tiffany's pct journal

California Section P: Etna Summit to Interstate 5 (Castle Crags).

Days: 57 - 62.
Dates: August 29 - September 3.
Trail mileage: 1053.4 - 1151.9.
Distance: 98.5 miles.

The sunset that night was fantastic. When I got to camp, it was just about starting. I ran into another hiker set up at the campsite. Blue's tent was there, but he wasn't. I hadn't even put my stuff down yet when I heard him running around the corner yelling, “Tiffany, I need a model!” Turns out he was out taking photos, and the clouds were doing some pretty epic things in the sunset. Although I was slightly miffed he made me walk more after the day was already over, he did get some pretty great photos.

And it was a pretty great sunset

The day next was town day! We were headed into Etna; my partner was coming to pick us up while on a long drive from California to Seattle. I hadn't planned my resupply well and Seiad Valley didn't have a lot of options for me, so I was basically out of food. I had exactly one Clif bar left for the 12 miles to our meetup point.

When we got there, my partner was still half an hour out, so we ended up chatting with a few people sitting around their RV at the campground next to Highway 3. They wanted to hear about our adventures, and offered us a few snacks and cold bottled water.

When we got to Etna, we realized everything was closed because it was Labor Day weekend, so we weren't able to do a lot in town. However, one place was open and we went there for dinner, and they served breakfast all day. And hikers love breakfast.

We got breakfast there (for breakfast this time) the next morning, and ran into Ctrl+Z and Katie again at the restaurant, whom I hadn't seen for a long time -- since somewhere up in Washington! They got a cinnamon roll the size of my head, which looked ridiculously good and also just ridiculous.

giant cinnamon roll
It was one hell of a cinnamon roll

We hiked out of Etna, after saying goodbye to my partner. That morning was the first time I saw a rattlesnake on the trail. It scared the crap out of me, especially because I didn't see it until it started rattling at me as I almost stepped on it.

Camp was at a ledge that night, with a steep drop to a lake below. There were probably a dozen or so people at that campsite that night, and although I don't always like being in large groups, it's definitely fun to be at a semi-crowded camp every so often. I set up my tent somewhat close to the edge of the ledge because the view was awesome. I had a bad dream that I woke up to pee and stumbled off the ledge on accident though, so when I woke up in the middle of the night needing to pee, I decided to just hold it.

water source
Such great water sources that day

After many days of steep climbs and descents, the following day was a breath of fresh air. In fact, I realized just how strong I had gotten, because I was able to take a lot of breaks and still get decent mileage in. A small victory: the water sources were incredible today. Sometimes, although water is collectable but not easily. Today, that was not the case; the water sources were all practically faucets! It made my day.

Mount Shasta from camp
Mount Shasta from camp

Our campsite that night was an amazing site with unobstructed views of Mount Shasta, which seemed like it was practically right next to us these days. We were just a half-day away from Dunsmuir, and because we had service, Blue booked a hotel room so we could sleep in town the next day. Woohoo!

Mount Shasta sunrise
Worth waking up early for

Castle Crags was cool. We got to descend them the following day into Dunsmuir, and the views were expansive. However, I also encountered the worst gnats here that I had seen on the trail. I was so glad I hadn't sent home my head net after the mosquitoes went away, because I would have gone nuts.

Castle Crags
I'll always remember it for the gnats

Dunsmuir didn't have much going on. It was a very quiet town, and we spent a quiet day indoors that night. No matter what, it's always kind of nice to sleep inside after many days in a tent.

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