn, that my room was ready, and that I’d have to check in before noon, or wait until after 4 pm, as the office staff was going to be out. So, I walked back to the Fifth Season, picked up my pack, and went to check in.
My order from Amazon for Propel mix and and new boots was split up into two shipments. Only one of them had arrived yet, the Propel mix. My boots were “out for delivery” today. With the office staff going to be out for most of the afternoon, this presented a bit of a problem as far as someone actually receiving the package. So they offered to put a note on the office door instructing the carrier to leave my package at my door.
I walked to a different grocery store that was closer to my motel, and bought food for two of the next three legs of my hike: from Mount Shasta to Etna, and from Seiad Valley to Portland, Oregon. (Etna has a food store I can resupply at to get to Seiad Valley.)
I returned to my room, repacked the food I bought, and then took a shower. While I was in the shower, my new boots arrived.
I dropped my clothes off at the laundromat, which was conveniently located across the street from the post office. There, I packed my food box to Seiad Valley, and split Quoi’s stuff out of my bounce box. (I also put in a sticker and magnet I was given at Carson Pass, and one of my pairs of pants, to slightly lighten my pack further.) By the time I had finished at the post office, my clothes had finished washing, and I put them in the dryer.
After dropping my clothes off in my room, I went back to Black Bear Diner for dinner, and then went to the movie theater (this time within walking distance!) to see Ant Man & The Wasp.
Tomorrow: get breakfast, and then get back on the trail.