I chose this section because of the Castle Crags Wilderness at the beginning of this section and for all the lakes scattered throughout the rest of the section. I think this will be an unforgettable section of trail, I’ll let the guide books do the talking but I think it’s a pretty epic section. We will be starting this section on July 15th with a resupply at Castle Crags State Park (you can view my plan here), then hiking through the Castle Crags Wilderness on the first day which will probably include a side hike up the Castle Dome trail, followed by 4 more days of hiking through a beautiful lake filled wilderness to finish this section near Etna Summit.
From The Web
Next to Mount Shasta, the Castle Crags are the most recognizable landmark in the Mount Shasta area. The chaotic jumble of granite spires is an unforgettably awesome sight that beckons hikers to explore the gray towers and hidden canyons. Unfortunately, few of the Crags’ trails venture into the granite wonderland, leaving hiker’s searching for opportunities to get as close as possible or hunting for vistas of that expose the formation’s grandeur. While the best option to accomplish this is to hike the Castle Dome Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail does provide the next best option. Most who make use of the access provided by the PCT head in via the Dog Trail and then go west to Burstarse Falls, an excellent waterfall tucked away in classic Castle Crags canyon. This leaves the lower, eastern section of the PCT relatively lightly traveled. For hikers in search of good views of the great citadel of the Castle Crags, this is as good an option as one is likely to find from a trail without climbing up the steep Castle Dome Trail.
From The GuideBook
Like the Sierra Navada, this area you are about to hike has been heavily glaciated. Lakes abound, although the trail skirts only three: the two Deadfall Lakes and Paynes Lake. Nevertheless, about three dozen lakes lie within a half-hours walk (or less) from the PCT. The reason the PCT doesn’t visit more lakes is that most lie in deep basins that don’t become snow free untill mid July or later. The PCT, routed along many south-and west-facing slopes, becomes mostly snow free by late June.
Like the area’s lakes, its rocks may remind you of the Sierra Nevada. Like that range, much of section P – an eastern part of the Klamath Mountains – is granitic. Still, about half of the miles you walk will be across ultamafic terrain. Ultramafic and mafic rocks, like granitic rocks, are intrusive rocks, all solidifying within the earth’s crust. Granites are light grey, mafics are intermediate, and ultramafics are dark grey – when fresh. This last type, rich in iron and manganese, weathers to a rusty color, as you’ll see just north of Toad Lake. This color makes them easy to identify, and you’ll see them time and again on your way to Oregon.
As in the previous section, Shasta red firs dominate at the higher elevations, and if you’re going to have any early-season snow problems, they will be in these forest stands and mountain hemlocks. Loggers are harvesting these firs as well as white firs and Douglas firs lower down. Though you’ll see some clear cuts that are real eyesores, the trail generally avoids such areas and the feeling of wilderness often prevails. Still, loggers and logging roads abound, which are convenient if you have to exit down to civilization.