We woke up early to finish the rest of the climb before it got too hot. Apparently it was the longest climb on trail, but it’s behind us now. It was long, and kind of crazily hot considering how long it was. We weren’t planning on stopping on the way up but we had to, it was exhausting. Finally we crested the top onto another beautiful ridge line blanketed in purple wild flowers. Northern California continues to impress. We were not impressed with the water situation though, both our water options for the night involved a .3 mile trip off trail to get water and obviously, you have to walk that again on the way back. And both side trails were downhill. We decided to head to the further one in order to make our hike into Chester in the morning shorter.
We wove in and out of trees during the day and walked out in the open under the scorching heat. The views of Lassen were getting better and better and we even glimpsed Shasta at one point. Towards the end of our day we were coming down off a ridge when we ran into a couple of southbounders. The man greeted us but woman just stood on the side of the trail saying, “Yum, yum, yum, yum.” I wanted to ask her, “Is there food up ahead or are you just torturing me for no reason?” Sure enough there was trail magic up ahead. Amazing trail magic with a whole spread of sandwich makings, chips, farmers market fresh fruit, and lemonade and iced tea. I immediately proceeded to mix the two into an Arnold Palmer, which most people there had never heard of. My sandwich was amazing, my drink refreshing, and we got to sit in chairs! Such a serious treat. Trail magic is never something to expect, it is a privilege and a treat.
Finally we had eaten too much and it was time to go, or else we would never make it to camp. We probably should have just stayed. Camp was at Little Cub Spring. I headed down to get water while Kyle set up camp. We could have gone further but I had made the decision to stop there and to set our tent up down off the ridge a little ways, amongst the trees were there were some flat spots. We figured some other people who show up, there were so many people around. We ate trail mac n’ cheese, which we haven’t had in a while. It was so wonderful, even with our constant pacing to confuse the hornets that wanted to join us. We weren’t feeling friendly.
Unfortunetly we were in for a rough night. No one else showed up to camp and it was a very dark night in the woods, so the deer thought it would be a great time to come out and play. Of all the creatures deer are the most pathetic. They are SO scared all the time. Running around, crashing about, they don’t even really have any predators and they certainly aren’t scared of us. It wouldn’t be a big deal except it’s hard to know if the sounds you are hearing are just deer, or bears, coming to eat us. So neither of us really slept, at all. So that was fun.