Friday, July 03, 2009

Forested saddle just beyond northern boundary of Castle Crags State Park

Yesterday I simply wrote that Huff-n-Puff made dinner. There was much more to it than that.

Huff-n-Puff barbecued a beer-can chicken, which looked like a sitting on its butt chicken. Unfortunately, it took too long. So while we waited for it to cook, we ate the roasted veggies he had prepared. We ate them in our individual salsa bowls as we sat in a circle on chairs in the driveway. After the veggies, we ate each 1/2 of a barbecued portabella mushroom. Whatever it had been marinated in was absolutely fabulous.

The chicken still was not done and now the barbecue was falling apart, so Huff moved the chicken to the oven inside the house and brought out burgers to barbecue. He served them with maple-flavored toast. It seemed like an odd combo, but it was actually quite incredible. We again ate these in the circle in the driveway.

It was getting on long after dark, approaching 10pm when finally the chicken was done. It was plopped on the gravel driveway in its roasting pan and hacked up by Boon. We ate it in our circle in the driveway. It was delicious, tender and juicy.

It was the oddest dinner ever, but so tasty, cobbled together from seemingly whatever had been on hand. Huff has a gift.

He repeated his gift at breakfast when he served us the most fattening scrambled egg dish ever with ground beef or sausage (not sure), cheese and avocado. With fruit salad and pancakes, I ate two servings each.

My mom arrived as I was having breakfast and I took her on a tour of the Hideaway. I showed her the loaner clothes and washing machine, the shower and the treehouse and the place we set up our tents. I packed up my stuff and off we went to Castle Crags so I could resume my attempted thru-hike from last year. First we stopped in Mt. Shasta City to buy more DEET and sunglasses and have some lunch at Burger King. I was still full from breakfast and had two orange juices.

On the way to Mt. Shasta City, driving on highway 89, there was a view of Mt. Shasta that took my breath away. It is the most beautiful mountain I have ever seen. I was so happy to be here this year instead of last when I could not see Shasta through the smoke of all the wildfires.

My mom dropped me off at the trailhead and I began the long climb up from the Sacramento River. There were lots of small creeks to quench my thirst along the way. True to the guide book, I saw a baby rattlesnake.

I rose higher and higher, first with only glimpses of the Castle Crags through the trees and eventually I was nearly level with them. The guide book had a confusing note that one of the creeks would be the last water for 20 miles, except for a whole bunch of water when you left the trail. Not if, but when. That made no sense so to be safe I guessed which creek was the last and loaded up all my bottles. I made dinner at the last creek, too, to avoid carrying water for cooking. It was hotter than hell, which made eating a hot dinner difficult.

I was sad my giant Hershey bar was once again a puddle of liquid chocolate. I soaked it in the creek in a bag while I ate dinner. Now solidified, I packed it next to a bottle of cold water and headed up the trail.

I climbed the 2500 more feet to a small saddle where I found a flat spot to set up my tent. I ate my Hershey bar so I wouldn't have to worry about it anymore. It was still solid.

The evening light lingered a long time and the sky turned pink. I was glad to be on my way and finally moving ahead of where I had left off last year.

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