Scenic Views and Ice Rocks

August 1st started out as one hot day.  There was a heat warning in effect, and the temperature rose to 103.  Ran into some hikers I met before the Sierras at a water source.  Always fun to catch up with others and see how their hike is going.  The views during the day were pretty spectacular, but with the weather being so hot I planned on night hiking today.

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Basic Spectacular View

It was a little unfortunate because I missed a lot of the views and the enormous trees in the dark.  The trail did pass by some larger downed trees that were cut clear of the path.

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Can you count the rings?

One of the things I did see all through my night hike was bats, lots and lots of bats.  They especially like the areas where the trail crossed a water source or spring, and they really liked zooming in and out of the light from my headlamp.  Seeing how I enjoy bats, it was pretty amazing.  I hiked until 2:30am before I started setting up camp.

Since I hadn’t got to bed until around 3am I started hiking around 10am after breaking camp and eating.  It was another hot day, 103 again, and buggy.  My phone’s battery was getting low and I used my paper maps almost exclusively for this section.  Next to no pictures here as I wanted to save the juice for when I got to my next destination which was the trail head that lead to Dunsmuir.

I had freaked myself out that night and only night hiked until about 10pm.  After crossing a bridge there was a reported momma bear and baby bear in this area and I was hiking right next to a river that, in the dark, looked deep and foreboding.  I didn’t want to get caught between the two, or so my mind made me think.  I decided to walk a couple more miles where there was a campsite and stop for the night.  There was already another hiker there but we made it work with both our tents.

Got up early and hiked the remaining miles to Interstate 5 quickly.  My shoes are killing me so I was relieved to be done with it.  My phone had finally died so I can only assume I arrived in Dunsmuir on the 3rd around 3pm.  I checked into a motel, charged my phone and got my bearings.  There was a local brewery nearby so I grabbed a bite and a beer.  After a couple beers I went back to the motel and crashed for the night.

I decided to take a zero here to do some errands and order some new supplies.  I called back home to check in.  I also ordered new shoes, new lighter back-pack, new sleeping pad, new larger cook pot, and an Ursack, which is a bear proof food bag, along with some other supplies.

On the 5th I took off again after re-supplying, grabbing a quick bite and seeing about 10 minutes of the Cubs game.  I also made a (too small) sign to help me get a hitch back to the trail.

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My Small Hitching Sign

After getting two hitches, I was able to get back to the trail.  Back on and feeling good.  Put some miles on and got ready for a big day tomorrow.

Sunday the 6th proved to be a beautiful day, with beautiful scenery.  There was adequate shade and it wasn’t too hot anymore.

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Beautiful summer day

It had rained on and off today, so I donned my rain coat several times, but it didn’t take away from how great a day it was.  It was capped off with one of the most beautiful sunsets.

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Walking toward the sun

Woke up the next day to an alert on my phone from my bank.  Somehow, luckily, I had signal.  Apparently my credit card, which I just used to purchase all that gear, was compromised.  Having a signal meant I could call my bank and fix it though.  What a strange feeling, sitting in my tent in the early morning, in the middle of the forest, talking to my bank about my purchases.  My banker at home and I had set up my account in case of this event though and it was quickly fixed and a new card was being sent to me right away.  Crazy.  I felt bad while on the phone though, because there was another hiker in my camp area when I made the call.  He didn’t have much sleep from the night before because he had mice get into his tent and had to pull up and move to my camping area.

With the bank problem solved I got going and hiked on.  Lunchtime today was spent next to a crystal clear lake called Porcupine Lake. A little food and a little siesta.

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Porcupine Lake

This was one of the many lakes I hiked by today.  The weather was also starting to be a little crazy.  Apparently it had hailed and rained in certain sections of trail, but I didn’t encounter any of it… today.

Tuesday the 8th was a typical beautiful hiking day.  Walked by fields and fields of colored rocks, many lakes in the distance, and in and out of forested areas.  I also ran into a section hiker named Sparks.  Cool lady.  We sat and chatted several times over the next couple days.  We continued to leap frog each other during that time too.

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Field of Red Rocks

Near the end of the day I heard something strange.  I seemed to hear it from different directions and didn’t believe my ears.  Cow bell.  I was hearing cow bells, with the occasional moo.  For some time I didn’t see anything.  Then around one turn of the trail I looked down and saw them.  Cows.  In the valley below me there were several cows, one with the cow bell on.  I can’t even fathom how they got in to the valley.  There must have been an easy way through somewhere.  I talked to friends later and they explained these are free ranged black angus cows.  ( Yum! ) I could discern many different groups of them as I hiked on.  I got a great video of one group, and took a few distant pictures.  I found the Secret Cow Level! ( A reference for my geek friends. )

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COWS!

The next day started off normal enough.  Another beautiful day with lakes and trees, and spectacular views.  The trail was rock covered but easily navigable.

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Another Spectacular View

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Rocky Trail

Got through most of the day when the clouds opened up and started dropping little ice rocks on me!  I have many videos of the hail as it came down.  ( Ask me sometime to show you ) They bounced everywhere on trail and off.  There was very little cover, even when under the trees, because they still found a way to hit me.  It actually hurt my shoulders enough for me to take cover several times while walking through it.  It hailed so much that the ground was covered in white and it looked as if it snowed.  And then, just like it started, when I turned a corner, it stopped and I was able to camp on dry ground.

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Ice Rocks

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Hail Trail

If you look closely in the picture above, you will be able to see the streaks of hail falling.

Thursday August 10th.  Just a really cool scenic day.  One view after another after another.  Plus I was getting picked up by my friend today to hang out with her ( Hotlips ) and her husband ( Caveman ) for the weekend.  Definitely put a spring in my step.  I traveled fast that day even while taking dozens of pictures.

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One View,

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After Another,

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After Another.

At around 4pm, my friend, Hotlips, arrived at the trailhead and we headed toward their place for the weekend.  Caveman was arriving the next day after taking a ‘side’ trip to… inserting gratuitous awesomeness plug here… climb Mt. Kilimanjaro! So Cool!

Bonus Pic of my friend Caveman!:

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Caveman on top of Kilimanjaro!

( August 1 – August 10 )

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