View from the upstairs balcony looking toward the trail
Hello from Sierra City!!  This is one of the most charming towns so far on the trail!  And Margaret and Bill of the Red Moose Cafe have a really special place here in town and very much welcome all hikers!  Jason and I are waiting on some new shoes that are coming in the mail so we've been taking advantage of the internet, phone, laundry and really cool room that we got for the evening.  I'm going to upload some more pictures for you to see, so this is kind of like an overload since Rich just put a whole bunch on-but you know, when it rains it pours!

I had a wonderful birthday yesterday!  I enjoyed the company of my hubby, Yannick and Shirley, Margaret and Bill, and another hiker named Chuck.  I took a nice hot bath, rested in bed, ate an amazing meal that Margaret prepared, and was surprised by a tower of cheesecake and doughnuts with a candle on top!  I was so full that I had to go lay down!

I love how being on the trail has reminded me of how amazing some essential things are...When asked what I wanted for my birthday, I was completely serious when I said a bed and a warm room.  Well first I asked to sleep in for 15 minutes more, and hubby let me go for 17 minutes!  What a guy!  But the other two things are what I got and I couldn't have been more pleased...

I'm going to post some pictures in sections and I hope you enjoy the trail some more from our eyes!  What an adventure...I just need to stop losing weight...My butt is disappearing!  (I'm not joking)  :) 

The pictures below are from the day of my birthday, and then this morning.  The terrain here in the Sierra Buttes is beautiful but painfully rocky in some areas!  We had to descend down into Sierra City (31 switchbacks I believe) and as I counted them, when we got to 27 I got a picture for my "27th" birthday :)  
Rich here ...
It is Cassandra's birthday!
She is celebrating by sleeping in a real bed in Sierra City, CA.
Today was a 34 mile day.  The most yet.
Yannick and Shirley did 38 miles yesterday so they could catch up with Boyes.  Yannick pressed his Spot about 10:00.  I'm not sure if they will leave together tomorrow, or if Yannick and Shirley will leave ahead of them, since Jason and Cassandra will have to wait for a UPS package with new shoes to arrive in the afternoon.
Jason says the "new" trail angels at Sierra City are fantastic.
Spirits are high.  They are healthy. And, the weather is good!
Here are the latest pictures that Cassandra sent to me.  It is likely to take you a week or 2 to get through them all!!  Have fun. - Rich
What could be better than relaxing in a pool heated by hot springs?  Well, nothing that I could think of really...

We saw the jewel named Drakesbad from atop a ridge and descended to it after speaking with Cindy and Rich (finally cell service), and boy were we thrilled after having met Ed and his hugs and then given a towel and an encouragement to "Enjoy!"  We went to the pool and really couldn't have been happier....and dinner of vegetable lasagna, green beans, salad with raspberry viniagarette and pine nuts, asiago cheese and rosemary bread and a dessert parfait that could have been pictured in a food magazine...Wooo! Yeah baby!  We soaked in the pool for a while longer then walked to our camp, woke up and did it all over again!!

So we haven't camped in a designated campground with bear lockers until that night, so what did I do but put our food in the bear lockers, to keep it from being eaten by bears...right?  Well, no one told us that they're not MICE proof!  We were DEVESTATED when we went to get our food, and saw holes all over the three expensive food bags I had bought just for the trip, plus multiple food items needed to be discarded because of contamination-Aaaarrrrggghhhhhh....I was ticked.

But life went on and I went back into the pool with a full belly from a yummy breakfast....what can you do?

We found ourselves in a dilemma as we realized that we weren't going to be able to pick up our next box in Belden until Tuesday due to the holiday...so after pondering over multiple possibilities, we asked for a ride from a Drakesbad employee going into Chester, a nearby town, and thought that we would just resupply at the store to be able to get ourselves to Sierra City, skip Belden and just have that box forwarded.  We got dropped off at the Best Western, bought a room, went shopping, ate some pizza, watched some movies on television (you know, the usual), and then tomorrow we'll find a ride back to Drakesbad and continue our trek south.  And after all of that work of getting the "wine" box sent!  (Thanks and sorry Rich!)

