We woke to a beautiful sunrise and a distant view of Mount Shasta framed between the trees. We knew the 8 miles into town were roughly all downhill and we were not in a rush to leave. We stopped to marvel at a nest-like collection of sticks, and invented stories of dragons and spotted eggs and the bones of previous hikers.
We passed by a house which had previously been a business, most likely a hotel, but which is now private although the owners still allow hikers to sit and rest at their picnic table and top up water at their faucet. It was nice to get out of the forest into a clearing, but it marked the end of wilderness and the start of a period tracking a proper paved road which lasted until town. We could hear the interstate all the way down the hill, reminding us that civilisation, in all its noisy glory, was close by.
At one of the forest road crossings, we left the trail to follow a side trail to Callahan’s Lodge. It is a beautiful place which allows hikers to camp on its lawn and offers all-you-can-eat breakfasts and dinners. I went to wash my hands, and by the time I had returned to the lobby, Chug and Dolittle had arrived to take us into town. Chug had arrived the day before us and Dolittle had driven up from San Jose to meet us for a few days. The old crew back together!
After a shower and a trip to the post office, it was time to eat! Town food! Hurrah! We did manage to pick the only place in the USA with tiny portions, but it was plenty to keep me happy until later in the day. We shared a room with GreenSleeves, making 5 of us, and we all went out for dinner and evening drinks. Very civilised.
Camping: Mile 1726, Ashland (not camping)