Date: Wednesday, 21 June 2017
Start: Drakesbad Guest Ranch trail junction at Mile 1347.2, 5722 ft
Finish: Camped beside Hat Creek, 200 yards from Mile 1366.1, 5092 ft
Daily Miles: 18.9 PCT
Total PCT Miles: 825.8
Weather: Warm to very warm and sunny.
Breakfast: Porridge, fruit, French toast & sausages, toast & jam
Lunch: Ham & cheese sandwich, cookie, chips and an apple
Dinner: Rehydrated chicken cashew curry (not very good)
Aches: Right knee giving me some grief in the last hour
Highlight: A very pleasant lunch, eating the food provided by Drakesbad Guest Ranch, on the shore of Lower Twin Lake, with the place to myself, forest and snow down to the shore opposite, and a snow covered peak behind.
Lowlight: Discovering that once the trail got above 6000 ft, that I was again dealing with snow banks and occasionally difficult navigation, not to mention some flooded creek crossings. Not on tbe scale of the High Sierras, but it did slow my speed right down for the morning.
Pictures: Click here
Map: Click here for Google Map
I made a pig of myself at the part buffet breakfast provided by the Drakesbad Guest Ranch and left soon after 8:30am. There was a solid climb out of the valley and I was soon bathed in sweat on another very warm day.
As the trail got higher, snow started to appear and soon I was back to negotiating snowbanks and fallen trees and trying to work out where the trail went. It made for very slow progress and there were some tricky log creek crossings and another where I had to ford the strong current. The country was mostly pine forest, and it was cooler out of the sun, but it took all morning to do 7 miles.
The trail did pass some attractive lakes and I stopped at one for a very pleasant lunch. During the afternoon, the trail gradually descended through a dead forest, probably due to fire, and the snow was left behind. The walking became easier and I made better time. To my left loomed the snow covered Lassen volcano, looking quite peaceful.
I told myself I would stop after 6:00pm at the first place I could camp where water was available, but it took me until 7:15pm to find such a spot, beside the rushing Hat Creek. It was much later than I would have liked, but I did start late.