Our main reason for doing this is because of just trying to keeping moving forward toward the Sierra's.  We could have made it to Belden on Sunday, and waiting all the way to Tuesday just didn't make sense to us; more so because Belden is this random, weird little town-not a good place to rest in we've heard.  

So that's that...we're looking at getting into Sierra City on Friday.  Won't be able to celebrate my birthday there on Thursday so we're just going to have to pretend that I was born on the 10th.  :)   

Off to go elevate my swollen feet! ;)

This gets Rich caught up on Journals ... whew!

This section was one of the best so far!  We rested in Etna and while we were at the grocery store, a couple named Yannick and Shirley asked us "Are you Jason & Cassandra?"  Sure are!  They're another Southbound couple and we ended up walking almost this whole section with them!  Along with the beauty of Mt. Shasta and the Trinity Alps, we had so much fun laughing, splashing around in creeks, telling stories and burning through the miles!  We've definitely made a good team and it's been such a treat having pretty consistent company.
Check out their blog at

We've been recognizing that even though we've been walking for so long, our bodies still tell us when it's been enough.  And keeping on the weight continues to be an issue.  On a scale in Etna, it said I weighed 124 lbs.  That's 11 lbs. lighter than my normal!  Whoa.....

All in all, everything has still been awesome!  We passed the 1100 mile mark and we're looking forward to the half way point!  

Y Cassandra
We've heard lots of good things about the town of Etna.  We just needed to climb out of Seiad Valley and go through the Marble Mountain Wilderness first.  The climb was hefty...I was glad when we were done.  But somewhere going up that, we crossed the 1,000mile mark!  Woo hoo!  Feelin' good.....

The Marble Mountains were beautiful!  Lots of flowers still in bloom, green, water, rock walls, views - just amazing.....  And we saw a bear cub!  Our first PCT bear - thankfully momma didn't scare us off from admiring it for awhile.

Etna came pretty quick.  I was nearly running down the trail to the road to hopefully find a ride into town.  Thankfully a family was stopped taking some pictures and I approached them with a question.  It then came up we needed a ride and they agreed to take us!  It was a pack house, but we got to Etna, bought some goodies, and found the town park to set up camp.......and then came the sprinklers....!!
Rich here,
It looks like Cassandra is getting to this before me!  Oh No!!
So, now it is catchup time.  Here is what she wrote in here journal for the trip from Callahan's to Seiad Valley:
Leaving Callahan's, we were so full of pancakes, spaghetti and fruit!  We walked down the road and went down the wrong street -thankfully the owner, Ron of Callahan's, came driving up and told us to get in!  It was so nice to have a ride back up to the trail!  From there we ascended up, and up, and up....  the weather was turning on us and we experienced some cold wind and rain.  We hunkered down by a place where some people had left coolers of sodas for hikers - there were none left but it was great to sit on the coolers!  We chatted with a section hiker named Bobby, then continued on as the rain let up.  It was so cold being on the ridge with the wind blowing so hard.  It's crazy when it's hot and cold all in the same day...

The next day we crossed into California!  Oh man, our final state!  Signing the register there, I wrote something to the effect of "It feels like we're ending one adventure with WA and OR, and beginning another with CA."  It's just such a big state and the culture in and of itself is so different.  Trail Angels, trail magic (coolers and rides, etc.) make for quite a different experience.  It's going to take us about 3 months to get through it!....  And I'm really looking forward to everything that's going to happen in those months.

