Day 86: mile 1477.4 – mile 1501.2

Elevation gain: 4,871 ft

Elevation loss: 6,158 ft

Last night’s rest was far from restful. Link awoke multiple times and turned on his headlamp to try and find a mosquito that he was positive got into the tent. Since I wear earplugs, I heard nothing and wasn’t very much help in finding the little bugger because I’m pretty blind without my contacts. The third time Link’s headlamp went on he let out a heavy sigh that I could hear through the earplugs. “Now we have bigger problems” he said. “There are hundreds of ants all over our packs and the tent”. THIS is why I don’t cowboy camp! There was nothing we could do about it in the dark, we just had to let them crawl all over everything and deal with it in the morning (which was fast approaching since the alarm was going off at 5am again). So what seemed like just a few short hours later, we awoke to the alarm and dealt with the ant issue. Once we move the packs away from the tent, most of the ants seemed to lose interest and leave on their own. The rest we just flicked off and went on with packing up our gear. Just another day living in the wilderness! We weren’t going to let this bring us down, today was TOWN DAY! We had 24 miles to get to the road, and another 4 miles from there to get us to the Dunsmuir Inn and Suites. The morning was fairly uneventful, mostly in the trees, but we did get a peek a boo view of Mt Shasta and Castle Crags every now and then. It’s so big now!

Breakfast spot today
This is my “keep the darn mosquitoes off my neck” look
Castle Crags…we go through there next week

Our first water source was 8 miles into the day at Squaw Valley Creek which was a really cool spot. Cliffs on either side with lush, green leaves everywhere. This is where we met SpeedRacer for the first time who is trying to get into Shasta today. He is from Oregon and said there are some really beautiful parts of trail coming up and we are REALLY looking forward to that!

We were still seeing a lot of Poison Oak along the trail, this morning especially. It always makes me think of my brother because he had such awful experiences with it as a kid. Growing up, we went hiking A LOT and my brother and I actually really hated it. It’s so funny to fast forward to today with me doing this crazy long thru hike and loving it, while my bro could still take it or leave it. This is probably in large part to his horrible reaction to Poison Oak every time we went somewhere that had even the tiniest amount. I just remember him sitting at the dining room table with his elbows propped up on wads of paper towels so that the blisters could ooze down his arm. It was disgusting and awful so I get his adversity to hiking! Anyway, we made sure not to take any chances and tried not to walk anywhere near it. We did stop super briefly to jam some calories down our throats around lunchtime, but as I’ve said before…it’s very hard to stomach this trail food when I know pizza and a cold root beer is waiting for me! We had cell service at lunch so we were able to call a trail angel as well as the Shasta taxi service to see if they were available to take us the 4 miles to Dunsmuir once we got to the road. They both said they could and it would be $20 for the ride…for FOUR miles?? Not that Link and I couldn’t pay $20, but we thought that was pretty darn steep for such a quick ride. We decided to try our luck at hitching once we got to the road…it was right by I5 on-ramp so how hard could it be? We then only had about 6 miles left and were very anxious for that shower after all the sweat and grime from the last few days. We gathered water one more time from a “trickle” of a stream which probably won’t be there any longer in a week.

And the only other pix I have for you from the very uneventful trail today is this really neat moss we have started to see on the trees recently. It’s super long, curly, and makes the trees look like they have hair!

We made it to the road at about 2:30 and saw that it was a VERY quiet on-ramp. We stood there for 3 mins and never saw one car. Hmmm…we decided we were going to have to pay the $20. Oh well, maybe one day soon this hitching thing will work out for us! Just after calling and securing our $20 ride, two things happened. One, a guy drove up and asked us if we needed a ride…darn it! The trail tried to provide, but we just didn’t give it enough time to do so. AND, we realized we had hit the 1,500 mile mark just a mile back! We never saw a celebratory marker for it, but I definitely would’ve made one if I had realized it sooner. 🤨 We were checking into our Inn around 3:15 and feeling cool and clean not long after that.

I know the Inn & Suites isn’t much to look at from the outside, but it is clean, AC is blowing oh, so fine, and it’s within walking distance to many different restaurants for take out only. This is no problem for us because we just want to lie on a comfy bed with our feet up anyway! This place also accepted our resupply box which was super handy since the PO is closed all weekends in Dunsmuir. We surprisingly did make it here before it closed today, so Link sent a few things home to his mom. We don’t see ourselves using them for a while and definitely don’t like carrying things we don’t use! One thing being our gloves and the other thing is my 2nd down jacket. I still think I should be able to keep my name even if I don’t have my double down in my possession. 😜 I’m sure I’ll be needing it again once we get to WA! My mother in law was super cute again with the stickers on the resupply box. These were my favorites:

Our plan was to only take one full zero here, but since we were able to make big miles this week and get here a day early, we may take 2! Haven’t decided that for sure yet, and it may depend on Mantis & Pants since they hope to be here Sat night or Sun morning! We don’t want to leave without seeing them, that’s for sure! Time for me to sign off now so I can go back to eating Pringle’s in my cozy King size bed 😁 Thanks for following along with us! Double Down

Update: I had mentioned to Mantis that we didn’t see a 1500 mile celebratory marker and forgot to make one, so she and Pants put one together and sent me a pic! Yay for us…fifteen hundred miles down!!