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City: Rancho Palos Verdes
Begins: May 9, 2009
Date: Fri, Jul 24th, 2009
Start: North Fork Feather River
End: Summit Lake
Daily Distance: 11
Trip Distance: 1,356.0
Entry Visits: 763
Journal Visits: 132,530
Guestbook Views: 13,620
Guestbook Entrys: 182
The temperature cooled off last night from the previous week of relatively warm nights. It was actually quite cold when I got hiking just before 7:00 am and I was actually looking forward to a hill to warm up, especially my hands that were almost numb. I wasn't in a real hurry this morning because ten miles away was the Drakesbad guest ranch and I was thinking I could get a shower, have a dip in the hot spring pool, do laundry and have an all you can eat lunch buffet. The word is they are very hiker friendly and only charge us children's rates for the meal (there has to be a hidden message there somewhere). Anyway that sounded a good plan and although it meant I would likely miss the Saturday PO hours in Old Station for my resupply, I really didn't need it because I am ahead of plan and have enough food for the two days to Burney Falls. All I would miss if I bounced that supply box forward was a guide book section but that comes in the nice to have category, not essential.
So I set out with that in mind. The trail had a few ups and downs but they were relatively short. It was almost all in the forest although I got one quick glimpse of Mt Lassen that is now really close. I also went into the Lassen Volcanic National Park. I then came across Boiling Springs Lake which is a big sulphur pond with steam coming out around the edges and mud pools bubbling. There were warning signs to stay on established trails or risk severe burns.
I then reached Drakesbad Guest Ranch and was immediately met by Ed who manages the resort with his wife Billie. He was the epitome of a perfect host. He pointed out the showers and hot spring pool, provided a towel along with loaner clothes and a laundry sack, and told another hiker and I about lunch. I took advantage of all the facilities including the free laundry that is done for us by the guest ranch staff. By lunch there were three of us and it was an excellent buffet - so good we were able to fill our plates multiple times. Ed even suggested the best beer - a Pilsner Urquell - and it was so good that myself and another Brit had a second. I then got asked if I was staying for dinner. My initial reaction was no because I needed to press on but as soon as he said it was rack of lamb and salmon I thought about it hard and since I was ahead of schedule I decided it was too good to miss. As it turned out that decision only cost me about four hours as I had to wait a while for the laundry to finish.
I sat around and just relaxed for the afternoon while my phone was charging. The Brit I referred to left after lunch and another hike, trail name Old Ridge Runner, arrived late afternoon. So there were three of us for dinner and I must say the lamb lived up to its billing. It was delicious as was the rest of the meal.
After dinner Old Ridge Runner and I set off to get a few miles in before dark. The trail started off pretty steep which seems to be a common occurrence after relaxation stops like today. My intent was to hike until 8:30 pm and then grab the first available campsite. I passed on a few nice ones at Corral Meadow because there was a wide creek that needed fording and I didn't fancy having to do that first thing in the morning. I also didn't want wet boots so I went exploring both upstream and downstream. I found a tree across the creek but it was narrow and a little high above the water for my liking. Further downstream there was a lot of dead tree debris piled up and I found a way across there while preserving dry feet. Then I hiked to a small saddle and found enough of a flat spot for the night.
Overall a very pleasant day although it didn't do too much for my goal of getting the average daily mileage increased. Oh well, there is always tomorrow.
Mad Dogs & Englishmen
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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