First thing I did after getting awoken by my alarm was to call home. I hadn’t heard nor spoken with my family for a while and this could be the last chance for a while. I had gotten a bit late to bet yesterday so I wasn’t completely awake until a bit into the call. It was very nice to hear from then, though.
I had still a lot of chores to do before checkout. The poison oak rash hadn’t gotten worse but was slightly itchy, so I gave it another treatment. I went resupplying for the next six days, which really is a lot of food, but I have done similarly before. I didn’t want to run out of food this time so I added a whole container of mayonnaise and one with Nutella. When I got everything in my pack I kind of regretted planning such a long carry, but it will be better in a couple of days. Ordered some new shoes, which are identical to the ones I have but unfortunately with GoreTex. GoreTex isn’t good for through hikers as the shoes are less breathable and will get wet anyways in the end. Bought the last pair, so I am still missing one pair for the trip. I might be lucky that one pops up, but I doubt it.
I checked out with a few minutes to spare in order to go hitching. It felt like I was given Shasta an Irish goodbye by leaving so hurriedly and I had never really gotten to know the town, but oh well. I took a short stroll to see if there were any other hikers in the vicinity, who were heading out. There wasn’t. I therefore walked to near the highway ramp to hitch. As a backup plan Tony, the trail angel who gave a ride to town yesterday had said that he could also give a ride back. However, I didn’t want to disturb him if it wasn’t necessary. It wasn’t, as I quickly got a ride as an older Subaru pulled over with a woman and her young daughter on the back seat. My backpack just fitted next to the child car chair, as there wasn’t room in the back.
Although I very much think that the woman who gave me a ride was a good person, I will use her real name here as I am going to say a few things that may not be that flattering. I want to paint a realistic picture not a glamour one here in my amateur anthropological-ish anthology. I will call her Jenny. Jenny seemed like a warm person, was overweight, and the tips of her hair were dyed. I didn’t know if that dye was intended or just the result of her hair growing out. There was a bit of litter including a bunch of energy drinks in the car, but not anything smelly or food waste. I wasn’t hesitant to get into the car, which I did and thanked her for helping me. She said that she were going to pick up a friend, which was in the same direction that I wanted to go, but we had to stop along the way to get gas. She didn’t pick up hitchhikers in general, but had picked up PCT hikers a couple of times before. She worked as a person taking care of ill people as in a hospice, though I don’t think it was at a hospice. She liked giving people the care that they deserved as opposed to someone who didn’t care much for the sick people.
She said groceries were too expensive in Shasta, so they needed to buy most things in larger town to save money. She thought it was too cold in the winter and too warm in the summer here, so she preferred the time in between. There was a lot of snow in the winter, so she liked Subarus as they had all wheel drive. The car didn’t have air conditioning, so we were driving with the windows down, which worked well enough.
We stopped at a gas station, where she went in to cash a check. The building looked exactly like the one in Old Station. This was in Dunsmuir. I remembered that the trail angel driving me to Shasta, who was a former highway patrol officer, had said that there were a lot of ex-convicts and drug problems there as well as stories about people going missing. That was while I was waiting for my ride to get back from the store. I then thought, oh no, have I gotten myself into a bad situation? Is she really calling someone to set up something? However, se got back out again relatively quickly with cash and cigarettes and went to fill up some gas. That put me more at ease. She really didn’t seem like a bad person and certainly not a drug user.
Om the highway again Jenny asked her daughter if they should pay her daughter’s father a visit as he lived nearby. The daughter said that they then should bring some beer so that he would be in a better mood.
Not long after that Jenny dropped me off right next to the trail. As always, I asked if I could help with some has money. Only if I wanted, she said as I think I heard her voice slightly breaking. Of course I wanted and I gave her ten dollars. I thought that was appropriate based on the distance and the fact that she were going there anyways. However, I was thinking with my brain and not my heart and I thoroughly regretted not giving more, also considering how many times I had ridden for free. I subtly opened the back door before closing the front door so that she couldn’t drive away with my backpack, despite the fact that I found it exceedingly unlikely. I don’t think she noticed. At least I hope she didn’t. I felt bad for doing that. I thanked her a lot for the help, though and wished her the best.
I quickly started hiking with a lot of things on my mind. I felt bad for the financial and social situation of Jenny and her daughter and giving too little gas money. The trail was also fighting me. It was past noon, very, very warm and a long uphill walk. There were lots of poison oak, and I also had my poison oak rash. Further, my wound all the way back from Silver Pass had blistered up and ruptured possibly because of washing it to get rid of poison oak oil yesterday. It was all a bit too much.
Later in the day I passed Eon and Hardcore, who had gotten back to trail on nearly the same time as me, apparently. The trail eventually also got interesting again as we ascended and got views of the large granite formations in Castle Crags Wilderness.
Near a water source I passed Hardcore again. It was nearing the end of the day and she was planning to camp there. She asked asked if I wanted to camp at another spot nearby. She seemed off and a bit anxious and if she really didn’t want to camp alone. My tent wouldn’t fit there, unfortunately, so I said that I would hike to the next spot. She decided that she would probably do that as well when it had cooled off a bit more. She did go by and a hiker camping next to me said that there was plenty of room for her as well. It therefore surprised and worried me that I a bit later didn’t see Hardcore or her tent.
Having only started hiking a bit past one pm I didn’t get far today, but then again, I didn’t take a zero in Shasta.
This days miles: 1501-1515