Mt Shasta stood tall and beautiful in the pink morning light as we packed our camp up. Molly was feeling fatigued, but, determined to keep up the good mileage we had been achieving recently, she stuck with me as we wound our way down the ridge line through the dense woodland before popping out into exposed manzanita slopes.

The heat was intense, but the views immense. As far as the eye could see were rolling hills covered in dense forests to our south where Mt Burney and Lassen stood now distant on the horizon. To our north, Mt Shasta dominated the scene as we grew ever closer with each ridge line, it’s perfect volcanic shape inspiring us the whole way. We took lunch in the shade of the woods stretching our legs as we napped in the midday heat.

We now had to endure a long exposed section which we crossed hopping from shade to shade where we could and embracing the sweat where we couldn’t. The trail skirted a dramatic cliff line before descending sharply through forest towards McCloud River. We pretty much ran the last 4 or so miles down hill to Butcher Knife Creek where we would eat for the night.

On arrival, a young deer stood among the creeks waters watching us set up – she stuck with us all evening too as we ate dinner, her curiosity bringing her to within 10 ft of us at times. We were stoked to be able to get an early rest heading to sleep before 8pm, bodies aching but eager for the nexts days hike.