Hiking The Pacific Crest Trail: Day 109

Beautiful Cascades

Well, our animal encounters did not stop here! Coming out of the town of Mt.Shasta, about 8 miles in from town, the trail was curving in a shape of a ‘U’. We were standing on one end of the ‘U’ and had to walk in a half circle to get to the other end. As I was walking I heard a moaning noise but did not pay much attention to it as I thought maybe it were other hikers ahead of us. Serge on the other hand stopped, and looked across the trail and told me that he saw two bobcats. I turned my head and indeed saw two cats on the other side of the trail. They heard us approach and started running away, but one of them came to a very sudden stop as if he saw something. And that is when we saw the momma mountain lion come out to protect her two cubs. At that moment, we both crapped ourselves. She was huge and fearless. We started banging our hiking poles, yelling, and she did not even flinch. Thankfully the babies started running up the hill and she gave us one last look and slowly went up the hill after them. It is very intimidating and frightening when an animal is not afraid of you. I never thought that mountain lions are so large, she was almost a size of a female lioness. With 3 big animal encounters in the past 48 hours, It’s safe to say that I am now officially more scared of mountain lions than bears.

Wild Huckleberries

This stretch of the trail took us over the California/Oregon border. Completing the state of California felt like a big achievement, especially that PCT runs only through 3 states (CA, OR, WA), California being the largest, accounting for 64% of the trail. We are excited for Oregon, a new state, new scenery, new plant and animal species. Oregon is known as a green tunnel, always under the tree line, full of lakes and…huckleberries.

Before setting out on this trail, I have never heard of such berries. And trust me, we see A LOT of berries on our way through out the entire day. Some of them look so tempting, but without proper identification you can end up eating a poisonous berry that will cut your hike short. At the first chance, I did my proper research for huckleberry identification and in no time we were berry picking the delicious fruit. They are very similar to blueberries, but can only grow above 2,000 feet elevation in the mineral soil of forests. Farmers have made several attempts at cultivating huckleberries domestically but with no success. Therefore, huckleberries are very rare to find in the market as they must be picked by hand in forests (bears love them!) and to sell, a special permit is required.

Dasha is keeping the spirit high

Northern California’s landscape is very different then South and Central regions. A lot more of vegetation due to higher precipitation in the region. The mountains aren’t as tall, but are very distinct and often resembles a never ending cascades.

Our camp spot during Perseid meteor shower

We have been rigorously tracking the timing for the biggest meteor shower of the year – Perseid. Astrologists were promising an especially large meteor fall rate this year. On the night of right before approaching Ashland, we ensured to find an open sky camp spot. Our challenge was the bright moon in the sky. Serge was able to estimate when the moon would go down, and set an alarm for 2:30am for us to wake up. Waking up in the middle of the night was hard, but after making a cup of hot tea we both were wide awake and enjoying the show.

My husband was trying to educate me on the astronomy and bring up all of the interesting facts he could remember. This shower was the best one we have ever seen. You could see stars fall from all directions and at one point I counted as many as 5 falling stars per minute. We were up until early dawn.

Shortly after, we packed our bags and hiked for 8 miles until Callahan’s Lodge right by HWY 5. We then hitched a ride to Ashland and got the most unbelievable breakfast at Morning Glory Cafe.