Daily mileage: 25
It was still dark out at 5 am, and already 68 degrees. Not a good sign. I headed out a little early to squeeze in as much time in the slightly cooler morning as I could. Quickly started seeing some very craggy majestic rocks (perhaps that's why it's called Castle Crags Park) as the trail rolled along, passing a bunch of beautiful seasonal streams before finally really starting to climb. I think we went from about 2000 ft up to 7000, and there were some steep and exposed switchbacks in there. Good views, but pretty hazy. Turns out there's at least one fire near Redding (50ish miles away). This morning was a sort of giant loop around a valley, up and around with some great peeks at Shasta.
My first long break was a bit of an accident. With a 15 mile dry stretch ahead of me after about 10 miles in I thought I would get water and just get more miles in but it was not to be. The steeper part of the climb just took longer than I thought. I also took more short breaks than usual and even snuck in a 15 minute nap pretty much in the middle of the trail, so glad no one tripped on me. So when I got to the stream all hot and tired it was just too good a spot to pass up. I thought it would be just me but I ended up chatting with Zeke for awhile and then hiking with Scarecrow for a bit. Always fun to meet new people. Then I rounded a corner to find some section hikers who knew me. Kind of surreal to run into people who recognize you from your blog but pretty amazing that you all are taking time out of your own lives to read about mine. So a quick shout out to Josh and bunny slayer, cool to meet you guys.
Passed some actual lakes and started to wonder if I would ever see my group again. I'm slowly giving up on trying to see them on this section but I was actually feeling good. Only they weren't 17-18 miles in like usual having siesta. More rocky traversing and I finally found the cousins 19.5 miles into the days hike. Managed to get in a shorter than usual siesta but at least I caught up.
Headed out very slowly, the heat still making me drag but I was able to eat today! Even hit some trail magic with sodas, and then finally to a delicious spring. Hoping for cold tonight, and hiding from mosquitoes. So ready for bed.
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