No. 16- Burney Falls to Castle Crags, Hwy 5, 2014

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Burney Falls : 41.013796, -121.649362
Castella: 41.148317, -122.315340


July 12- 9.5 miles, camping at Rock Creek

After updating the blog at Burney Falls State Park, and eating lots of expensive general store food, I finally hit the trail with Butters and JSF around 3:30.  We’d planned to hike thirteen miles to get ourselves up a large climb, but once we arrived at Rock Creek, those plans completely disintegrated.

PCT Section O Pit River Number Three Dam Lake Britton Burney Falls State Park

Lake Britton Dam

It had been around 105°F and I was swimming in my own hot, salty sweat by the time we got to the creek.  A husband and wife from Texas, Pixel and Shazam, were already camped there and lounging in the water.  It was so cool and refreshing that we just couldn’t motivate ourselves to keep climbing in the heat.  Since there weren’t any more spots to camp, Butters and I decided to sleep directly on the bridge.  The bridge made JSF nervous, so he spent thirty minutes trying to make a spot decent enough for his tent.

PCT Section O Shasta Trinity National Forest Rock Creek

Rock Creek


PCT Section O Shasta Trinity National Forest Rock Creek footbridge



July 13- 24.5 miles

Today went by in a blur.  There weren’t many views other than dense, grey forests and it was really muggy all day.  I crossed paths with a PCT hiker who’d decided to turn around and head back to Burney because he’d contracted giardia.  Giardia is a bacteria you can get from not properly purifying water contaminated by animal waste.  Certain areas of the PCT are notorious for having contaminated water because cows roam the land and linger by the water sources.

PCT Section O Shasta Trinity National Forest


PCT Section O Shasta Trinity National Forest blue lizard

Radioactive lizard?

Not soon after, I met a girl named Wardrobe by a stream. She’s just gotten back on the trail after taking a break in Burney because of a giardia infection, too! That’s the seventh hiker I’ve heard about getting sick in this region, and since giardia takes 9-15 days to show symptoms, I’ve been doing the math to determine where everyone may have contracted it.  I’ve been pretty good about always filtering or treating my water with iodine, and I’m crossing my fingers I stay healthy!

PCT Section O Shasta Trinity National Forest Lorax Dr. Suess Unless

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” The Lorax by Dr. Suess


PCT Section O Shasta Trinity National Forest Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta in the distance

Butters is camping with Duchess and a Southern hiker named Bird Food. I’ve climbed up the ridge to camp with JSF and Wardrobe. The moon is a spectacular blood red- I hope there isn’t a fire!


July 14- 24.5 miles, camping at Fitzhugh Gulch Creek

I woke up to mosquito bites on my face and a wet sleeping bag.  There was so much humidity in the air last night that all of our gear was damp the next morning.  Argh!  JSF traded me half of his Mountain House breakfast skillet for some tortillas, so that made up for the inconvenience of the humidity.  It tasted SO delicious!  We slathered salsa packets from Taco Bell on the egg-hash brown-sausage mixture and it was heaven.

PCT Section O Shasta Trinity National Forest Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta

I was happy to have views of distant mountain peaks again as the trees opened up.  Mount Shasta never failed to catch me by surprise as I came around a corner or up over a ridge.  To the south, I could still see a very faint Mount Lassen and couldn’t believe that I’d already walked that far from it.

PCT Section O Shasta Trinity National Forest wildflowers



PCT Section O Shasta Trinity National Forest McCloud River

The McCloud River

When the weather sucks and your body hurts, the dirt path before you often becomes your only focus. You get tunnel vision as you stare downward and focus on just putting one foot in front of the other. I hiked like this for almost an hour and as I turned around a rocky corner I was startled by the rattle and hiss of a mid-length rattlesnake. He was coiled, cornered between the rock and my path, and his diamond head was looking straight at me. I couldn’t jump back fast enough. In fact, I couldn’t really jump at all, just fail my piles in front of me as I scooted back. Once he had his space, he slithered across the trail in front of me and down off the trail.

PCT Section O Shasta Trinity National Forest McCloud River rattlesnakeI didn’t feel the adrenaline until he was clear, but I suddenly felt how close I’d been to some real danger. A movie played through my head of what might have happened had I not moved fast enough. I was glad to know I had the SOS button on my SPOT right next to me on my pack.

PCT Section O Shasta Trinity National Forest McCloud River heat

It’s too HOT!

