PCT 2018: Shasta

PCT 2018 Days 108-113

108: Hiked 23.9 | 1448.6

I felt like crying, so I did. Quietly under the trees; they didn’t judge me.

109: Hiked 22.3 | 1470.9

It was a better day. My spirit was lighter, and I started the day off with a bang. I hike alone, so at times I fart, other times I burp, or some times I scratch. This morning I was doing some exploratory scratching in my nether regions. Mid-scratch is when I realized there was a hiker five strides behind me. I was mortified. He’d obviously seen me. I fessed up that I’d been “scratching my crotch.” I could have put in a slightly more tasteful way but the words slipped out. He said he does the same when looking for ticks. The trail is full of awkward exchanges.

110: Hiked 23.3 | 1494.3

For a long time, 600-700 miles, I’d let nature’s soundtrack play as the vinyl grooves of my mind would run. After awhile I found the cicadas, birds, crickets, wind —and my over-played thoughts to be tiresome. I resumed my audiobooks and started to listen to podcasts. This disrupted the needle that rode the same grooves of my thoughts, a needed respite.

A great lunch spot can really make or break a day. This day featured a swimming hole in view of an arched bridge, perfect for dipping my sore feet.

111: Hiked 7 | 1501.2

We hiked to the Interstate-5 near Shasta county. Milkshake knew a family in California. They had taken her in for two days while in the desert. Now they were picking us up to take us to their cabin on Shasta Lake.

Mr. Van Schooten drove us to the family cabin and explained that the Carr Fire was ravaging Shasta County. He assured us the cabin was far away from Redding, which had been evacuated.

We were greeted by Mrs. Mikey Van Schooten and breakfast! We ate, showered, napped and went boating. They had a ski boat on Shasta Lake. We loaded up the boat and cruised around. We went tubing. Johnny, the Van Schooten’s son, showed us the ropes for wake boarding. Milkshake got up after three runs. Nicholas, once up, attacked the wake aggressively. When my turn came, I was feeling unsure of myself. I remembered trying to wake board on my uncle Bill’s boat and I could not get up. I strapped on the bindings and in one swift motion I was up, on the first try! Then I face planted after two minutes, but still, I’d gotten up! I was able to get up and ride for a decent amount of time.

112: Hiked 0

The next day we went riding in their go-kart and we went target shooting. After lunch we went back on the boat. This time they brought a mini surf board.

Surf time! We all piled on one side of the boat to generate a bigger wake. Johnny again demonstrated how to get up and ride the surf. When he stopped and asked who’d like to try it, I spoke out first.

I got up the first time and rode the wake. I liked it more than wake boarding. I zigzagged, traversed the wake, felt the water skim my finger tips.

Milkshake went next. She looked like an old pro, so focused, so Americanized.

113: Hiked 7 | 1508.2

Errands in town were graciously assisted by the Van Schootens. They drove us to the grocery store and gear shop in Mount Shasta.

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