June 30, 2017
Total daily miles: 13 miles
Total PCT miles: 1000.4 miles
Start: mile 1394.3
End: Burney Mountain Guest Ranch (mile 1407.2)
Total elevation gain/loss: 748.4/1468.5 ft
This morning we set off to finish the Hat Creek Rim and get to the Burney Mountain Guest Ranch to pick up our resupply package. My main concern of the morning was the upcoming section of trail through a lava rock field. It’s reportedly brutal on the feet and I’m still recovering from a heel blister I developed a couple days ago (my foot’s protest to walking again after almost a week off trail).
As it turned out, the morning hike down from the rim and through the lava field was uneventful. I’m sure it helped that we were tackling the section first thing in the morning when it was cooler. The trail was definitely rocky, but I think that I was expecting miles of rocky trail over hot black lava rock. I kept waiting for it to happen (and holding off taking a photo until then), but it never did. Instead, I was treated to some nice morning views as I made my way down the rim and across the fairly flat lava field area.
The trail crossed a few dirt roads, and at one of them there was a stash of some of the weirdest trail magic yet: baby food. Now I’ve seen some hikers buy these pouches as a way to get their fruits and vegetables, but I still find it a bit weird. The stash was sponsored by a local church and was entirely made up of the flavor “red” (beets, red pepper, and apple). I tried one and found it to be an odd flavor mixture. I guess they were worried we weren’t getting our fruits and veggies?
A couple miles later and we were at our first natural water source since we actually walked by Hat Creek over a day ago (yesterday’s sources were a faucet and a water tank)! We stopped at a little creek that fed Crystal Lake and then walked along the lake itself. It’s nice to be near water again!
From the lake, it was only a couple miles or so to the turnoff for the Burney Mountain Guest Ranch. On the way, we passed the 1000 mile mark for us!! It’s weird now that the mileage markers don’t line up with how far we’ve actually walked, but it was nice to know that we’d finally passed this milestone.
Even though it was only about 11am when I arrived at the ranch, it was already scorching hot! Thank goodness the Ranch has a wide, shaded porch for hikers to hang out on! I pretty much spent my entire afternoon on that porch in an attempt to escape the heat.
Stopping at the Ranch was pretty much a town stop for us. We put our name on the list for showers and laundry, sorted through the resupply box that we’d sent ourselves, and talked with the other hikers hanging around (Scoops, Joe Dirt, A-Game, Valley Girl, Grams, Peanut, Fluffy, Lieutenant Dan, etc.). We also took a dip in the pool behind the main Ranch house (after showering). Talking with my parents today, I learned that our next box (to Castella) won’t arrive until July 5th. So we decided that we might as well just spend today relaxing instead of trying to get a few more miles in. Unfortunately, the wifi was down most of the day, so I wasn’t able to check my email or update the blog like I’d normally try to do in town.
The Ranch ended up being a pretty great place to spend the afternoon/evening. It had most of the town amenities that we want (except working wifi and beer to celebrate passing the 1000 mile mark) and had a nice hiker package that included showers, laundry, pool use, camping, and dinner. By dinner time, I was exhausted. I wish I could say that we’ll be sleeping in tomorrow, but the weather is so hot these days that it’s hard to pass on the cooler early morning miles.
Michael: sore left big toe.