Day 94: Drakesbad Guest Ranch (Mile 1353.5)-Badger Mountain (Mile 1371); 17.5 miles
After a hearty breakfast at the Drakesbad Guest Ranch, we set out northward on the Pacific Crest Trail. The trail was mostly flat and the weather pleasant, with a few puffy clouds forming over Lower Twin Lake.
We walked through a spacious pine forest. Wildflowers and small clusters of grass grew where gaps in the tree canopy allowed light to reach the ground.
This forest was perfect for camping, and at night we easily found a flat campsite amidst the trees, well cushioned by pine needles.
Day 95: Badger Mountain (Mile 1371)-Hat Creek Rim (Mile 1392.5); 21.5 miles
The morning walk was flat and easy going.
We took an extended lunch break at the Subway Cave campground because we were about to enter a hot 30 mile waterless stretch. We planned to hike as far as we could today between 4 PM and dark, then rise with the sun the following morning to minimize our time walking in the heat.
Even though we began walking at 4 PM, it was still hot. We sweated profusely as we walked along Hat Creek Rim, which was 1000 nearly vertical feet above Hat Creek. The views were wonderful, but there was little shade, since sections of the forest on the rim were burned and logged.
As we crested a ridge, it was exciting to view Mt. Shasta for the first time. Shasta was huge and beautiful, and it represented for us the boundary between California and Oregon.
We walked until about 9 PM when the scattered rocks in the trail became hard to see. Then, by headlamp, we quickly set up camp.
Day 96: Hat Creek Rim (Mile 1392.5)-Above Baum Lake (Mile 1414.5); 22 miles
We rose before the sun to walk in the cool morning air. We passed through muted green sagebrush and dry grass.
Behind us, the rim above Hat Creek stretched back for miles and Mt. Lassen filled out the landscape.
As the day heated up, we reached a water cache called Cache 22. We could have made the full 30 mile stretch without the cache, but it was good to replenish our water even so. After the cache we saw a rabbit and some birds drinking from the stagnant pool pictured at the beginning of this post. We were very happy we didn’t need to join them!
Black lava rocks were strewn about much of the terrain, and the entire area was marked on our map as “lava”.
In the afternoon, we heard thunder and could see heavy rain dropping from the clouds on our left. The wind was quickly blowing the storm in our direction. The sky in front of us remained blue and clear, though, so we scurried along and were able to outpace the storm. Only a refreshing sprinkle fell on us.
Near the end of the day we filled our water containers at an inlet to Baum Lake. There we saw many waterfowl, in stark contrast to the trail we’d walked earlier.
Day 97: Above Baum Lake (Mile 1414.5)-Near Rock Creek (Mile 1430); 15.5 miles
In the morning, we walked nine flat dry miles through short pines. This flat walking, and that of the past few days, helped North Star’s shins continue to heal.
At Burney Falls State Park, we picked up a resupply food package and a lighter bear canister.
Before we left, we checked out Burney Falls, the park’s main attraction. The falls were large and impressive in the variety of paths the water took to reach the bottom. In fact, this was one of the most beautiful waterfalls we had seen anywhere.
Hiking on for a few miles, we reached Rock Creek, which flowed through a steep, rocky canyon. After filling our water containers, we set up camp a mile down the trail.
Burney Falls is amazing! And what a great picture of the insect (a bee?) on the flower. The flat terrain must be something of a shock after all you’ve been through. Thanks again for helping us follow along on your journey. We’re enjoying it tremendously.
Thanks Mom! The flatness was strange. But don’t worry, we climbed about 3000 feet yesterday and we will do that amount again today (with Becky and our friend Karin)! So our climbing muscles are getting plenty of work, haha.
Hopefully some more cool waterfalls to come in Oregon…
This looks so beautiful. Mt-Shasta: wow. Thanks for sharing and have a nice hike! Take it easy :-)
Thanks! We are getting plenty of even better views of Shasta as we get closer. More to come!
I love the names of each blog! Interesting to be thinking what to call each segment.
The dragon fly was awesome & shows the speed of your camera to be able to capture its separate wings & not in great day light, either.
Seems strange you will be leaving California anon. Like another signal that your journey won’t go on forever…
Glad you noticed the blog titles, Margaret! We always discuss those a fair amount to make sure they are unique and relevant. You noticed the dragonfly too — you get bonus points for that.
Leaving California will be bittersweet for us, because it will be a big accomplishment, but also as you say, we will be leaving a place we love, and our trip is over half done now. We hope to have more great adventures in the future, though, so there’s much to anticipate.
How are you doing on your timing? Do you expect to make it to Canada?
Yes indeed, we are right on schedule to make it to Canada at the end of September. Of course we must remain humble and be able to adapt to whatever happens, but things are looking good!
I am in awe, wonderful photos, great commentary. We have been following your adventure in through our trip to Spain and England. Keep trucking! Can’t wait for the next episode. Pauline & Dan Sheppard
Thanks so much, Pauline and Dan! It’s great that you are able to follow us even during your own adventures. We are excited to chronicle the rest of our adventures as we enter Oregon and then the Cascades in Washington!
I just came across your blog and am so excited about it! In fact, so excited that I sat and read all your past entries in one sitting ha! Can’t wait to continue following and see what adventures your upcoming days bring to you both. Also…I lived in San Francisco last year and moved back to Colorado a few months ago…to Fort Collins!! Foco is an amazing place to live with amazing people! You will fall in love with it just as I have :) cheers!!
Wonderful, we love it when people get as excited as we are, about the trail! Glad you are enjoying reading.
Good to hear you love Fort Collins, too. Everyone we talk to seems to say the same!
You can see the border of Oregon with Mt Shasta. You sound like Frodo and Sam! Enjoy the adventure.
Thanks Mom! Lord of the Rings does seem appropriate for this journey. In fact, we’ve met two people with trail names from that story, Frodo and Samwise.
I thought you might be interested to know that Steve reports there have been three rattlesnake sightings on the road around Lake Whitney in the Poconos where he has his cabin. Tame old Pennsylvania may not be so tame after all.
Wow, crazy. We’ve heard there are lots of rattlesnakes on the Appalachian trail, so maybe they have spread. When they show up in Media, we’ll know PA really has become wild!