Today was a zero day for us – with our feet still sore we just had to rest and it turned out that Coconut, Tomb Raider and T-Bone all decided to do the same.
I woke up first and went straight to the kitchen to cook a whole pule of vegan pancakes, as requested by Kristians. We had breakfast together with T-Bone as the others had to go and run some errands. And as a bonus – because we are PCT hikers we got a cup of free coffee from the church cafe!
We did our laundry at the laundromat and chatted a bit with some locals. We also went through the sports store but we didn’t really need much. The rest of the day was mostly spent playing basketball in the church sports hall or by being on our phones, just relaxing.
The previous evening we had bought material to make (vegan) hotdogs but as we were not hungry enough the previous night we decided to make them for lunch today. It was pretty unhealthy but still enjoyable!
The afternoon was again filled with basketball and wifi. We of course did our resupply run to Safeway and bought food for 4 trail days – to last us until Castella. For dinner I cooked a big pot of creamy pasta which we then ate together with T-Bone plus we also had some left over that we could eat the next day for lunch on trail.
And I also decided to have a footbath for my sore feet – it was so great!
We had a bit of a slow morning but it ended with a Kristians cooking us a big delicious breakfast – hash browns with all sorts of veggies. We also got two more cups of delicious coffee from the church cafe.
After breakfast and packing up and a little bit of basketball we finally set off, together with T-Bone (we didn’t want to all hitchhike together). It only took us about 5 minutes until we got a ride with a local couple. We ended up waiting for some roadworks for about half an hour but finally at about 10 we made it to the trailhead.
It was already very hot as we set off and the trail was very exposed. There was no wind to talk of and we had 6 miles until lunchbreak at Burney Falls. As the trail was pretty flat this section went fast and soon enough we reached the Falls – lots of dayhikers and campers everywhere, but there was no way we were gonne miss it. We walked through the park and down the asphalt-covered switchbacks to the front of the Falls: it was breathtaking.
Besides the big river falling off of the tall cliff there was also water flowing directly out of the rocks, forming a wide waterfall. The big pool of water under the falls was deep blue and very cold, nevertheless some people went for a swim. We decided to have our lunch right here – a lunch with a view. Two squirrels, who were certainly used to getting food from all the tourists, were bothering us the whole time. They were of course cute but there were signs not to feed wildlife so we tried to swoosh them away instead.
After the long and relaxing lunchbreak we still had 6 miles to go. Thd trail was still pretty exposed and hot but soon, just as we got to start the uphill, the forest started. Some hills later the trail took a more deserty look again and we walked on the exposed hillside, lined with manzanita bushes, until a big dam. We crossed the dam via the car road and then continued uphill. The trail then started to hurt us – lots of small, very stingy yellow flowers everywhere!
Luckily we didn’t have too far to go – we soon descended and crossed the Rock Creek via a bridge and decided to follow the suggestion that someone had left on Guthooks: cross the river and walk to the first gravel road, then follow the road 1/4 miles to the river, where there’d be good tentsites. We scratched a note onto the gravel road for Tomb Raider and Coconut at the crossing, hoping they’d hike that far and see it so they could finc us. As it later turned out, however, they had camped right before the junction!
But anyway, we set up camp and washed ourselves in the river – T-Bone and Kristians actually found a great swimming hole and went all in. After this refreshing dip it was time to have dinner and so T-Bone made a huge fire. As usual we retreated into our tents at about 20 – the night being very warm we just slept in our sleeping bag liners and used the bag as blankets.
T-Bone left before us as we were lazy as usual, we only managed to get moving at 8:20. The whole morning was to be uphill but luckily it was pretty gradual. The plan for the day was to hike 23 miles, ascending 1400 meters.
The trail followed a hillside through a nice shaded pine forest for a while but then took us to more exposed slopes where the trail was pretty overgrown – thus we had to bushwhack a lot. We were a bit worried about getting ticks but luckily there were none.
