Saturday 15 July 2017

July 15, 1982, I was in Northern California on the Pacific Crest Trail

Larry Lake crossing one of the last snow patches on the Pacific Crest Trail with Mount Shasta in the distance

In Northern California the snow that had made travel arduous and sometimes hazardous on the Pacific Crest Trail in 1982 finally began to dwindle away. Suddenly it was summer.  Hot temperatures and too much dirt road walking had me changing back from boots to my now very worn running shoes. On the 15th July I walked 13 footsore miles from McArthur-Burney Falls State Park, where the impressive falls were duly admired, to Peavine Creek where I camped with Larry Lake on a 'well-used spot just off the road' and complained in my journal that there were too many logging trucks passing by.

Burney Falls

Against that I wrote that most of the walk was through pleasant woodland with Douglas firs and oaks and that there were many birds. I was still enjoying myself! It was my 104th day on the trail and when I made camp I'd walked 1267 miles - nearly half way. I knew though that to finish before the first winter snows I was going to have to speed up. Now that the snow had gone I hoped it would be easy to do so.

When the trail emerged from the trees the views were excellent too. I was now in the southern Cascade mountains, whose summits didn't rise above timberline except for the first of the great strato-volcanoes, Mount Shasta. These huge mountains would be dominant in views all the way to Canada.

Dusk in Northern California with Mount Shasta in the distance

The hot weather made staying cool difficult and I ended every day soaked in sweat. Washing this off made for a more comfortable night and I discovered I could use my water bag for a makeshift shower, though I couldn't always hang it in the most convenient spot.

The full story of my PCT hike is told in my book Rattlesnakes and Bald Eagles.

Photographic note: all pictures are scans from Kodachrome 64 slides taken with a Pentax MX SLR camera and Pentax 50mm and 28mm lenses.

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