Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Day 76 - 88

Day 76: PCT miles 1336 to 1344

Chester was a very nice little town. I finally managed to update the blog at the library. D.C. had a friend come visit so we had lunch and then a ride back to the trailhead. As we were in no hurry we did not get hiking until around 2:30.

The next eight miles went pretty fast as we walked by fir, pine and cedars. Found a great spot to camp at the north fork of the Feather river.

Day 77: PCT miles 1344 to 1357

Entered Lassen Park today, which has quite a bit of geothermal action. I had to check out the terminal geyser as well as Boiling pond. Neither was as cool as their names led me to think but still interesting none the less. I had my first bear siting of the trip, it was a smallish blonde colored black bear that ran away as soon as it saw me.

Stopped at Drakesbad guest ranch with some other hikers for a very filling and tasty lunch. It seems that along the trail, the places which have ranch in their names are nice while those with resort are trashy. The guest ranch was great with free showers and a hot spring fed pool which I took advantage of despite the heat.

Terminal Geyser

Camped next to a river with D.C., Red, Smokes and Daniel.

Day 78: PCT miles 1357 to 1374

Took it easy today, only 17 miles. But for some reason, I hiked it straight through without a break. Had my second bear siting early in the morning. This was a large, light colored bear that was ripping apart old logs looking for grubs and insects. It either did not notice me or didn't care but ignored me as I watched through the trees.

Made it to the campsite by two and immediately jumped in the river. It has been quite warm this past week and I am happy to cool off when I can.

There is a 30 mile section of trail coming up with no water. Trying to be a bit strategic so as to minimize the amount of water to carry. The plan is to hike a few more miles into Old Station tomorrow and rest for most of the day, then in the evening start the 30 miles. Hike for 10 to 15, camp and finish the rest in the morning. I think this will work out well, I still will carry 5 liters.

Day 79: PCT miles 1374 to 1391

Spent the majority of the day at the store of the Hat Creek Resort eating and watching the world cup quarter finals. It was a great way to stay out of the 100 degree heat and fortify for the night hike. D.C. and I finally dragged ourselves out at around 4:00 and hiked the three miles to the water at Subway Cave. After walking through the cave, which is a lava tube, we filled up our water bladders and headed up to the Hat Creek Rim.
Despite the name, there is no water near the trail for 30 miles and it felt like we were back in the desert again. The trail winds through sage, is exposed and hot although not too hot as temperature cooled. I saw my first rattlesnake in about 800 miles as well as many lizards and rabbits.

resupply frenzy

The hiking was quite nice as the sun set and we continued by moonlight for a couple of hours.


Day 80: PCT miles 1391 to 1411

The last 20 miles of Hat Creek Rim were not as fun as the first 10. Despite getting on trail by 5:30 the heat and sun made walking less enjoyable. I basically did the entire 20 miles without stopping just to get it done before the day got really hot.

Fortunately, D.C. had a friend who picked us up and is letting us stay at her house. We were brought over to another house for wine and barbeque, I was pretty stoked. We were also able to clean up and resupply at the local Safeway store in Burney.

Day 81: PCT miles 1411 to 1424

After a nice breakfast (thanks Carrie and Frank!) and a trip to the PO for D.C., we were dropped back off on the trail. The good part was that we only had 12 miles to walk, unfortunately we did them during the hottest part of the day. These are the highest temperatures of the trip and today reached above 100 degrees. Hot and sweaty hiking but we did get trail magic twice. The first was at the Wild Bird Cache, which is one of the nicer caches of the trail. They even had a solar shower set up. The second was with the pop-up trail angels. Chef and her husband treated us well.

So it wasn't all suffering by any means, though it was nice to finally reach our destination at Burney Falls State Park. The falls really are spectacular.

Burney Falls

Day 82: PCT miles 1424 to 1447

Beautiful day today, the temperature was not too hot. Climbed back up to 5000 feet and I just watched the most impressive sunset of the trip so far. An incredible view from the campsite.

Day 83: PCT miles 1447 to 1476

Hot day but we were mostly around 5000 feet so it was not more than the low 90's. There were a couple of nice views of Mt Shasta but for the most part the trail went through brush and forests. It was easy to put the head down and hike.

Camped with D.C., Crusher and Ridgerunner at the Ash campground next to the McCloud river. A lovely place and I arrived early enough to take a dip in the river to freshen up and cool off.

McCloud River

Day 84: PCT miles 1476 to 1506

A long day getting to Castella. I did see another bear, it was very small and hiding in a tree. Made it down to the store with DC and Dirtwolf before it closed. The market has quite the beer selection. We ended up sleeping in a field out back. Woke up to a light rain and pulled my tarp over myself to keep dry. Also picked up my resupply box, new shoes, shirt and underwear, how exciting.

pair # 3

Day 85: PCT miles 1506 to 1523

Today was warm with a steep climb. The trail was half treed and half exposed. Some of the water sources are drying up as well. Beautiful view of Mt Shasta and the crags under the moon.

Day 86: PCT miles 1523 to 1549

I was dragging all day today, my legs just felt like jelly. I guess the last few days were more tiring than I thought. Nothing to be done about it, just keep putting one foot in front of the other. DC and I did stop and swim in a lovely little lake, that was refreshing and I felt clean for a couple of hours.

California Pitcher Plant

Day 87: PCT miles 1549 to 1571

Water is becoming a bit of an issue in this section. Normally, the water sources marked on the maps is reliable but we are finding more and more dry springs and creeks. I don't like pulling water from stagnant pools but sometimes it is that or go thirsty.

The morning hours went by quickly today and I did the first 15 without stopping. That was partly due to water sources being dry and I had to keep going until I found a good one. At Hwy 3 there was some awesome trail magic. Food, drinks and an Epsom salt bath for the feet. A great way to spend a couple of hours. After procrastinating for as long as we could, DC  and I headed back up into the mountains to do some more miles. I really felt tired and dragged myself into camp and laid down for a while. I think there is going to be a nice sunset but I am going to bed, my body is telling me to rest.

Day 88: PCT miles 1571 to 1597

Another challenging day with heat an quite a bit of climbing. However, the views were beautiful, reminding me of the Sierra mountains. DC and i passed through two wilderness areas: Trinity Alps and Russian. We pushed hard to get in a  good position for our trip into Etna tomorrow for a resupply. It sounds like a cool town and I am looking forward to checking out the brewery.

I also updated the Portraits from the Trail and Selfies from the Trail pages, feel free to check them out as well.