Before lunchtime a lot of clouds rolled in, some of them darker in colour but it didn’t look too bad. On our approach to the first water source, the Peavine Creek, we saw two deer – very curious and looking at us for a long time. After finally reaching the creek after 9 miles we met up with Coconut and Tomb Raider and had a short chat before hiking the next 3 miles until another water source. That was where we all also had our lunch. Here we also caught up with T-Bone, which was nice, and we all made plans regarding the campsite we’d stay at.
After about an hour of lunch we had 10 more miles to crush. It was now the time for the intense heat of the day but luckily the trail mostly stayed under the canopy. The trail still continued gradually uphill until we finally, hungry & tired, hit the sidetrail that goes down to the Moosehead Creek. As Kristians was walking a bit ahead of me we weren’t together when the sign came so Kristians actually passed the junction and I walked down to an empty campsite (T-Bone should’ve been there but I guessed he had gone to the next one, which was right on trail). I went back up to the path and waited for Kristians to realize his mistake and turn back, which he shortly did.
We then both walked back down again and checked out the nice campground – but after a long debate we decided to push the .5 miles further to where we thought T-Bone would be. Up the trail we went again until after some bushwhacking we finally reached the place where the stream crossed the trail – T-Bone had already made a campfire and there was an insanely luxurious log to sit on! So we set up camp, washed ourselves off a bit at the freezing cold water and then started cooking dinner on the fire. Soon enough Coconut and Tomb Raider also arrived so we all had a nice evening together – luckily not too many mosquitoes either!
This morning we were the last ones to leave camp even though we weren’t the last ones to wake up – Coconut and Tomb Raider just don’t eat breakfast right away in the mornings whereas we fully enjoy ours.
The elevation profile for the day promised a long uphill section for 13 miles and then a nice, gradual downhill for the remaining 10. We decided to aim our lunch for the Deer Creek, which was located at 14 miles – just after the start of the downhill.
The first bit of the trail again included its fair share of bushwhacking and was pretty exposed to the sun. But, because of that, we had some pretty amazing views of Mt Shasta and its snow in the distance. After another nice pine forest section we descended a bit and then started to follow an exposed ridgeline, climbing ever higher. We could now see all the surrounding valleys and even Mt Lassen again! The trail was surrounded by all colours of blooming desert flowers, dried fir trees and manzanitas, really reminding us of the desert section of the trail.
On one of the last uphill bits we passed a girl we had seen in Burney and exchanged a couple of words. But as it was getting hot now we had to switch gears and push it to the Deer Creek. We entered the green & shady forest again soon and just as we started to descend we saw a mother deer with two calves right by the trail – how fitting! For the next mile we could enjoy the well-earned downhill until the sidetrail to the creek. Tomb Raider and T-Bone were already there, waiting for us, and Coconut also arrived shortly.
As we had our long, relaxed lunchbreak by the flowing creek a deer approached us – he looked from one side, then another, after finally deciding to go to the stream through the bushes. Additionally a bee kept bothering me, wanting to sit on my hand or my stomach the whole time – eat some dirt I guess.
We now had 9 downhill miles left until the planned campsite by McCloud River. On our way we took two breaks as our feet were hurting and had a nice chat with T-Bone about his adventures in skiing. This short section was also interesting because we crossed like 6 streams – there was water everywhere, as if we were back in the Sierras!
We finally reached the beautiful campsite just a bit after six and right after setting up camp went for a dip in the cold river – how refreshing! If only there weren’t all these mozis!
All the while T-Bone had started a massive fire and Tomb Raider and Coconut had arrived. After everyone had swam and washed we cooked our dinners and sat there, talking, when another hiker came by and said hi. This was Darwin, better known as Darwin On The Trail on Youtube – a “trail famous” thruhiker known for his videos.
Anyway – it was a great relaxing evening with a refreshing swim and a good night’s sleep. We found out the next morning that three deer had visited T-Bone at night, as he was cowboy camping. But we didn’t hear anything…