California Oregon border
to Beldon 410 miles
to Burney Falls 28th August.
The next section of the hike
was through guidebook Section 'O' for 82.5 miles to the small resort
of Burney Falls. This area was still being actively logged and we
had heard that the trail disappeared for miles on end under a tangled
mesh of fallen trees and bulldozed dirt tracks.
had heard enough about this section to decide that she would skip
forward to Burney Falls by bus via the town of Shasta City. I set
off on my own in the early morning with a lighter pack- I left the
tent outer and the water filter with Martina- and four days of food.
2 mile road walk to return back to the PCT but was happy to
accept a lift from someone who stopped
in his car to offer. The first few miles of trail zig-zagged up through
forest and I made good time by taking a direct route steeply up through
the trees and manzanita undergrowth. It was hot forested and fairly
dull hiking once back on the PCT but at least the trail was in good
condition as I stopped at Squaw
river for lunch. That evening I made it to Ash Creek campsite after
30 miles ( a record for our trip) but discovered it to be closed for
campers so I hiked on a bit and settled down on a gravel clearing
for the night.
day I am off at 6.30am on a long gruelling but gentle angled ascent
up Grizzly Peak. I hit my first clear-cut forest and tree blow downs
here and the going got a lot more difficult stumbling over trees and
through manzanita bushes. I diverted onto a logging vehicle track
to make some miles though I was a bit unsure from my map exactly which
track I was walking along as the map didn't reflect all the recent
stop at 5.30pm to cook dinner on the trail provided some rest for
my legs then I set off again only to lose the trail slithering on
steep dusty slopes before I eventually slid down in a cloud of dust
onto a wide logging road before dark. I followed this until 8.30pm
looking for a good bivvy spot but only found a marginal clearing right
by the dirt road in the dark. Since I wasn't sure where I was I could
only guess that I had made about 30 miles again. That night I had
some visitors in the form of mozzies buzzing my head making sleep
a bit difficult. At some point I heard snuffling and saw vague shapes
of what I think was a group of coyotes wandering past on the track.
Thankfully they weren't interested in me in my prone form lying on
the ground in my sleeping bag.
6.30am again I am up strolling on in the dust of the logging track
a few miles I was relieved to be able to confirm my location and work
out I had only 20 miles to go to Burney- so I made it my target to
get into town that day. With the blanket of dust the consistency of
flour covering the track, I was as dirty as I could ever remember
(and that took some doing!), so I rejoiced when managing a wash at
one of the few rivers encountered - Peavine Creek. The gradual descent
down to town meant hotter and dustier conditions but I did get some
nice views including out to Mt Shasta and Mt Lassen.
rather hot wearied hiker arrived amongst the tourists at Burney Falls
around 4pm and sat down outside the store sipping cold drinks and
eating ice cream. Here I met Sundog and another PCT hiker Bootleg
Neb who I think had hitched to this point and I chatted to them. I
was surprised when a park warden came up to me and asked if I was
Martina's boyfriend- she told me Martina would be arriving soon. I
was confused as to how the warden knew me or the whereabouts of Martina
but I thanked her for the welcome surprise and carried on with the
important task of eating and drinking.
hour later Martina arrived in a car with two PCT section hikers Annaliese
and Rob. Martina had seemingly met these two in Shasta City and had
had her own adventures which will be added here later! The hikers
are friends with another park warden called Shirley and before I know
it we were invited around to Shirley and her husband's house for the
night. We had a rest day the next day and Shirley arrived back with
another hiker, Sideshow, who we had met off and on for the previous
Burney Falls to Beldon.............