After finishing the section to Etna Summit, I loaded the horses into the trailer that I had left there quite some time earlier and raced to Roger Hitt's to get Takoda's shoe repaired, which somehow he managed to to, despite the damage done to the hoof. Then I drove back to Pam's, where I spent the night, and on Saturday I drove from her place in Redding down to Little Laiser Meadow horse camp, north of Truckee. I was a little worried that the holiday weekend might make it so crowded that I would have trouble finding a space here, but I didn't need to worry, as there was plenty of room. Then on Sunday I spent the morning preparing food and supplies for this next section, and I made an unfortunate discovery that many of the bags of pelleted feed that I had stored in the back of the truck had gotten wet during the long time that the truck was parked at Etna Summit. There was a storm in mid-June, and apparently, even though I thought the feed and the hay in the truck was well protected under a tarp, it wasn't good enough, and much of the feed was moldy. This was a very bad discovery, as I had this feed shipped to my house from Oregon and can't get any more either until my mother can bring additional bags from home later in July, or until we get to Oregon in early August. After a lot of careful digging through all the bags, I was able to salvage enough to make my daily rations for the horses, and I drove to cache some hay and feed at a road crossing further north, then came back to meet my friend Alina Dunning and her horse Bub. Alina is also a 2-time veteran of the PCT, and she and I rode through most of Washington together in 2014. She is living in the Sacramento area, so it was a short drive for her to come up to meet me and ride for a day.
Today we loaded the horses into my trailer and drove to the trailhead along Highway 80, then rode back to Little Laiser Meadow. The sky was a bit obscured with smoke from the El Dorado fire, but otherwise it was a beautiful day. We had been concerned that we might encounter snow on the higher elevations north of Castle Peaks, but it turned out to be a smooth and fairly easy ride, and it was so much fun to have Alina and Bub along with us. It was one of the few times I got to have company along the trail, and it made the day's journey very enjoyable. It was also a chance to ride light, as we left all our gear back at the camp, and Takoda came along just for the company, without a pack to carry.