PCT Day 68 – Tuesday June 20
Mile 1716.7 to Mile 1710
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 6.8
Total PCT Miles Hiked: 752.1
Feet Ascended Today: 2192
Feet Descended Today: 704
Current Elevation: 5886
Given the late hour that we went to bed, I was pleasantly surprised to sleep well last night. I awoke to the sun beating down on my tent around 7:30 am. The car campground was pretty packed and neighbors walked dogs and chatted amiably even at that early hour. I moved my tent over to a shadier spot and tried to wake up. One of the neighboring campers, an elderly gentleman with a walker, was very talkative and found Monarch to be a polite listener. He was chatting with with her at length and wasn’t letting her get a word in edgewise. Eventually she gently told him she needed to start packing up camp and we headed out.
We left the campground around 10:00 am and drove down to the boat docks to get a better view of the lake. Apparently we had camped by a lake last night! It was dark when we arrived so we hadn’t seen anything the night before. It was a beautiful day and we were tempted to linger by the lake with the other campers but we had to return the rental car at the Medford airport. Sizzle and Sea Biscuit also had to return their rental car and were getting a ride back to Ashland with Sizzle’s grandma and they offered to also give us a ride.
Sizzle’s grandma drove us to WinCo to resupply after we left the airport. She is a vivacious sweetheart and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting her. We discussed shopping as we drove. “You know what they don’t have is a man store,” she lamented when we were discussing relationships . I laughed, picturing a store where ladies could shop for men.
WinCo is a thru-hiker’s resupply dream come true. Food is cheap, comes in great quantities, and they have a magnificent bulk foods section. I made the mistake of shopping while hungry and ended up buying a ton of snacks that I didn’t need, especially considering that I’d already resupplied. What was I going to do with an 8-pack of Hostess chocolate cakes?
Sizzle’s grandma graciously dropped Monarch and me off at Callahan’s, a Lodge/Hotel that is located less than 1 mile from the PCT. They are friendly to thru-hikers and give all hikers a free beer. We enjoyed our beer on the back deck, relaxing in the sunshine.
Monarch and I hiked out that afternoon around 4:00 pm. And we started our hike by going the wrong way! Monarch’s friend dropped us off at the trailhead and we headed south, going under the I-5 overpass. After a short road walk, the path dips into the woods. We immediately began walking through a green forest with moss and plants we hadn’t seen yet on our journey. Monarch has never been to the Pacific Northwest before and was transfixed. After a mile and half, we met some hikers coming the other way. We knew they planned to hike south also and were confused why they were going north. They informed us that they had hiked 2 1/2 miles in the wrong direction and were now turned around and heading the right way. Hmm. So we took out our maps and confirmed they were, indeed, correct. The trail is really confusing at Callahan’s. The southbound trail heads north for a few miles in order to cross under the I-5 overpass. Almost everyone we talked to made the same mistake.
So we turned around too. Oh well. After backtracking a few miles, the trail headed up in elevation into the mountains. Suddenly we could see Mt. Shasta dominating the treeline to the south. Wow. It is so bigger than all other mountains in the area.
We hiked until 9:00 pm – it’s still so light out that we didn’t realize how late it was getting. We found a lovely campsite deep in the woods. The woods feel different here – more dense and green. It’s similar to what I’m used to in Washington. It feels like coming home.