Date: Thursday, 22 June 2017
Start: Camped beside Hat Creek, 200 yards from Mile 1366.1, 5092 ft
Finish: Camped by the trail at Hat Creek Rim Lookout at Mile 1388.2, 5121 ft
Daily Miles: 22.1 PCT, + 0.6 to Lost Creek Spring and back
Total PCT Miles: 847.9
Weather: Hot and sunny
Breakfast: (1) Egg, bacon & cheese roll, (2) Sausage & egg scamble, toast & jam, and choc chip cookie
Lunch: Two half frozen chicken salad sandwiches
Dinner: Rehydrated mashed potato and gravy with bits of roast beef
Aches: Right shoulder intermittently sore
Highlight: The early walking on a flat pine needle-covered trail through a very quiet pine forest, when it was still cool, was beautiful.
Lowlight: It would have to be the heat on a mostly exposed trail. Nearby towns are setting records (112°F), and although it is not that hot at altitude, it is still very warm and will continue to be for the rest of the week.
Pictures: Click here
I was up at 5:45am after a restless night and on the trail by 6:45am, looking forward to getting breakfast at JJ’s Cafe which was close to the PCT. The early walking was pleasant and easy and I made good time to Old Station where I emerged from the trail into civilisation (well, just barely, it was a tiny PO and adjacent small store) around 8:15am. JJ’s was still another three miles up the road, and the small store offered a limited breakfast menu, so I quickly decided I could manage two breakfasts. After an egg & bacon roll and a large Diet Coke, and a nice chat to the cook, I walked the three miles up the road to JJ’s where I had an excellent second breakfast plus a few extras.
This was the treat preceding what I knew was going to be a tough rest of the day, and as an extra treat, I bought two frozen sandwiches from the adjacent gas station to take with me for lunch. Then the hard work began. The trail, now mostly in the open, climbed up onto Hat Creek Rim, which seemed like an old lava flow (lots of igneous rock and desert-like vegetation), and followed the edge of the escarpment northwards. Behind could be seen the Lassen volcano, and far ahead, seemingly floating above the heat haze, was the snow covered Mt Shasta. To the left and far below was the broad flat Hat Creek valley, and behind that, more pine covered mountains.
The trail was very rocky and I stumbled countless times, but only fell once (uninjured). There was no water on the trail, so I made a detour (0.3 miles and 400 vertical feet) to Lost Creek Spring in mid-afternoon to collect four litres of water, enough to camp with later on. Of course the extra weight was unappreciated for the last two hours hiking, and more so when the place I camped, a remote lookout, turned out to have a water cache left by a trail angel. Still, you can’t plan for trail angels, so no use complaining.
I stopped at 6:00pm, a welcome hour earlier than last night, and set up my tent where I have a spectacular view. All in all, not a bad day.