Thanks to Cosmo's wonderful cousin Steph, we got to spend the night at Comfort Inn while awaiting a doctor's appointment for my hands. A few days ago my hands felt like they got stung by an insect and since then certain fingers have formed giant dime-sized blisters while others have swollen.
After being examined by several doctors they ruled out spider bite, frost bite, and left it at 'we aren't sure...but get off trail'.
One nurse lingered after the doctors had left and he could tell I wasn't ready for such a devastating diagnosis, especially with only 200 miles left of trail! This nurse said, "the doctor can't say this, and don't tell him I did, but keep hiking! Keep an eye out and be smart, but finish that trail."
So, after a delicious lunch at the Ashland Co-Op, we got a ride with Jedi's friend Lexi to trail head. We hiked 12 miles through sun, sleet, and hail before setting up camp and settling in for the night.
It was a frigid morning as we hiked through a misty, wintry forest.
These were our last miles of Oregon, and by the afternoon we finally reached the border!
In stereotypical fashion there was a gray cloud on the Oregon side and blue skies in California.
Back when we flipped, this section of trail was closed from forest fires, though now with it open we have a chance to finish California without skipping a step!
The sun came out for a few hours in late afternoon creating gorgeous ridgeline views.
The cold came in quick, and it's supposed to drop below freezing tonight. I've been scared to be out when it's this cold and when I saw a truck go by I ran to catch it, hoping they might take me down the mountain. Gabe and Morgan (the truck driver and passenger) were just out for the night to hunt and were going to stay on the mountain. They did offer to be a backup plan if the weather got too gnarly.
We decided to set up camp early before we got too cold. We settled in around 6:30pm, made dinner, and attempted to get warm in our tents.
This morning I woke up fully submerged in my sleeping bag. I snoozed several times before feeling brave enough to stick my head out of my blue down cocoon - it was freezing out there. I packed up my stuff and soon discovered that the water bottle I kept inside my tent had frozen over night.
Thank goodness we are back in California where the sun shines bright! I kept every layer of clothing on for this morning's climb, but I knew that the blue skies would allow the sun to shine down and warm me up soon.
By the afternoon I had my jackets off and we were cruising up and down a rocky ridge with waves of mountains all around us and our finish line, Mt. Shasta, peaking up in the distance.
We walked through a newly opened and recently burned area. Cosmo even put out a smoldering fire!
The day only got better. We hit peak warmth at the top of a scenic climb and I couldn't help but run down the switchbacks.
Up in the mountains leading out of town we could see flames and smoke close to the PCT.
We set up camp a mile and a half away from Seiad Valley. The night was warm, the first warm night in weeks! I could set up without gloves on and sleep comfortably in a tank top!
As the three of us were quietly settling in we saw a headlamp coming our way.
"Are you a PCT hiker?" Jedi asked. "Yes!" Said the hiker. His name is Dibs and he is finishing the 300 miles he skipped earlier in the season. Tonight Dibs will camp with us and tomorrow we all get to relax for the morning in town!
We all got out of bed early ( motivated by breakfast potatoes! ) and got to town by 7:30am.
We ate breakfast, resupplied at the local store and set out to hike in the warm California sun.