Zero in Mount Shasta
Today my hiking without a day of rest ended at 413 miles. That didn’t mean the hike wasn’t the number one thing on our minds. Beating ourselves up over the decision to skip to Ashland due to the smoke required continuous encouragement.
Before I even left, I wrote about the issues I would run into. There is one philosophical backpacking school that says that it is not a true thru-hike unless you walk from mile zero to mile 2,650.1 continuously. I find this orthodox kind of funny because the people from this school of thought are not orthodox in any other way in their lives.
I knew that there would be times where we were stuck. I figured it would be forest fires or something tangible. The trail would be closed. In this case, it is not closed, but it is still unsafe to the point that I cannot hike to mile 1,502.
- State and Federal authorities have alerted us that the pollution from the fire is the highest they have ever recorded and we should wear smoke masks if we wish to continue.
- It is expected that these conditions will remain until mid-October. We have a deadline, so we cannot wait that long.
- Nap and Bubbles have struggled with headaches and burning lungs.
- Other stronger hikers have chosen to skip.
There is more than enough evidence that we are doing the right thing, but deep down, I’m a bit orthodox about this. The right choice is skip, but I don’t like that choice. Doesn’t matter now because we have tickets.
I had resupplied prior to talking with Nap and Bubbles, so I have five days of food. That is what I need to get to Crater Lake, so nothing changes there.
We will take a combination of buses and a Greyhound to get to Ashland tomorrow. We’ll zero in Ashland, because we will need to prepare boxes for two places in Oregon.
We also went to the movies and saw Mission Impossible. Sitting in a theater is rest.
Time off is good for my feet, but I can only sleep in a bed if the windows are open and I’m in my quilt. A motel room is so stale when you are used to sleeping outside.