Day 78 - Lassen, the Land of Steamed Milk and Honey - June 22

Awakening to the sound of people taking down a tent, I slowly began to get ready.  Bumblebee and Django were ready before I got my tent and we said goodbye, see you on the trail.  Tripod left soon after.  He had said last night that he didn't want to hike in the heat of the day, that he would stop around 1 pm.   It was supposed to be 94 degrees today in Chester and we're not much higher in elevation.  It was a lovely morning to hike, pine needles underfoot, tall shady trees, gradual slope.  I passed back and forth with them all in the morning.  The water sources were perfectly spaced, just 3-6 miles apart.  There was even trail magic!  The Thompson's had a box built for us, hanging on the side of a big pine tree.  A note in the beginning of the register said they had just fixed the box after squirrels got in and ruined the last register.  Dan's name was the only one ahead of mine.  I get to be the second person to sign the book!  There was fruit snacks and candy in the box, I grabbed a peppermint.  It felt like I was in the land of milk and honey after all that snow hiking.  There were a few downed trees from this winter, but only one was big enough to make you go around instead of over.

I stopped just before the boundary spring to have lunch.  I was going to nap, but the mosquitos were too annoying.  I keep thinking about fresh fruit and vegetables.  Maybe I should pack more in next time, I'm so tired of granola bars and junk food.  I even threw away some Oreos at the church last night.

After entering Lassen National Park, I took the side trail to the Terminal Geyser.  It's not really a Geyser, more of a fumerole.  It looks like a large spring where the water bubbling up is so hot it creates steam and smells vaguely sulphuric.  Even downstream a little ways the water was steaming.  I'd never seen anything like that so the side trip was worth it to me.  If you've had the pleasure of visiting Yellowstone, I'm sure it's nothing special.

As I walked back up, I saw Dan coming down without his pack.  I thought about doing that, but we're in bear territory so I didn't want to leave it alone.  At the spur, I saw Tripod.  He thought I would be long gone by now.  Dan came back as I was talking to Tripod.  I was ahead, but I came to an intersection of trails that took me a second to figure out which on was the PCT.  Dan knew and led to the right.  We got spaced out since we all hike at different paces.  I got to the trail for Warner Campground and went there.  Lassen National Park requires bear canisters if you camp in the backcountry overnight.  You can avoid carrying one by camping at Warner, where there are bear boxes, or by hiking the whole 19 miles in one day.  To get to the other side would have been a 33 mile day so camping at Walker was better.  Plus, we could grab dinner at Drakesbad Guest Ranch tonight!

After talking to Walnut and Pecan, a couple of nuts, who took a zero here, I decided it wasn't worth walking to the Ranch.  It costs 17 bucks for dinner and it sounds like a meat and potatoes kind of place and you get whatever's left.  I'll pass.

So, I had Spanish rice with olive oil and added 1/2 of a small tomato, eating the rest of the tomato while I waited for it to cook.  About when I finished, another thru-hiker came up and joined us.  His name is Black Swan, he's from Florida and he's carrying juggling balls.  I told him about the Butthole Circus and he wanted to know if they were ahead or behind but I have no idea.  We put our food and toiletries in the bear box and went to sleep.  It's not even full dark right now at hiker midnight (9 pm).


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