Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer is chugging along

As usual, my blogging regimen totally falls apart during the first few weeks of my summer break, which I always find ironic, since one would think that I have all the time in the world to catch up on my blogging.  However, I find that once my summer begins, I temporarily lose my motivation to do much of anything. 

That feeling has now passed, and I am ready to kick some caboose!  The first thing on my list is a 40th birthday hiking/camping trip that I started visualizing back in November/December of last year, and here in two days, it will become reality!

As the specter of turning 40 years of age began to loom, I tried to think of something monumental to accomplish when that milestone arrived (which it did two days ago - yes, I am now the big 4-0!).  My first idea was to do a solo backpacking trip on the Pacific Crest Trail from Castle Crags to Burney Falls.  If you know where that is, awesome; if you don't, the power the Internet is at your beck and call.  However, after finding out just how far that really was, and also finding out that the elevation of part of the hike meant there were no guarantees that the snow wouldn't be gone by late June, I decided to find a shorter hike.  I also decided that although a solitary guy like me would truly enjoy a solo hike, safety concerns prevailed, so I invited four of my good friends from the Sacramento area (one of whom is my city slicker brother-in-law) to go with me.  We have had two planning meetings at my house in the process of amassing the myriad of hiking/camping items one needs to live comfortably in the woods for four days.

Yes, four days.  We will be hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail from the trailhead near Gumboot Lake Campground, which is about 20-or-so miles west of the city of Mount Shasta to Toad Lake and Porcupine Lake - a one-way hike of approximately 7 miles.  My original plan was to also hike another 5 miles to the Deadfall Lakes near Mt. Eddy and stay a night there, but I have been having tendinitis problems in my left big toe, so Toad and Porcupine might be where the buck stops.

I was actually in the Toad Lake vicinity in July of 2007, but I can't wait to go back there and give the area a more thorough exploration. Here is a photo of me from that trip with Toad Lake and Mount Shasta in the background:

When we get back to civilization (that would be the city of Mount Shasta) I am keeping open the idea of doing a day hike to the summit of Black Butte, which is a 6,500+ foot cinder cone that sits in the shadow of 14,162 foot Mount Shasta.  My mother and I hiked to the top of Black Butte in July of 2000.  I would show you a photo of that adventure, but it was so long ago, that I did not yet own a digital camera, and I am too lazy to scan all my old photos.

Please wish my fellow travelers and me Good Health, and Good Hiking!

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be."  -Thomas Jefferson


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