Friend-filled Days

Departing Lassen Volcanic National Park, we had a short day heading into Old Station. There we would meet up with our resupply Goddess who would take us into town for resupply, showers and laundry.

It just so happens that our resupply Goddess is also a Trail Goddess.

But first, we finally got a glimpse of Mount Lassen from inside the park.  We had traversed almost the entire park and had yet to see the mountain, thanks to the lush forest.  But an old burn area opened up the view for us.

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The beauty of this stretch was that is was a long, gradual downhill. The terrain and the prospect of seeing a dear friend helped us move quickly along, even covering over 4 miles in one hour at one point.

With packs on, that’s almost running for us.

We got to Old Station mid-afternoon and while we waited for our friend, we caught up with hikers that we hadn’t run across in a few days, plus met hikers we hadn’t talked to before.

The sound of tires sliding on gravel announced the arrival of our friend, complete with a surprise.  Another friend from Oregon.

Huge hugs and shenanigans ensued in spite of our trail funk.

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We were then whisked away for food, showers and merriment.

But before the showers, we had to compare legs. The ladies had spent the weekend working on the trail in the backcountry, supported by pack animals for the heavy lifting.

The lovely Bella couldn’t be left out.

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As you can see, the volcanic soil from Lassen was hitching a ride on our legs.

Anyone have a hose?

Day 107 – 14 / 1,371

It turned out that our resupply Day coincided with our host’s birthday.  Perfect!

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Plenty of good laughs in this picture. Her lovely mother made the cake, but had issues with it releasing from the pan. That didn’t affect the taste and there was nothing but crumbs left when we were done.

Day 108 – 0 / 1,371

Early the next morning we were dropped off back at the trail.  Ahead lie the Hat Creek Rim, a notorious stretch of the trail.  Completely exposed to the sun, covered with lava and boasting a 29-mile waterless stretch, the Rim is a section that many choose to skip.

That’s not an option for us.  We’re stubborn like that.

The first 8 miles were hot.  No lie.  With record breaking temperatures pushing over 110F down in the valley, we were slightly cooler up on the rim.  Slightly.

We opted to break up the long waterless stretch by using an off-trail water source.  Lost Creek Spring lies just 1/3 of a mile off the trail, but 300′ below.  It was a steep scramble down and a heavy haul back up, even though we left our packs up top.

We left the source very heavy.  Jen was carrying 6 liters, I was carrying 7 liters. At 2.2 pounds per liter on top of our full 7-day supply of food, we could feel it.  But there weren’t any options.

Dinner view of Mount Lassen, with the drop to Lost Creek visible frame right.

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Our goal was to beat the heat by hiking into the night, lit by an almost-full moon.  But the eyelids grew heavy as the sun set and we came across a beautifully smooth cement pad near an old fire lookout tower, so we decided to stop.

Mount Shasta sunset.
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With few mosquitoes and a dry night ahead, we decided to cowboy camp under the moon and stars, leaving the tent in the pack. 

It was a great choice.

Day 109 – 17 / 1,388

Please help us help the PCT Association as they work to protect and maintain this precious resource: http://tinyurl.com/le5cu9j

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4 thoughts on “Friend-filled Days”

  1. 1. Congrats for finding that Lost Creek. It’s not lost now. 😉
    2. Cowboy camp — sure saves unpacking and packing time, doesn’t it?
    3. Question: has your load plan changed much with regard to content? and how? different terrain? find out that things work better or not as good? — sorry if I missed this if you already mentioned it in the previous post.

    1. Re: cowboy camping – the funny thing is that it saves time in the evening, but it doesn’t seem to in the morning. Probably because I use that time to make coffee.

      Overall, the load plan is similar to when we started. Some stuff had been replaced due to wear and tear, but nothing has been discarded. We were pretty minimal and purposeful in our selection at the beginning, so that helped a lot.

    1. Lots of smoke, which has mellowed out a bit. But there was one early morning in the Trinity Alps where the eyes were burning and the throats were scratchy, all from a fire over 100 miles away.

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