The campsite at Fitzhugh Gulch Creek wasn’t as inviting as I’d imagined, being dark, muggy, cramped, and mosquito infested, but Pixel and Shazam were! I set up my tent in a tiny spot directly across from them. Not much later Wardrobe and JSF also showed up and squeezed in around the bushes.

PCT Section O Shasta Trinity National Forest McCloud River Fitzhugh Gulch Creek

Little tent village at Fitzhugh Gulch Creek



July 15- 28.5 miles, staying in the town of Mt. Shasta

Today turned out to be a double accomplishment for me: my first ten-by-ten AND my biggest milage day to date! A ten – by – ten is when you hike ten miles by 10am. I’ve never been able to do it because I never woke up early enough or hiked fast enough. It only took the threat of 100°+ temperatures, two big climbs, and the potential of an air conditioned room to motivate me to wake up at 4:30 this morning. I don’t see this becoming a regular thing, though. I’ve noticed there’s a proportional relationship between the alarm time and my pack up time. The earlier I set my alarm, the slower I actually pack up.

PCT Section O Shasta Trinity National Forest Squaw Valley Creek footbridge

Squaw Valley Creek

As I hiked up the second big climb of the day, I could hear Prague Rock coming from speakers above me. I soon caught up to it and met Tuk Tuk and Rickshaw. They are both hiking with carts that strap to their hips and backs. The carts looked pretty cool, but I wondered how well they’d do over the rocky trails of Yosemite Wilderness.

PCT Section O Shasta Trinity National Forest mono walkers rickshaw tuk tuk

Rickshaw and Tuk Tuk with their MonoWalkers


Another bonus accomplishment today was hitting the 1,500 mile mark of the PCT!

PCT Section O Shasta Trinity National Forest 1500 miles

1,500 mile mark!

As I reached the road that lead to Interstate 5 and looked around at the deserted road with no buildings anywhere, I wondered if I might have to camp for the night or even hike five miles down to Dunsmuir. I was looking at my maps and standing like a deer I the middle of the road when a delivery van pulled up. Paul, who works for the Parks Service asked if I was lost. When I told him I was heading to the interstate to catch a ride to Mt. Shasta. He said, “There’s no way you’re catching a ride from here. I’ll take ya.” And just like that, I was on my way into town!

PCT Section O Shasta city

Paul, my ride into Shasta. THANK YOU, Paul!


PCT Section O Shasta cityI got myself a room at the simple, but cozy Travel Inn and some diner at a Thai restaurant down the street. I also found the only grocery store in town open past 8pm:

PCT Section O Shasta Trinity National Forest Shasta City

Shasta Heaven!




Installment No. 17- Mount Shasta to Etna

Giardia Information

Rickshaw & Tuk Tuk’s Blog

The MonoWalker


8 Thoughts on “Burney Falls to Mt. Shasta

  1. Jerr on July 20, 2014 at 1:54 pm said:

    Hey Kate…
    Potato chips??? HoHos???
    Keep on truckin…

  2. Gary on July 22, 2014 at 5:08 am said:

    Thanks for your great video blogs on Vimeo. I picked up on your blogs via Rockin’. I thought you were Canadian from Banff, but I must be mistaking you for another PCTer who Rockin’ commented on. Really enjoy your postings!

    • katemonster on July 22, 2014 at 10:45 am said:

      I’m glad you’re enjoying it! Nope, I’m not from Banff. I’m a So. Cal. kid. 🙂

  3. I love your pose by the 1500! And really glad the snake didn’t get ya. Yikes. We had a similar incident in Hauser Canyon. It keeps you alert.

    • katemonster on July 29, 2014 at 9:56 pm said:

      Yeah, those snakes are scary! I was on alert for three whole days afterwards!

  4. Sam Mendenhall on August 26, 2014 at 3:02 pm said:

    Hi Babe —
    Yea, it’s best to stay clear of those rattlers! You looked really happy with the stones marking 1,500 miles. CONGRATULATIONS!
    Dunsmuir is one of my favorite mountain towns. Mt. Shasta was disappointing… strung out along such a narrow long corridor. Oh well, you had a good night’s rest, that was important.
    Hugs and more, Mom

  5. Hey I am going to repost your pic of Mt Shasta. Hope thats okay, let me know on my blog if not. I will credit you of course! Great article. My dad is hiking the PCT and I’m keeping a bLog of it, check it out if you care to 🙂

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