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Martin "Lei Low" Rolph
City: Cameron Park
Begins: Apr 12, 2008
Entry Visits: 1,262
Journal Visits: 184,862
Guestbook Views: 5,677
Guestbook Entrys: 35
Hot! Hot! Hot!
Hot! Hot! Hot! I think it was well over 100F here in the Hat Creek area today. The nasty reputation of this stretch of trail is well-deserved.
The day started pretty well. As planned, I got up long before it was light and started hiking by headlamp. It was relatively cool as I left the trees and started across the lava/brush-covered rim (cliff top). As the sun came up, I could see Mt. Shasta, although the smoke from yesterday evening was still there.
After 4.5 hours and 14 miles, I reached the water cache at Forest Road 22 ("Cache 22"). Bido (the 18 year-old through hiker) was already there, and three more older hikers showed up 5 minutes later (Lucky, Milky, and Gadget). We enjoyed the water and shade while telling trail tall tales. My biggest concern, however, was my left foot. It felt like I had a blister under the calluses on my heel. The calluses are so thick now that it's hard to tell, but my foot was tender enough that I couldn’t walk full speed.
I left Cache 22 to do the next 12 miles to the water at the Crystal Lake Fish Hatchery. It got progressively hotter and hotter as the trail wound downhill and then off the rim. There were now some junipers and gray pine, but they didn't offer much shade.
With 6 miles to go, I stopped for lunch, huddled in the shade of a juniper. I inspected my foot, and sure enough, there was a dime-size blister on the heel. I lanced it and taped it, hoping for the best. After doctoring, my foot didn't feel too bad, but the scorching temperature was cooking the rest of me as I marched across the lava fields.
After what seemed like days, but was only a few hours, I reached the oasis near the fish hatchery. The penstock above the downstream powerhouse had a small hole in it, sending a delightful spray of icy cold water that I thoroughly enjoyed. Five other hikers were relaxing there by 4:00PM - Flippy, Bido, Lucky, Milky, and Gadget.
I hung out until 5:30 and then headed out to find a camp closer to Burney Falls. I hiked around the fish hatchery and along the shore of Baum Lake, which was filled with geese, white pelicans, ducks, and a few muskrats. I would have paused there longer, but the mosquitoes were relentless. I pushed on to the top of a ridge, a mile or two before Highway 299. After I set up my tent, I discovered there was a nest for a colony of acorn woodpeckers in the tree above. The chicks are continuously peeping, and the adults (about six of them) are yelling just like Woody Woodpecker. It's well past sundown and they haven't shut up yet.
Trying to get some sleep,
Martin "Lei Low"
Tales From The Crest
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org
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