Day 72 – NorCal delivering the views

June 14, 2016

Myrtle Flat (mile 1291.1) to bushcamp (mile 1309.5)

Miles: 18.4

Our alarms were set for 5 am but we didn’t start hiking until 8am. Andy hadn’t sleep well the past few nights and needed the extra sleep.

Adorned in all of our bug proof clothing we forged outside the tent. The skeeters swarmed but didn’t bite through our layers.

The trail continued up gradually through the forest. We tripped over branches as we walked. Arg!

After about an hour we came to Chips Creek crossing. It was a real creek but nothing like what we experienced in the Sierras.

Andy waded across and Laurie attempted to rock hop but the slippery rocks resulted in wet feet anyway.

It felt good to confidently cross a creek.

“This is what creeks are supposed to look like” said Laurie with a smile.

It was nice to see her smile return in the presence of running water. A few more successful crossings and her confidence will return too.

We bushwhacked our way through the next half mile. The trail was very overgrown. Luckily this only lasted a short distance.

There are many things that can slow progress on the trail, including snow, water crossings, downed trees and overgrown trail. Today we encountered all of them.

We crossed Chips Creek again – this time walking through the water without hesitation.

From here the trail was clear. We climbed up through dense forests. Laurie admired the neon green lichen on the trees and ground.

Suddenly the trees ended and we walked into a green meadow. We took a short break to switch our socks and cold soak our last night’s dinner for lunch.

We hiked on. The trail crested a ridge and we got our first glimpse of Mt. Lassen. We enjoyed walking on the ridge for about 15 min before dropping down the other side. Here we found snow!

The familiar crunching of the snow underfoot was comforting. We glissaded and walked down the north facing slope to the trial below. Andy managed to post hole once before we resumed walking on dirt.

We continued to walk through forests, feeling small amongst the giant trees. The air was cool and the trail shadey. Although we were still struggling to find our hiking legs, we held a decent pace.

Around 5 o’clock we emerged from the forest onto a ridge of volcanic rock. Yellow and purple flowers danced in the wind and in the distance we could see Mt. Lassen.

This is what northern California is known for! Grand views that stretch for miles.

We arrived at camp a little after 6. We didn’t make it as far as we had hoped but we were tired and wanted to ease our bodies back into the routine of hiking everyday.

We were eating dinner in our tent when Flo and Gecko walked up. They set up their tents and we all chatted while eating dinner.

Now that we are ahead of the pack, there are significantly fewer hikers. We both enjoy the company of others and appreciate camping with other people.

Flo and Gecko are faster hikers so we don’t anticipate to hike with them for long. Hopefully they will resupply quickly in Chester and come meet us tomorrow night.

As for now, we watched the sun set and the sky turn pink. We are cozy in our tent and are preparing for a good nights sleep. Our tired bodies really need the rest.

Tonight we are grateful for misquito free campsites and trail runners that dry quickly.

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