- Date: Monday June 29, 2015
- Miles hiked: 9.34 PCT
- Miles covered: 1338.16 to PCT
- Weather Report: Low 48, High 94. A change: the subtropical clouds are gone, leaving clear blue skies. Morning was hiking in the 50s and 60s, which was great, afternoon hiking was in the 80s and 90s, not so great. Most of the day was in half shade or more.
- Wildlife seen: Chipmunks and lizards
- Mood of the day: Doing well, feeling good
This morning we were all eager to get out of camp and get on the trail. I had heard that the lunches at Drakesbad resort were excellent, and with my new shoes my feet were really ready to fly. We headed out of camp at the usual 7:30 time; we would easily do the nine miles by noon, and even get a shower before sitting down to lunch.
The trail was fast, and though there were some uphills and downhills, we made it to Boiling Springs Lake by 11, snapped some pictures.
The only slowdowns were a few interrogations by day hikers ("how far have you gone? when did you start? what do you eat? how much does your pack weigh?")... and we coasted down into the resort and found the showers near the pool in the meadow. The pool was closed for cleaning, sniff, but the showers were fantastic.
Freshly tidied, we sat down at the hiker tables, several feet beyond the fancy tables on the deck for resort guests (hey, after that shower we don't look or smell half-bad!)... and walked in the restaurant for the buffet when that bell rang right at noon. And... we were politely ushered out, doh, hiker lunch is from 12:45 to 1:15, which we didn't read. Sniff. But 45 minutes is nothing to any of us now--for me, time isn't divided into minutes and hours but miles and 'morning/afternoon/evening/night'. It's a bit odd that I don't feel like I'm being slow when it takes me an hour to sort and packing everything in the morning, that's for sure.
Anyways, we didn't wait unti l12:45, there weren't many guests, so we went in and piled our plates with fresh lettuce and arugula salad, watermelon/kale salad, both a pasta and a macaroni salad, tuna salad, pesto-pine nut pasta, and a turkey/cheese sandwich, with fresh lemonade to drink and oatmeal-raisin cookies for dessert.
Junior remarked that he wasn't hungry, really (neither was I) but he can eat as if he's a bottomless pit (ok, mixed up metaphor, but I felt the same). I went back for more of the salads, yum, and drank four glasses of that lemonade. I felt full but not stuffed, it was a great lunch (and just $13.50, a deal!!), and if you skip it when you're through hiking you'll miss out, so just don't.
We waddled up the hot trail after lunch--that cool morning hike suddenly turned hot--and made our way through shady forest glades to Lower Twin Lakes, where we planned to camp, by a bit after 5, which just seemed too early.
There's a 12 mile dry stretch on the official PCT trail, but Sage noticed that we could do essentially the same miles (about 4/10 mile shorter) by going to Feather Lake and rejoining the PCT after passing a few lakes. We could get some more miles in too, as we have a hiking challenge to deal with in a couple of days.
That challenge is the Hat Creek Rim, a mostly waterless, dry, and hot crossing along a lava escarpment. It's 29 mostly shadeless miles from Subway Cave across to Highway 299, with the only water being 8 miles in at Lost Creek. If we can get some miles in today, we can get to Subway Cave easily tomorrow, and maybe even do some hiking in the cool of the evening; it's a full moon in a few days on July 1st. That seemed much more appealing than resting, so we headed up to the Cluster Lakes.
The lakes were pretty as the sun set, and the trail wound its way through recently burned forest, which was dusty and blackened but had lots of wonderful purple and white wildflowers. Around 7 we spotted a flattish spot near Cluster Lake, so we set up camp, filtered water out of the warm but clear lake, and made dinner.
Tomorrow has a little bonus too in the mid-afternoon: the tiny settlement of Old Station, with a post office and a small market with a deli. Ice cream and cold drinks and sandwiches await us. Something to look forward too!