BREEZY ON HAT CREEK RIM
PCT DAY 81: Mile 1367.1 – Mile 1393
Sunday July 3, 2016: 25.9 miles (41.4 km)
Today was simply beautiful. Warm with a cooling breeze and stunning views. Amazing what a difference a refreshing swim in the creek and a good night’s sleep made to our mental and physical energy levels. Today’s hike was over the much talked about 29 mile long waterless stretch along the Hat Creek Rim.
We left camp in the cool of the morning headed towards Old Station. We made quick work of the 7 miles to get to JJ’s Cafe in time for breakfast. JJ’s is one of the famous pitstops amongst the PCT hikers. And we were not disappointed, great breakfast finished off with sensational homemade blueberry jam on rye bread. We lingered in the restaurant for some time catching up on news from home. There had been a federal election over the weekend and not surprisingly there was no clear winner. Hammer was outraged by the election of a certain candidate with a proven track record of being a racists and bigot.
We finally left Old Station in the heat of the day at about 11am. But surprisingly when we got on the trail we noticed a slight breeze which increased as we reached the top of the rim. The trail follows the rim of a volcano. The last time Mt Lassen erupted was in 1915. So geologically speaking it was relatively recent. From the top we had stunning views back towards Mt Lassen with the Hat Creek valley down below. We did not see Mt Shasta at all as the warm weather created a haze which shrouded the distant mountains.
The trail weaved through low growing heath dense with golden grasses and colourful flowers. There was something beautiful to engage the senses everywhere you look. And combined with the cooling breeze it was heavenly.
The long waterless stretch is not really true as there is water in Lost Creek which is down a long steep escarpment and there were a few water holes a bit further on. And there was also a water cache at road 22, which we were warned was not being maintained. It just happen to have water when we went through, which was a bonus. It saved us having to filter water from a water hole. We had left Old Station carrying 8 litres of water between us. But being a warm day we were drinking a lot more then we did in the desert.
We were enjoying the late afternoon hiking so much we just kept going. There were hang-gliders hovering above us like some giant silent birds. We were watching the sky and I nearly stepped on a snake which was stalking a mouse. We decided to stop soon after.
We camped amongst low growing trees just before the water hole. As we were falling asleep there was a really loud grunting noise nearby. Wide awake now, the grunting and huffing continued but it was not getting any closer to the tent. We decided it did not sound like a bear or a mountain lion and went back to sleep.