Day 90-93: Halfway Between Mexico and Canada
Day 90: Belden (Mile 1289)-Myrtle Flat (Mile 1296); 7 miles
We spent the first half of the day in the tiny town of Belden, which is tucked into a narrow canyon next to the Feather River.
At the Belden trail angels’ cabin, which is appropriately named Little Haven, we took care of all the small tasks that had been piling up.
Soon, though, it was time to hit the trail again. We walked uphill out of the valley for a few miles. The climb was mostly forested, although some areas were burned and exposed. Even late in the day, the climb was hot.
As dark approached, the trees grew thicker and water was plentiful. We camped near a creek.
Day 91: Myrtle Flat (Mile 1296)- Humboldt Summit (Mile 1315); 19 miles
Early in the day, we found banana slugs crawling on rocks near a creek. We had only seen them on the California coast previously, and were surprised to find them so far inland. We also saw a few waterfalls and crossed several creeks.
We don’t just walk steadily down the trail all day — sometimes we get giddy and start dancing our way towards Canada.
Late in the day, a deer walked right towards us on the trail, as if it were another hiker. It detoured slightly when it got within 25 feet, but we enjoyed the close view.
At sunset we found a sweet camp spot complete with mountain vista.
Day 92: Humboldt Summit (Mile 1315)-Stover Springs (1338.5); 23.5 miles
We woke to a surprisingly cloudy morning. This was only our second seriously cloudy day of the entire trip so far. As we hiked, the wind chilled us, and it began sprinkling.
After a few hours of walking, we passed the official halfway point of the Pacific Crest Trail! This was marked with a small stone post inscribed with the distance to Canada and to Mexico: 1325 miles. The distance in either direction was so large, it was hard to fully comprehend.
We were happy to have reached this milestone (which it was, in the most literal sense) and to know we had much more adventuring ahead.
Towards evening, the weather cleared up. We camped at a spring with Blueberry and Skippy, and enjoyed our dinner while chatting with them.
Day 93: Stover Springs (1338.5)-Drakesbad Guest Ranch (Mile 1353.5); 15 miles
Today we woke at 5:30 AM to try and reach Drakesbad Guest Ranch for their hiker lunch at 1 PM. North Star’s shins had been gradually improving, and we decided the 15 miles to the ranch were possible if we kept a steady pace.
As we walked, we caught glimpses of Mt. Lassen, still a bit snowy, in the distance.
We were excited when we entered Lassen Volcanic National Park. As the name implies, much of the park consists of volcanos or volcanically formed features. We soon passed one, as the trail took us around Boiling Lake. We could hear and smell sulphur gas bubbling up through the water. The lake had a very unusual color, as did the shoreline.
Right on schedule, we reached Drakesbad Guest Ranch at 1. We chowed down on their all-you-can-eat lunch. Afterwards we showered and they did our laundry for free.
Even better, North Star received a package containing new footwear. Her old insoles were really worn out, and we hoped these new arch supports and shoes would help her shins continue to improve.
At night, we feasted with a fun crowd of hikers.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
— Mark Twain