Tuesday, October 20, 2015

California Adventure - Hiking the PCT

Ryan and I just got back from what I like to call our great California Adventure.  It was a combination road trip, camping, and dining expedition.  We started by flying into San Francisco and then driving up to the town of Mt Shasta.  It took us 2 HOURS! to drive from the airport to the North West side of Oakland... talk about some crapy traffic, and that was at 2:30 in the afternoon. We both agreed it would have been worth the money to fly into Sacramento.  Towards the end of our 6-7 hour drive (what should have been about 4) we stopped at In and Out Burger.  I was so hungry I drank 95% of a strawberry milk shake by myself, and promptly regretted it.  Ugh... stupid dairy induced post nasal drip and stomach ache. 
We spent the night at Cold Creek Inn where we met with the rest of our REI adventure group the next morning before being driven to the trail head.  Our amazing guides were Lauren and Alissa.  Ryan felt a little out of place because he ended up being the only male on the trip.  Here we all are before hiking off onto the Pacific Crest Trail.  Lauren(guide from WA), Stella (San Fran), Theressa and Alicia (sisters from Texas), Suzette and Tracy (Friends from Tacoma, WA), Chris (California), Alissa (Guide from Dunsmuir, CA).
On our first day we had some great views of Mt Shasta, and beautiful weather for hiking.  Temps were in the 75-80 range with a fairly strong breeze, it was perfect.  In case you are wondering, Ryan and I both use Gregory packs, but most of the other hikers use Osprey.  For the most part I like my pack, it's pretty comfy when you consider you are lugging around 35+ pounds of gear on your back.  But by the end of the second day I had a weird sore on my left hip from the straps rubbing.  I was just going to patch it with a band aid but Stella had some second skin with her and no doubt that worked much better.
I'm ready for adventure!
Our First night was spent at Porcupine Lake.  It was so pretty and surrounded by mountain peaks.  That night for dinner our guides prepared corn chowder and chicken burritos, complete with avocado, fresh cilantro, and hot sauce.  Several of our meals were from Mary Jane, an all organic dehydrated food company.  We were all really impressed with the quality of the meals.  Even Ryan had enough to eat. In the morning Ryan and I woke up early since we were still on Central Time and decided to walk over the ridge and watch the sun rise.  He brought along a chocolate bar for an early morning treat.

A little chocolate while watching the sun rise.
Porcupine Lake
Sun Rise.

During our second day of backpacking we trekked to Dead Falls Lake at the bottom of Mt Eddy.  All three days we hiked about 6 miles, so not too far, and definitely doable for any novice.  Breakfast was oatmeal topped with walnuts and cranberries; and thanks to a Jet Boil, pour over coffee (not instant). Before leaving we packed our lunches of hummus and veggie wraps with avocado slices which we ate later on the trail.  One wouldn't think that dehydrated hummus would be good, but let me tell you; it was excellent.  After setting up camp we had several hours to enjoy the cool sunshine.  Several of us were brave and decided to get into the lake...it's about 39 degrees F.  I  lasted 15 seconds.  Dinner on our second night was tomato bisque and couscous with chicken sausage and black beans.  Both nights we made hot tea or hot chocolate after dinner to drink while munching on cookies.  Lauren and Alissa let us in on the secrete of making mint tea and adding some hot chocolate to make a 'thin mint' or 'grass hopper.'  YUM!  The soup and after dinner hot drinks were great way to get re-hydrated without having to drink a lot of plain water.

Dead Falls Lake
Dead Falls Camp Site
On the morning of our third day we woke up early to a breakfast of Blueberry and Flax granola which our guides bought from Berryvale grocery in Mt. Shasta.  Ryan and I visited it later that evening after getting back to town.  It was super tasty, especially when mixed with powdered milk.  Never would have thought of using powdered milk...but that's why our guides were so awesome.  It took about 2 hours to summit Mt Eddy and the views were spectacular.  If you read the REI website description they make the hike up sound really tough.  It's not.
Mt Eddy

Mt Eddy Trail Sign
Mt Eddy Summit
On our decent we stopped for lunch which included the delicious hummus but also tuna, and more AVOCADOS!  I love avocados. I was so excited to see meat I think I ate almost an entire 6oz packet of tuna by myself. I didn't feel too bad since only the guides wanted some as well and we had 4 packets.  After returning to our camp site we packed up our tents and gear, then hiked a little over a mile out to meet the van that drove us back to Mt Shasta.  During this final hike I didn't use my new poles, and I was surprised to realize how much of a difference they really make.  If you are planning on doing any backpacking I definitely recommend getting a pair.  The help keep you from leaning forward from the weight of your pack, and really help with balance.  I bought mine from amazon and unless you are a serious backpacker, there is no need to spend more than $50-75 on them.

Back in Mt Shasta we showered then walked through town to meet our group for one last dinner and a few glasses of wine at the Tree House restaurant/Coopers Bar. It came recommended by our guides. They have a great Burger/Fry/Beer special every night for $11.  That made Ryan a very happy camper.

Theresa, Alicia, Suzette, Tracy, Ryan, Me, Alissa, Stella
We stayed the night back at Cold Creek Inn.  Our only complaint about the place was the train that went by at 9pm, 12am, and somewhere around 4:30am.  I'm not sure if you would hear it from the other hotels in town, but the Inn is right across the street, and the train has no qualms with blowing it's horn several times as it comes into town.


No comments:

Post a Comment