Ashland to Truckee, Mile 1157

A stretch with some less exciting hiking and temperature extremes.  Over 100 F in the valleys coming out of Ashland and Seiad Valley, and this morning I saw my first frost.  The colder temps got me thinking that I need to get moving.  I thought after my 9 day hiatus in Ashland I was behind the SOBO group of hikers, but in Sierra City there were dozens of hiker packages waiting to be picked up, so I guess not. There will likely be some chilly nights in the Sierras.   

There are a series of Wilderness areas in northern CA, Marble Mountain, Trinity-Alps, Shasta-Trinity that are beautiful and expansive. I suspect one could spend a lifetime exploring them.  I ran into many friendly hunters, some section hikers and a few stray NOBOs.  After Castle Crag and I-5 the hiking is less exciting and goes through a lot of logging areas.  Things get more exciting south of Belden. Here is the picture show:

Mt Shasta in the smoke from fires far to the south. 
Nice mountain views heading into CA. 
Cooperative butterflies.  Species TBD. 
One of the wilderness areas in north CA. 
Fat brown snake.  Still alive, but moving slow in the cold.  Species TBD.
Nice lake and mountain side camping. 

Fat toad warming in the morning light. 
The smoke makes for nice sunsets.  Getting dark noticeably earlier every day now. 
Nice lakes for swimming. 
Approaching Shasta from the west, before crossing I-5. 
Shasta and Castle Crag.  I camped on the ridge just to the north of Castle Crag and had a nice sunset view of the rocks.  Also flushed a bobcat from the brush as I arrived. 
Mountain Lion tracks in the morning? 
Shasta peaking over the ridge on a rare cloudy day. 
Approaching Lassen National Park, which was a bit of a let down.  The trail doesn't get particularly close to Lassen Peak and I suspect that area is where the most beautiful areas are.  Otherwise it was some lava ridge walking and...
Hot springs and mud pots in the Warner Valley.  
Cold dragonfly. 
There is a weasel (or marten) in that picture.  
Frog tucked in a rock by the river. 
Cold trail side snake heading up from Belden. 
Gooseberries.  I've been expanding my wild berry diet.  There are many species of currants and gooseberries.  These are difficult to eat. 
And after some more boring hiking, the Sierra Buttes.  Excited to be getting into the Sierras. 
A fire started up about 3 miles west of the trail the night before getting to Truckee.  It made for a few hours of unpleasant air quality, but I figured the helicopters and planes buzzing around meant everything was under control. 

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