We had camped no more than a mile from Burney Falls, a glorious waterfall of insane natural beauty that flows from Burney Creek. Eager to feast our eyes on its waters, we packed up fast and made our way to its loop walk off trail. Being early morning we essentially had a private viewing and it was incredible. From 127 ft high, water torrented down two main channels into a 22 ft deep pool. Water also found its way out from underneath rock, through small tunnels and over mossy ferns all around. It was a landscapers dream.
We scrambled back to the PCT after our moment of tourism and headed through woodland towards Pits River Dam where two fly fisherman gave us snacks for our journey. We now had a long but gradual climb, the first in a few days. Woodland dominated the trail with the occasional opening of large manzanita bush. Over my audiobook I heard rustling to my left and caught a glimpse of my first bear! I saw its black hairy ass run away from me in a panic over the ridge, I was elated. Shortly after this I encountered a rattle snake for the first time since South Cali, though it has to be said his rattle did little to deter us – we’ve grown accustomed to these beasts now.
The trail stayed among the shade of diverse woods as it made its way to the ridge summit from which we had beautiful views of Mt Shasta as we walked its edge in the evening. I went ahead of Mol agreeing to meet at Kosk Spring before camp and once there rested my legs as I waited for her arrival. During this wait I was blessed with the sighting of yet another bear! Big momma and her 4 cubs came up from the dirt road in front of me and headed into the bushes alongside the PCT from where I had came. I then started to worry about Molly startling them, but had no clue what the best action would be, so I sang softly hoping it would move them a long and nervously waited. Molly arrived safely, but was annoyed she had missed the action.
We finished the day with a 2 mile stroll to a view point at which hikers we had met the previous few days were camping. We joined them in watching the setting sun as it dipped behind Mt Shasta casting its incredible colours across the sky. The day had been full of wildlife and had finished on such a spectacle of beauty, this trail has our hearts for sure.