Day 82

Day 82 – mile 1453 to 1479 – Mosquito Umbrella Camp to Poison Oak Oasis Camp:
The umbrella trick worked and I slept, unmolested, all night.  What a difference that makes getting up in the morning.  The trail today somehow managed to dodge all views of Shasta, or pretty much everything interesting for that matter.  Still, with a swim in the McCloud River and easy walking through very pleasant forest, the day didn’t really become terrible until the poison oak and mosquito choked canyons of the evening.
It became apparent that I was in for a scorcher around 10am.  I was working my way up an exposed section of trail when I realized I was hot.  “It’s too early to be hot,” I thought.  But I checked my thermometer, 95F.  That qualifies as hot, I think.  Fortunately, after that initial climb, the trail took me way down to 2,000ft and the cool waters of the McCloud River, weaving through shady forest the whole way.  Some of the Douglas fir, a new player in the tree game, were the biggest trees of the trip so far.  This forest was old, and hopefully protected from the logging that afflicts this area.
I took 2 hours at the river to chill out and wash my clothes.  My socks, in particular were in dire need of some cleaning, dirt-crusted into the shape of my feet as they were.  They could walk themselves to Canada if I let them.  Reluctantly, I gathered my things at 5pm and readied for the big climb of the day.  It wasn’t too bad as these things go, but then came the descent into oak country.
It makes for slow going when pushing through head-high shrubbery while looking out for poison oak.  Punching branches and spider webs out of my face with my trekking poles, I felt like a boxer.  Dancing like a butterfly to dodge the sting of the dastardly oak.  Later than planned, I made it to the first clear spot in miles, which also happened to be a campsite.  I wonder why.
Now, the umbrella mosquito net is deployed in expert fashion, keeping me sane and allowing me to escape from my sleeping bag cocoon in this warm weather.  Let them come, it won’t bother me.


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