Day 47– We’d been so optimistic about the snow disappearing after Grizzly Peak, but it was not to be. And we must have gotten a bit cocky with our mad navigation skills because we made a stupid mistake by going the wrong way on the dirt road and it was a good 3 hours before we finally found the PCT again. And around the bend there was MORE SNOW! We ended up bushwacking amongst whip-like branches along Deer Creek but once the snow f i n i a l l y cleared we were able to go downhill at almost 4 mph. Which was good because we needed to get to Castle Craggs by 4pm the next day to meet Marty. As we got lower down spring was in full bloom. The woods were bursting with neon green growth and lacy ferns. Red bud and dogwood sprinkled the green with colour and reminded us of the Shenandoahs. “The streams were all swollen with winter, winter unfrozen free to run away now,” as the Rich Mullin’s lyric goes. It was good to be back on a trail of dry ground. We woke before dawn on May 13th, Day 48 to make it to Castle Craggs in time to met Marty who had generously offered to pick us up. The creamy dogwood seemed to glow in the moonlight. It was like walking from a black-and-white movie to a colour movie as the pre-dawn light began to creep through the trees. It was great to see Marty again… it had been a LONG week. She drove us back to her beautiful home in Redding where we showered and collapsed. It hadn’t been the easy snow-free week up north we’d anticipated but we were so glad we’d come. The 130 miles we’d hiked had been challenging but beautiful. We’d been able to avoid the heat, flies and lack of water that many hikers face in the summer. We’d gained unexpected snow experience and the views of Shasta alone had made it worth it.
We could concur with John Muir, who wrote:
“When I first caught sight of Mount Shasta… all my blood turned to wine, and I have not been weary since.”
… except for the weary part.