DAY 51: 0 miles!!! August 30
I woke up and went to the ranch where Linda was cooking me breakfast. It was wonderful! Homemade whole grain waffles and a veggie omelette. Mmmmmm!
Right after that I headed straight to the showers. I was so excited to shower with SOAP finally!!! I did laundry as well and was so excited to have everything clean!! Ahhh! The little things ❤️ The ranch also had a piano which I have been missing INCREDIBLY, so I played that which felt so good!!!! This place was perfect!
I went into town to see if my sleeping pad had been shipped in, as it was supposed to be (my sleeping pad has been broken since almost day 1, I’ve been working with Thermarest to get a new one sent but it’s been a process). Nope, no package. Guess it will be another week or two without a sleeping pad. At this point I feel like I don’t even need one since its been so long.
I got back to the ranch and took care of some stuff, uploaded pictures, blogged, etc. I had so much to do! It was getting late and there was still a lot I needed/wanted to get done still, so I decided I’d take a full zero instead of a Nero. This was the place to do it. It was so homey and welcoming.
I spent the rest of the day relaxing and getting everything sorted. For dinner, Linda made me a black bean burrito which was unreal! It was sooooo good to have some home cooked meals with nutrients and vitamins!!! Yum yum yum.
I went to bed a little late but had plans to get up early and get back on the trail!
DAY 52: 24 miles, August 31
I woke up early today, packed up, said goodbye and thank you to Linda, then got back on the trail.
Today I would be on Hat Creek Rim, a dreaded part of the PCT that all the NOBOS complained to me about. It is dreaded for two reasons; one, being a long, waterless stretch of 50 miles (not including the cache), and two, because of the full exposure. A lot of people were saying they night hiked it or did a long day of it just to get it done with. Honestly, it wasn’t bad at all. The rim was gorgeous because on west side you got a view of Mt Lassen and on the other side, stretched out by a huge valley, you got a view of Mt Shasta. Amazing!
It was pretty hot today but the rim had a lot more shade than I expected. NOBOS were being dramatic!! I got to the cache which was turned into a really cool hangout space. There was gallons and gallons of water, snacks, and portable phone chargers. I love the trail Angels!!!!!!
There were four other Northbounders there too. I ended up taking a long lunch there and finally decided to leave so I didn’t miss the sunset at camp.
I was really surprised how fast today went by, especially considering I took a zero the day before. I think it was my first day on the PCT feeling that way. I took my time all day, stopped at a bunch of view spots, took a long lunch and didn’t push at all.
I got to camp and was really really happy with it! It had a beautiful view off the rim, but the site was a little hidden in a small forest with lots of space. It would have been a really great site for a big group of hikers.
I setup camp, ate and watched the sunset which seemed to last forever. I had the perfect view. I can’t believe so many people night hiked this section, there was so much beauty missed!!
I had a small fire afterwards and then off to bed! Another great day on trail 🙂
DAY 53: 25 miles, September
Well, I think yesterday went by so fast because today made up for it. What a slow day I had.
I woke up freeeeezing which was very surprising, especially considering the elevation was only around 4500. I did however have a really good sleep, which would be my first on trail. I slept in until 6:45 which I think is also the latest I’ve slept in since being out here!
I usually warm up once I pack up and start hiking, but that wasn’t the case! It was very windy and the sun was shining, but I still wanted to put on my puffy. I felt so silly because I knew later I’d be sweating, so I refrained. About 0.1 miles in I tripped pretty bad and fell on my knee (the same one as last time), and twisted my shoulder really weird. I kind of just laid there for a minute because everything hurt so bad. I was nervous about my shoulder but luckily it was fine once I moved it a bit. My knee hurt a lot and was a little scuffed up.
I kept hiking and got off the rim shortly. I had been taking sooo many breaks today and for some reason was so hungry, I was eating all of my snacks already. I didn’t know what was up today.
It took me a while but I finally got to the Subway Cave. The Subway Cave is a short trip just off the PCT to a lava tube that is approximately 1000 ft long. A lot of people skip it but it sounded really neat, and it is right off trail so you my as well!
