Day 79 - Fast Waters - June 23

My goal for today is to hike 20 miles. I at least need to hike the 15 miles to get out of Lassen National Park, not because I don't like it, but because bear canisters are required here. Tripod and Dan left earlier than me, as I was packing up, Tripod left. I ran into snow patches soon, not many, but they covered enough of the trail to make it confusing and I ended up getting off the trail into a lovely meadow. Not a bad place to get turned around.

When I reached Kings Creek, no one was there and the creek was the highest one I have had to cross without a bridge. They had all kinds of bridges across small creeks and swamps, but not this large dangerous creek. I tried looking upstream to cross, but that would require some scrambling on steep rock above the creek. I tried going up another trail, thinking maybe I could cross higher up, but the topography didn't look promising and I saw a waterfall on one of the creeks. This area below here also got steeper, so this spot really was the best crossing. I decided I didn't want to cross it alone, so I waited. I tried to relax, but I wasn't really able. This creek was loud and raging, I couldn't listen to my headphones. I waited for perhaps an hour or longer, hoping that Black Swan was coming behind me and hadn't passed while I was sidetracked in that meadow.

When Black Swan arrived, he told me he had seen a bear that morning and showed me a video. I told him I thought the log was probably the best crossing spot but I don't like log crossings. He doesn't like logs either, so we decided to try fording the creek. He went first, but turned around. Too fast and too deep. I tried next. The water got up to mid-thigh and started pushing against my skirt. It was hard to put my trekking poles into the water. The water would push my pole downstream as soon I put it in the water. I could feel that the rushing water could easily knock me down and I wasn't halfway across yet. I turned back.

Then we decided to cross on the log. Black Swan went first, putting his pack ahead of him until he got to a thicker part of the log. I crossed my scooting with my pack on my back and my legs wrapped around the log. Going around the limbs was a little tricky, had to swing my legs over. We made it!

There were many bogs after that, where you pretty much had to walk through the water. I was glad to have my Goretex boots on for this. Black Swan was not happy about getting all of his socks wet. One bog had a boardwalk stopping just ten feet short of where the water started. We ran into some snow patches again and met a couple of older guys coming up behind us. We crossed a creek and then I had a feeling we weren't on the right trail, so I checked my Guthook app. As I check, one of the older guys asks if I'm texting as they pass us quickly. Oh, just making sure we're on the right trail. We're not, so we hike back over the creek.

Then we hiked into a burnt forest area. We were in and out of the burn all the rest of the day. As we reached Lower Twin Lake, we see a couple and talk to them. We took our lunch break there, and I went for a swim. It was a nice lake to swim in, if a little cold. I practiced my log walking whenever I got a chance, and there were a lot of opportunities. Between the burn and the snow this winter, there were a lot of downed trees.

I continued thinking about where I would go if the trail is impassable further north. Oregon trails closer to the coast? Oregon Coast Trail? Idaho Centennial Trail? Glacier National Park, Beartooth Wilderness? Long Trail in Vermont? I could maybe see a lot in a few months. I'm not quite ready to give up on this trail, but it's something to think about.

Since there was confusing snow and that water crossing, we ended up camping at the boundary. I was tired and went right to sleep.

Boundary Camp


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