HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY
PCT DAY 82: Mile 1393 – Mile 1408
Monday July 4, 2016: 15 miles ( 24 km)
We never did find out what animal made the grunting and snorting noises last night. When we went past the water hole this morning there was lots of trampled grasses. So whatever it was must have been near the water.
We broke camp quickly to escape the mosquitos. Our morning ritual is fairly constant. I usually wake up at 4.30 and make a cup of coffee which I like to have while it’s still dark outside. I love listening to the sounds of the day coming alive while still tucked up inside my sleeping bag. I make Hammer a cup of hot chocolate when he wakes just after 5. We then have our breakfast which is always raw oats mixed with dried fruit and a little cinnamon soaked in water overnight. It tastes like Bircher muesli. In the Sierras we cooked the oats just to have something warm to eat. We roll up our sleeping mats and bags and pack up our packs, fold down the tent and are usually ready to go just after 6 am.
The trail this morning was a ribbon winding it’s way way through the golden grasses shimmering in the clean morning light. Low growing juniper trees and flatness of the rim landscape gave the area the look of a grassy African Savannah. It was very beautiful, if only the gorgeous morning light would last a bit longer.
The morning was warm already and the breeze was not as strong as yesterday. Mt Shasta was visible for a brief period in the early morning before it disappeared in the mist. By the time we descended off the rim and started to cross the valley floor it was very hot and we were walking on lava rocks. This was not very comfortable on the feet as both our shoes are well past their use by date.
We spent several hours in transit through the valley before reaching Baum Lake which has a hydro scheme and a fish hatchery. The Lake was quite large and away from the built sections was quite a natural and serene setting. It would be a lovely spot to while away some leisure hours. But we were on a mission to get to Burney around lunchtime, so we did not linger by the lake.
By the time we reached Highway 299 we had run out of water and were parched. This road was listed as a very difficult hitch and a phone number for a local taxi was pinned to a tree just before the trail crossed the highway. But we got lucky, we got a ride in less than 5 minutes, with the 3rd car that drove past. A young lady in a BMW on her way home from work at a local hospital. So kind, she actually turned back to come and get us after driving past. I don’t think I’ve ever been so grateful as we were so thirsty and the sun was beating down on us. She dropped us off at our motel. While waiting to checked in we drank over a litre of icy cold water each and then had a Gatorade to top it off.
We were very disappointed to learn that there were no July 4th celebrations in Burney today, they celebrated on Saturday with a town parade and fireworks.
We spent the rest of the day in town doing laundry and shopping for food for the next leg 100 or so miles to Dunmuir.