Seiad Valley was so hot...   We ate some food (I ate my first cheese burger in about a decade) and I was so full.  We were trying to shop for our resupply in the small store and I felt like I could pass out.  We stayed until it cooled down a little, chatted with Rich and Cindy from the pay phone, then did the 6 1/2 mile road walk to our camp spot by the trail.  It was getting dark and we were completely unaware of the rattlesnake that we walked alongside, until it did it's famous warning and made Jason high-step!  Our hearts were pounding!  Then that night I awoke to something trying to claw it's way up from the ground underneath my head!  Here I am, half asleep, pushing on the ground to prevent whatever it was from popping up.  People could make horror movies out of stuff like this, but I'm like "Go dig your tunnel somewhere else!"  Then I see Jason sit up like he was a Jack-in-the-Box!  Ha Ha!!  It was trying to come up under his head!  It never did though and left us alone.  The next morning we awoke to a squirrel dive bombing us with pine cone shells.... Great!  And a couple of days ago, I was sitting on the ground reading, and I heard something start running toward me.  I turn around and a chipmunk nails me in the back and runs away!  I'm not a tree!  J  Kooky animals.....
Hello!  Cassandra in the house...or on the screen :)

I finally got myself off of the recliner from a nap (Oh yeah you bet-  The recliner was INCREDIBLY comfortable!) and with a couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I'm ready for some blogging!

First of all, I want to invite you to view a new website:
These two have become a HUGE joy to us recently!  They are also walking southbound on the trail, along with having already kayaked the Inside Passage from AK to the US, then hopped on the PCT, then they're going to bike the rest of the way down to Ushuaia, Argentina!  Hel-lo!!  A transcontinental triathlon!  Yannick and Shirley also journal and post pictures, and you'll find our shinanigans together starting on Entry 30 (find the green dots at the bottom of the page).  They updated that yesterday and posted pictures of the last two weeks on there too, so you can see a little more of what we're up to! 

We've been making incredible progress lately. With the High Sierra mountains still off in the distance, we've been pushing forward with a mission of getting there before too late into the season.  We'll experience multiple passes there in which the highest elevation we'll reach is over 13,000 ft-so we for sure want to be there before the weather gets too foul.  Yannick and Shirley are much more disciplined than we are, and by adapting more to their kind of schedule, we've been able to put in 27-31 mile days.  We just love walking with them so much, but we do recognize the extra effort we have to put in trying to stay with them.  It's worth it ;)

We still are fascinated by the scenery-and it was fun revisiting Castella, where we stopped on our road-trip down to the Kick-off.  I wasn't able to walk the trail with a Latte, and Jason threw up several times at the store, but it was a memorable stop! ;)  Poor guy...He's feeling better...

Jason and I have been having a lot of conversations lately about our future, our "bucket lists", dreams, cars we would buy...We're so free from distractions out here and our thoughts just run all over the place.  It's been so fun!  So far we've realized that we're not quite ready to settle down yet and that we desire to invest some upcoming time visiting our families together.  We don't know what that looks like exactly, but it's been wonderful exploring the depths of our hearts together...

"Indescribable, uncontainable.
You place the stars in the sky and you know them by name.
You are amazing, God"

"All powerful, untameable.
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim,
You are amazing, God"

This song by Chris Tomlin has knocked my socks off as I've heard it on my mP3 player a couple of times.  Tears stream from my face mulitple times when I connect words like these to what we're doing right now.  I feel so blessed to be able to be out here living a dream.  God continues to woo me day after day..Through the pain, through the scenery, through our friends, through my Hubby...He's good at using multiple mediums! :)

Well, time to move on!  We've had a good rest here at the Heitman's-they're an amazing couple and it's been a joy to visit our first "Trail Angels".  We got to sleep in a tree house on air mattresses (heaven) and watch A Bug's Life, as well as eat a-mazing food saturated with calories-oh yeah! Yannick and Shirley needed to get to a big city for an REI so they left trying to hitch-hike to Reno.  We'll miss them for a couple of days but are confident they'll catch up and we'll be together again! Tomorrow we're going to try and make it to a place called Drakesbad.  Good food and hot springs-sounds like a worthy stop!

Cheers to Northern California and to the half-way point coming in the next couple of days!!!

We'll be here in the next couple of days, whoooohoooooo!!!!!