Thurs., July 24 - Into Old Station and Night Hiking
like we've warped back to Southern California! Because of this, we
planned to go into town, eat two meals, hang out for the day, and then
start around 4 pm and hike into the night.
We had heard there was a good diner and a gas station convenience
store on the outskirts of town, so we bypassed the "real downtown" and
hiked 5 miles straight on to Hwy 44, where we got off and took a short
1/2 mile detour to JJ's Diner on Hwy 89.
When I heard the name, I was expecting a hole-in-the-wall greasy spoon
type place. Well nothing of the sort... this place is great!
Everything is homemade - from the biscuits and breads to the French
fries and hamburger buns. Plus they have pastries, cookies and breads
for sale. Even the hamburger patties come from locally raised beef.
We got there at 10:30 and ordered breakfast. Steve's new favorite
trail breakfast is generally called something like country benedict -
it consists of biscuits, eggs, sausage, and potatoes all covered in
gravy. This plate came out and the waitress said it's a 5 pound meal
(ridiculous!). I tried to take a picture, but the shadows were bad.
And in case you were wondering, he did eat the whole thing.
After breakfast we found some picnic benches in the shade behind the
gas station, camped out there for the day and read. For lunch we went
back to JJ's and had a wonderful lunch as well. In case you are ever
driving North on Hwy 89 toward Mt. Shasta, do yourself a favor and
stop at JJ's for a meal, or at least to pick up one of their homemade
breads or pastries. Really excellent!
We went back to the shade for a while, loaded up on all the water we
would need for our 30 mile stretch, and hit the road at 4. This
section of trail isn't all that exciting - it's fairly flat and due to
a fire in the 80's, there are not too many trees providing shade. And
even at 4, it was hot.
Not too long into our trip, we ran into cows. We've been in areas
where there might be cows but we've never actually run into them, so
this was quite exciting. Luckily these cows were easy to scare and
they would run off the trail away from us. We continued to see cows as
we would go - sometimes they would scare us as they would pop out of
the bushes and run away. Well after a while it got dark and we would
walk down the trail (trying not to trip on the rocks that were the
same color as the dirt) with Steve yelling "COWS" every once in a
while so they would know we were coming. Since it was dark, we were
waking them up as we walked by, but all we could see of them with our
lights was their glowing eyes from the bushes as they would walk a few
steps and then look at us. It was kind of creepy to just see floating
eyes but no body. After a while we scared another animal - we could
tell it wasn't cows because their eyes were smaller and closer
together, but again we couldn't see the bodies. There were 3 of them
just standing there looking at us, and when it's pitch black, it kind
of gives you the heeby-jeebies. We decided they were deer, not coyotes
or werewolves and kept going. We made it 17 miles from the hwy and
cowboy camped (no tent) at 11 pm. I always think that night hiking is
a good idea because of the nice cool weather, but I forget I'm a