It turned out to be really cool. It was nice and cool inside and as you walked into them it was complete darkness. Even with your flashlight on you could only see a few feet in front of you. Super eerie and really cool! I really enjoyed it.
I was only there for maybe a half hour and then continued hiking. I was approaching Old Station, a town right off the PCT with a population of about 50 people. I was debating if I wanted to stop in or not. I didn’t really need to, but felt the need to since it was right on trail. Since I was going sooo slow today, I thought it was a better idea just to keep rolling through.
My knee was hurting a lot today which also slowed me down. I ended up sitting about 5 feet away from the trail and taking a short nap. Talk about lazy today!
I continued through having to push myself. I tried listening to music and podcasts but nothing was helping. Just one of those days.
I also wasn’t looking forward to my camp spot, because it was in a burned area. There was another spot 2 miles south of it but there was a lot of bear spottings there, so I didn’t really want to camp there.
Overall, today was very flat. I entered Lassen National Park which was a gorgeous part of the trail. It was all forested area but it was very tidy and well kept. It was a nice section to walk through.
Soon enough, the forest turned into burned down forest. I kept taking breaks all day but finally got to my site just before 7. I was so ready to just set up camp, eat and go to bed.
Today was probably my least favourite day of California so far. It wasn’t bad, I just wasn’t feeling it. I felt like I spent more time breaking today than I did hiking. I find the days I sleep in are the days I feel slothy. Hope tomorrow is better!
DAY 54: 25 miles, September 2
Didn’t sleep the best last night, I was so cold! My alarm went off at 6 but it was still pitch dark, so back to bed! I woke up 20 minutes later to an incredible sunrise!!!
I packed up quick and started my day. I had plans on stopping in at Drakesbad Guest Ranch, as a lot of NOBOS recommended it and, even though it has only been a few days, I could really use a good meal! I am so sick of backpacking food, I don’t know how I’m going to go another 2 months on it.
The problem with the Drakesbad was that they served breakfast for PCT hikers at 8:30. I knew there was no way I was going to make that. Lunch wasn’t until 1 so I was kind of just getting there when I got there, and figuring it out from there.
I had a really great morning! I was happy to feel better than I did yesterday. I was hiking at a fast pace and felt good. About 2 miles past my site I saw Twin Lake, the one I wanted to camp at the night before but refrained because of bear warnings. My gosh was it beautiful!! And the campsites were perfect. I immediately regretted not camping there, even despite the bear! There were two other tents set up there when I passed this morning so I wouldn’t have been alone either. Darn.
My entire day was filled with some beautiful, beautiful forest. I had 10 miles to Drakesbad but it went by fast. I approached Warner Valley and loved the descent. It was so beautiful!
I got to Drakesbad around 10:30. They give PCT hikers discounts on there buffet meals, the only catch is they have to wait until after the meal hour for the leftovers. Lunch wasn’t until 1:00, which was such a long way away. But I had been looking so forward to a good, big meal I decided to wait. I had already done 10 miles this morning and another 15 was doable if I waited. As long as I could hike fast, which I didn’t doubt considering this morning.
Drakesbad would have been a really nice place to take a zero. The Warner Valley campground just outside of it was incredibly nice. The Ranch also had volleyball nets and I was wishing there were other hikers here to hang around with. There was definitely lots to do.
The Ranch offers PCT hikers free showers, and since I had the time I was obviously going to take one! It had only been two days since my last one, I was getting spoiled!
The showers there were SO NICE and I definitely took advantage. I had the longest shower and washed up a bunch of times, but when I dried off I was STILL running off dirt. I wonder how long after my hike it will take for me to be completely clean again.
It felt sooo good to have clean hair especially! I sat outside and read until finally I got to eat!! The lunch was delicious too! Lots and lots of salads with vegetables and fruit. These were the kinds of meals I needed! I loaded my plate up a ridiculous amount and ate every last bite. I was able to be out of there by 1:00, which was awesome because I could take my time more hiking.
