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City: Rancho Palos Verdes
Begins: May 9, 2009
Date: Sun, Jul 26th, 2009
Start: Hwy 44 Traihead on Hat Creek Rim
End: Baum Lake
Daily Distance: 28
Trip Distance: 1,413.0
Entry Visits: 653
Journal Visits: 132,531
Guestbook Views: 13,620
Guestbook Entrys: 182
Day 79 - 1400 in the Bank
I enjoyed my five star campsite with the water cache just down the trail and clean, new toilets just up the trail by the parking area for tourists who come to see the view. I was up and going about my usual time. The trail went along the edge of the Hat Creek Rim which is a 20 mile long ridge created by volcanic action that pushed the land to the east upwards to create a large plateau with a very steep, almost vertical ridge to the valley nearly 1000 ft below. To the west the view was this large, green valley and mountains beyond it, also volcanic by the looks of them. To the south was the receding Mt Lassen and to the north inching ever closer was Mt Shasta. Lassen was very clear but Shasta was a little hazy, probably because it is still a long way off. It surely will dominate the sky line for the next few weeks. I essentially had this spectacular view throughout the morning until mid-afternoon.
Although the trail gradient was essentially flat I could not come close to the pace I set yesterday. The difference today was the tread, which was nowhere near as smooth and easy. I was essentially walking on or around lava rock the whole day. It was not easy because every step I had to be sure there wasn't a protruding piece of lava rock covered in dust. I missed a lot and was caught stumbling many times. It takes a lot of energy to recover from a stumble and so it was quite a tiring day overall.
My water strategy worked just fine. I topped off the water I carried from Old Station to have four liters overall for the morning. I still had a lot left when I got to the Highway 22 cache which was fully stocked as the reports said. The cache was a little oasis providing not only water but camp chairs and shade from the hot sun. I had lunch there and topped off again. I did use quite a bit more water in the afternoon because of the heat but I still had a little left when I reached the creek in the evening.
Four miles before the creek I met a section hiker who was wise enough to be resting through the heat of the afternoon. We chatted for a while and then I noticed he had the same boots as I did. I was wondering whose identical footprints as my waffle pattern I had been seeing for most of the day. It was like I was following my own footprints.
As I got close to the creek I could see a lake and hear some machinery. Then I came upon a large pipe in which water was flowing. It had several leaks that looked like sprinkler heads gushing. Past the creek I came upon an old building from which the noise was emitting. It was a small hydro-electric station owned by Pacific Gas & Electric. I presume the pipe came from a reservoir up the hill so there was enough pressure difference to operate efficiently.
The trail went over a bridge right next to the powerhouse outflow and then past a large fish hatchery. It then ran up beside Baum Lake and the whole area was described on the signs as "sensitive" and it was clear they were trying to preserve the wildlife habitat. So instead of finding an immediate campsite just as I got water as I had intended, I had to walk another couple of miles until I was beyond the end of the lake. Then I found a nice area by a grove of trees and that was enough for the day.
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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