My big news is that after completing a small section of Northern California, I have decided to skip ahead. My big problem was fires - on 3 upcoming and different sections of the trail. I've been trying to keep my hike "day to day" which worked for me successfully with the fires in Oregon. Every section of trail that was closed due to fire magically opened up as I hiked along. It's possible that this might have happened again, but hitchhiking and walking around closed sections is complicated stuff. The bottom line was - all of this was messing with my "flow". Hiking is easy when you are walking a straight line! The flow is back, now that we are moving forward.
So, with the help from a few more Ultra friends - Gretchen in Truckee and Mark Swanson in Redding, we are back at it!
Well worth mentioning, the Northern Cali section from Etna to Castle Crags State Park was awesome. Over this 4 day, 100 mile section there were many surprises and delights! The first was the elevation - almost the whole section danced around 7000 to 8000 feet. There was also nobody out there! The people tracks all but disappeared and the big surprise was the bear tracks. On Day 1, I saw a blond black bear who shat himself as he ran away terrified. But the amount of bear footprints and lack of people had me unnerved. As a girl alone in the wilderness, sometimes your mind gets the most of you. :). Clearly, the solitude is starting to play with my imagination - but I haven't lost my marbles yet!!
My last day in this section also held a few surprises. As I started my day at the crack of dawn, I heard gun shots! Not 5 minutes later, I crossed a forestry road and at 6AM, a couple of big trucks drove by. Turns out it was the first day of deer hunting season and it was a Saturday - good grief! Fortunately, I soon transitioned into a different "zone" the Castle Crags wilderness area and the hunters disappeared. Or maybe it was too far from the road for them to walk!! :). Castle Crags was beautiful and rugged and enjoyed many hours strolling above treeline. The descent to the bottom of the valley was HUGE!! A 9 mile descent, through a furnace like canyon. It was stinking hot!! The bigger surprise was the bear shit - fortunately they were old. But, never in my life have I seen so much bear shit. I wasn't counting, but 80 - 100 giant piles o' dry poo. :)
So, I will have to save my stories of the mountains for later. I have hiked from Truckee through the Lake Tahoe backcountry and the very beautiful Desolation Wilderness.
In South Lake Tahoe my friend Steve Holman (aka the second Nicest man on Earth) met me for the day. We went for breakfast and a visit, before driving back to the trail. Steve joined me for a few miles, before leaving me on the trail. I can't say enough good things - these brief and wonderful interactions are so integral a part of my Solo adventure. Thanks again Mark, Gretchen and Steve.
This last few days have also been awesome! The scenery has changed yet again. The mountains have gotten bigger and Yosemite beckons!! Now, I am stoked and ready for the big mountains. I really am a Mountain Girl.
Photos to follow...
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