Every town morning is always the same – barely-contained excitement, poorly tempered by the knowledge that I actually have to do miles before I get there. That’s why, I tell myself, I slow it down – we’re aiming for 7am out of camp this morning. My alarm went off half an hour before I needed it to; I’m ever the optimist, thinking I’ll get up and work on something early. Work on getting more rest, more like. Still, we make it back to the trail from the Squaw Valley trailhead by 7:15, so I call that a success.
It’s a fair bit of up this morning, then a lot of rolling down – since I know the crankiness is like to kick in early, I turn on podcasts early. I find out soon enough that we have service, and then it’s all over – I’m lurking on Facebook and posting on Instagram, and trying to move, too. Pineapple, behind me somewhere, likes my Instagram post, and I tease her as much as I tease myself about our inability to wait 16 miles. I put my phone back into airplane mode.
I pull it back out a few miles later – if I can get some phone calls taken care of now, then I’ll have less to do in town – so I call some folks and put some miles under my feet that way. Then it’s down, down in earnest, and I’m trying to open up my stride.
We’re being treated to the same views over and over again today, with just slight differences each time. It’s nice that we can’t see where we’re going – that would be even more of a torture – but I’m getting tired of walking in the woods. The shade is nice, don’t get me wrong, but the monotony is mentally rough, scraping on the same nerve that wants to just be in town already.
Pineapple catches me about five miles out, thank goodness, saves me from myself, my thoughts. We talk podcasts and politics and how we’re thankful for each other the rest of the way down, until we cross a road and run into Kellyfish’s trail magic.
I only have eyes for the grape freezy pop, and I rip a tiny hole with my teeth and suck the innards out through it. Frizzle catches us, and together, we make our way across Soda Creek towards I-5.
Two other hikers are hitching there already; on seeing the dearth of cars coming down the road, Frizzle decides to walk to Castella. My phone is almost out of battery; I joke that if I try to get my battery pack out of my pack, a hitch will come. SURE ENOUGH, a local and his friend pull up, and while they were only going to Dunsmuir, they decide to take us all the way into Shasta.
They drop us off at the Travel Inn, where we check in and negotiate two beds instead of one. We close the windows and crank the AC, turn on the Olympics for background noise. I do some fiddling on the internet then hop in the shower, stay there for longer than I’ve showered on trail. There’s something decadent about this one – maybe it’s because my last one was on a timer, and the one before that was expected to be short. Here, I’ve paid for it, and I’m going to get my money’s worth.
Afterwards, I get under the covers, and I know it’s over. I’m not leaving this room, only getting out from under these blankets under protest. Pineapple goes to the organic grocery, brings back an ice cream sandwich that makes me almost want to get up and get one. Almost. We order pizza in, and I hang out on imgur for three hours, regret nothing. It gets late, and I simply roll over and hit the light. I should probably feel worse about not getting anything done, but I know I needed this desperately. It doesn’t weigh too heavily on my conscience as I drift off to sleep.
Start: 1482.1 • End: 1498.7 • Day: 16.6
Notable Accomplishments: Made it into Mount Shasta! • Did actually nothing for once • A shower I appreciated