BEAT BY THE HEAT
PCT DAY 80: Mile 1344.1 – Mile 1367.1
Saturday July 2, 2016: 23 miles (36.6 km)
It’s summer camp time for some US school kids. We passed a group of boys hiking south, toward Little Swampy. It was early morning and they did not look like they were enjoying the hike. I don’t think that heading into the mosquito armada by the lake will improve their enjoyment.
We reached Drakesbad Ranch just as the breakfast bell was being rung. We had no intentions of stopping here but it does look like a really nice place. Nestled in a lush green valley and surrounded by hot springs. We passed Boiling Springs Lake and it’s true to its name. We smelt it before we reached it. A whiff of sulphur and steam was rising from it. Such a surprise to see. We thought Yellowstone was the only place with boiling springs.
The Valley campground was busy for the weekend. Not surprising as it is a beautiful location. It would be a nice spot to come back to another time. We filled up our water bottles with clean running water on tap, what a treat. The PCT leaves the Valley over a steep climb with numerous switchbacks. Great views of the Valley below was the reward for the long climb.
Further along we had to ford Kings River. As it was a warm day and it was not a difficult crossing we decided to get our feet wet when a family of 4 day hikers in a hurry came up behind us. It was a family: mum and dad and two young adult sons. One of the sons said “where’s the bridge? I said, there is no bridge. That can’t be right there must be a bridge, was his reply. The father arrived and on learning there was no bridge proclaimed that “it was barbaric”. I had walked across by this stage and they were going up and down river looking for a bridge. There was a quite nice size log we saw downstream when we arrived. They crossed over the log and raced off up the other side. What was surprising was that they did not even say hello. We called them the Griswolds.
After an early lunch we passed Horseshoe Lake and soon after the beautiful Twin Lake. The lake did look cool and enticing. But we could not longer as we had miles to cover before the day was done.
The sun was out and it was fierce. From Twin Lake for the next 7 miles we hiked through a big burn area. Just the skeletons of trees standing. An occasional glimpse of Mt Lassen through the skeletons. This section was really tough as we were fully exposed to the sun. Feeling a bit beat up by the heat and the uninspiring landscape we stopped earlier then planned. We camped by Hat Creek. It is now 8 pm, an hour earlier then hiker midnight and I am falling asleep.