This certainly wasn’t a day you’d rush to write home about. We spent about 90% of it within woodland making our way up 6 mile long ascents or down 2 mile drops to torrenting rivers. The day did however treat us early on. It was dark and silent within the dense wood in the morning, and as Molly was leading the way she suddenly came to a halt and pointed up the slope. There was a cinnamon coloured black bear standing on a log sniffing the air and looking down at us. It was a female, no more than 30 – 40 ft away, and she was calm and curious. We spoke to her, backed away and let her move on – I swear I saw two cubs with her too, though Molly didn’t see them. How lucky are we, 7 bears in 3 days!
From here we passed McCloud River, made the long ascent up the opposite valley and dropped down to Squaw Valley river where we dived in to escape the heat. After some time resting, we tackled the last big hill of the day which ended with our first views beyond the forests. Mt Shasta stood there as impressive as always, but we now could see castle Crags, a rocky ridge line that resembles the back of Godzilla.
Feeling strong, we pushed to the start of the next descent and camped before it’s first switch back setting up ASAP to avoid the mosquitoes. We were now 7 miles from the I-5, the road where we will hitch to Dunsmuir from tomorrow. Listening the the high pitch drone of mosquitoes, we drifted off.