It has certainly been a long, strange trip so far, but there is plenty more still to come. Today’s post title is inspired by http://halfwayanywhere.com, which is a great travel site that helped us prepare by helping us to not over prepare for the journey.
This last section was very wet, very warm and harkened back to our time in the desert. After leaving Sierra City at mile 1199, things looked pleasent at first, despite the 2800 foot climb on the way.
By the time I had completed most of the climb while watching it rain in the valley, 7 miles in the weather deteriorated rapidly. Heavy rains and dense fog ascended up the mountain and visibility quickly disappeared. With another hiker, we headed another 3 miles to attempt to find a camping spot that wasn’t exposed or flooded out…much harder than you might imagine. Once we set up and got relatively dry, we hung out and avoided the puddles inside the tent until the morning.
We dried things out until noon and headed on another 20 miles, later in the day it rained on us quite a bit, but nothing compared to the previous day’s downpour.
My ankle/shin continued to bother me and the following day I realized rest was going to be needed to calm it down. We made it to 1265 and then hitched forward nearly 20 miles to Belden, the next town on the trail. They had camping for free and a store/restaurant where I could relax and heal a bit. They also had a group from the Burning Man festival (who were all incredibly kind and generous) having a party in this small resort town, so the people watching during the house party that night was legendary.
The next day I continued to rest and waited till late in the afternoon to leave as it was 93 degrees and the climb out of Belden is 5000 feet and largely exposed.
I camped at a great site with a swimming hoke and waterfall and headed on another 25 miles the next day, shin/ankle feeling slightly better.
The next day was kindve a big deal, the passing of the midpoint on the PCT. Technically it is now about 5 miles short of the midpoint, but it’s close enough. I reached this unremarkable spot with a group of 6 others and we took pictures and hung out a bit.
After the small celebration, I headed the remaining 9 miles into Chester to eat, resupply and pick up a package. I then did an addition 10 miles to the North Fork River and camped, readying for Lassen NP the following day.
Lassen started strong, but was ultimately disappointing.
After climbing to the top of the park, we were unfortunately faced with heat and a gigantic burn area. 29 miles to Hat creek would be the goal, but after leaving the park, it was hard not to feel like we didn’t get to see the real park
Hat Creek Rim was the goal the next day, a large prominence over a hot, forested valley that is 99% exposed, very hot and largely covered in brush and lava rock that eats up your shoes and feet. It is also a 29 mile waterless stretch, so a heavy backpack is mandatory.
We had to camp basically on lava rock after 27.5 miles and with all the heat from the day, I didn’t mind cowboy camping on top of an ant hill for the night, sleep would come regardless.
I had 10 miles to water and 14.5 miles to a road for the hitchhike to Burney, the first town I planned on resting in for over a week. It never dropped below 65, even at night and it heated up quickly in the morning.
After reaching town, the standard buffet trip, resupply and laundry was in order, but hopefully this will be the last time without T-Rex, who is set to return 90 miles north in Shasta. I should be there early next week and we can resume marching to America’s Tophat together.