The hike from Mount Shasta to Ashland, although smoky from a wildfire burning in Redding, was both moderately graded and filled with exciting views of the rough backcountry.
Rabbit and I have hiked a lot of 25s, 28s, and 30s since starting our thru-hike; however, on this particular stretch we shattered our daily mileage record by hiking 41 straight miles in one day. To accomplish this, we started the hike at 5:30am and hiked non-stop until about 11:00pm. While 41 miles is something to be proud of, we think we can do more. When the conditions are right, we’re hoping on hiking a 50-mile day before the trip is over.
This segment had a number of designated wilderness areas to hike through. At the Etna town turnoff, we got some morale-boosting trail magic out of a pickup truck by a couple who had driven up from Phoenix. These trail angels kindly supplied the hikers with cold beverages, peanuts, chocolate bars, fresh fruit, and even dill pickles.
There were dozens of cows to be seen and heard in NorCal! The cows had these clangy bells around their necks that echoed among the mountainsides. There was also a large deer population. Some of the deer were so aggressive at night coming by to lick our trekking poles, dig up nearby cat holes, and even try and make off with Rabbit’s pack.
At one of the mountain lakes Rabbit had caught six handsome rainbow trout with a Tenkara rod, which were promptly cooked up for dinner in our titanium cook pots.
Progressing northward, we came upon an old cabin called the Marble Valley Cabin. It’s a decommissioned ranger cabin that is now boarded up and carpeted in moss.
Descending into Seiad Valley (State of Jefferson) consisted of a 21-mile hike down from where we had camped the previous evening. Much of the way down was overgrown bush; however, there were countless opportunities to pick the wild blackberries. The wildlife viewing in this area was sensational.
Once arriving in Seiad Valley, we sat down at a table at the cafe and ordered some food. The homemade milkshakes were especially a nice treat. The nearby RV Park let us pitch our tents on their lawn and use the shower facilities. They also had a communal area for hikers to use that included a microwave, dorm-size fridge, and a television for watching movies. The following morning after a hot breakfast, it was time to make the final push out of California to Ashland, Oregon. Before reaching the border, the two of us stopped by the remains of the Donomore cabin built around 1935 by a ranching family who owned cattle in the area.
The state of California represents more than half of the trail (1691.7 miles). What a relief it was to make it to a new state! There was a log book that I signed at the border along with a wooden sign nailed to a tree indicating the California-Oregon boundary.
After getting to Ashland, I stopped by Callahan’s Lodge to pick up my resupply package. Then it was a quick hitch to the Ashland Hostel.
I have now hiked 1718.7 miles and have 933.9 miles remaining.