Mile 1482 to 1498
I wake at 4:00am and notice Senior Whiskers is on the move. He grabs water from the creek and heads up towards the trail, before I have even figured out where my VIA coffee and stove are. We have 17 miles of trail, including a long straight up climb towards Interstate 5 and it is going to be hot.
Now thinking logically, if a 17 mile trail goes straight up it must end on what, the moon? In which case shouldn’t it be Intergalactic 5, or Outerstate 5? An unexpected cloud cover makes the climb more tolerable than expected. In the distance I keep seeing Mount Shasta.
I am not exactly clear on the physics, but I assume it involves rolling logs, elephants and a team of immigrant laborers. Regardless of the rate I hike towards it, Mount Shasta moves away from me at the exact same rate. Now before you start in about optical illusions, let me say I have become quite an expert on walking. I have walked almost 1,500 miles on this trip. I have successfully walked to and passed all kind of rocks, trees, creeks, hills and yes, mountains. For example, I can no longer even see Mt Baden Powell, or Lyle Peak. But this Mount Shasta has me trapped in some crazy orbit where I can see it from a variety of angles, but I never get any closer.
Crossing the Sacramento River and Interstate 5, I head towards Castle Crag’s campground. The park is a confusing jumble of trails and roads, but I eventually find the gas station/store. Other thru-hikers are here and we take turns trying to out calorie each other. I consume a roast beef sandwich, Fritos, a quart of chocolate milk, a root beer, an orange juice, Pringles and two pints of Hagan daz Ice cream. It is still not enough calories to make the opposite of a dent in my body.
I pay $3 to stay at the hiker campsite. On the way I also pay for and take a quick shower which seams silly given I have no clean clothes, but it feels great. Tomorrow I will hike on alone. Senior Whiskers is taking a zero, but I need to make it to Highway 3 in 3 days where I hope to be picked up by Terri. Lauren’s wedding is coming up and it is the last logical place for her to get me in time.