Pacific Crest Trail – Day 63 (37 miles)
I woke up at 6.30am. After I packed my gear and locked the cabin, I went next door to see Matt and get a lift to the trail. It was nice of him to get up early during his holiday to give me a lift.
I was on the trail just after 7.30.
There was a short climb to get out of the valley. About halfway up I needed to go to the toilet, with no options around me I held on and hoped I would get to the top of the climb. I did not and ended up going in plain view of the trail. Luckily no one came by.
I then started walking through dense trees cover. It also marked the start of the flattest section of trail on the whole PCT. In the next 75 miles, I had one short climb and the rest were a very slow descent from 5000ft to 2000ft. This is the highway of hiking.
The trees slowly disappeared as I approached the valley of Hat Creek. It is a very interesting place, dominated by the remains of ancient lava flows. What remains has formed a fairly unique landscape of exposed volcanic basalt and numerous lava tunnels.
I took a 1 mile detour to visit the biggest one of these cave systems, known as Subway Cave. It was a fantastic quarter mile underground. I was a little disappointed that my light was not powerful enough to see all its spender at once.
Back on trail I started up the only other climb. At the top, I reached Hat Creek Rim. It is a dry, desolate place, with a potential 30 mile dry section. It does have wonderful views of Mt Lassen behind me and Mt Shasta in front.
I continued walking. Although the rim is extremely flat it is not particularly easy walking. The small volcanic rock sticking out of the ground seems to blend into its surrounds and I kept catching my back leg or stubbing my toes.
Due to such a wet year, an unreliable spring is running 10 miles into the dry stretch. I get to the trail junction and start the walk down. It is steep and at over half a mile return I question if it is worth the effort.
When I finally arrived at the top and back on the trail, I got to see a spectacular sunset. I abandoned my idea of pushing on another couple of miles, set out my sleeping gear and went to bed.