More beautiful forest to continue my day. I took a few breaks that I probably shouldn’t have, and realized I really better keep my pace up if I wanted to get to camp by 7:30.
The last 4 miles really went by slow. I got to camp which was right by a spring. The sites were right by a road and there was a huuuuge camp set up beside me. It looked like there were 6+ people camping there. They clearly were not there, and I assumed they had a vehicle and were gone for the day. I went to bed but was soon awakened by them returning to camp. Turns out it was only 2 guys.
Two more days until I’m in Belden!
DAY 55: 23 miles
Today was a bit of an exciting day because I was going to reach the PCT halfway marker! Wooo!
My neighbours woke me up being extra loud this morning. I went back to sleep until I saw daylight and then got up and on the trail by 7. I had wanted an earlier start so I could do as much miles today, then have less the day I get into Belden.
I felt good today but was i ever slow. I try not to listen to music or podcasts unless I’m really struggling, so I threw some on. Didn’t help.
Another exciting thing about today was that is was the season opener for college football!! AND I had service on the trail to stream the Michigan game. Was that a coincidence? I don’t think so! I was super stoked to listen to the game and hike. That unfortunately didn’t help my pace either though. On the bright side Michigan had a sweet victory! I was sad I was going to be missing the season.
I continued hiking when I FINALLY got to the halfway marker. I took photos and read a lot of the register notes. These were some awesome ones for read. What a milestone! But to be honest, it didn’t really feel that way. More like, this is only half?? I get why a lot of people quit after reaching this point.
I was so hungry so I ate right at the marker. Today had been super cloudy, probably the cloudiest day yet. I wore my long sleeve for most of the day.
I continued hiking hoping to pick up my pace. I felt like I really wasn’t getting anywhere today. I had a tent site picked out but I didn’t think I was going to make it that far. I didn’t mind. I just decided to keep hiking and I’ll camp where I camp.
The day really dragged out and kind of put me in a bad mood. I just wanted the next day. It’s hard not to let your mood effect your day, especially when your mind has so much time to wander. I just kept telling myself it’s only one day. We all need bad days occasionally. And it wasn’t even a “bad day”.
I had a blister that developed today so I decided to change into my flip flops to let my feet breathe. It was a little hard to hike in them with the soft dirt. I had some really amazing views in the late afternoon. There was one spot on top of the mountain that was gorgeous. I was debating camping here even though it was only 5:30. I decided to carry on because I didn’t know what I would do with all that time, and I’d rather create an easier day for myself tomorrow.
I finally got to camp at the summit of Humboldt mountain. What an incredible view! I had the perfect camp spot.
What a great finish to a day like today. I set up camp quick and ate dinner, admiring the view. One of my favourite camp sites.
I’m glad today had a good finish. I really hope tomorrow is a good day and I can get to town. I have a feeling it might be another struggle!
DAY 56: 25 miles.
Last night I woke up at 1:00am wide awake. My muscles were so crampy so I stretched a bit. I was also really hungry which was weird, especially because I ate so much for dinner. I ate some of my oatmeal I had made for breakfast and went back to sleep.
I woke up around 6:15am and packed up camp. I couldn’t believe how cold the nights were getting. I’m wondering if I’m going to need warmer clothes for the Sierras. I got back on trail and was hiking quite fast to start! Awesome!!
This morning consisted of some medium sized hills, and then about 12 miles of steep downhill, from 7000ft to 2000ft!
I was hiking at a really good pace all day. I knew I’d end up getting to Belden sooner than I planned which was always nice. I took a short break at a creek for lunch and continued on.
A southbound sectioner, Wafflecone, caught up with me and we hiked together until town. We got there and I was sooo hungry. I bought my resupply and some snacks, then hung out for a bit. Belden is a very very small town, with a population of 13 apparently. It’s usually used for events. It’s been fun hearing everyone’s stories from Belden, and what events they got to participate in during there hike.
After hanging out and talking to some people from around town, we made camp near the water.