July 28, 2017
Day 85: Mile 1297.8 to Mile 1318.2
I wanted to get to the halfway point before the end of the day, but also wanted to get there with plenty of day light for photos, so Ranger and I decided to wait for the following day to reach the halfway point.
We did cross the 1300 mile marker. Mile markers are always an exciting feeling of accomplishment.
It was a really hot day… actually, a really hot week. The water was scarce and when there was water, it wasn’t of the best quality.
As I was walking through a rather open brown grassy field, I saw something running really fast. At first I thought it was a tiger. Well, obviously that was unrealistic, because I’m pretty sure there aren’t tigers in North America. So then I was sure it was a mountain lion. I turned around and noticed my friend Sam approaching me and I asked him if that was a mountain lion and he looked at me, with the familiar look I often get with my blonde comments, and but said “it was a bear” in a tone that shouted it was obvious that it was a bear. Oh man.
Although we didn’t make it to the halfway point, we did make it to a pretty awesome campsite to watch a beautiful sunset.
Several deer stalked us throughout the evening. I would start to fall asleep and they would wake me up again. Ranger told me if I got scared to wake him up, so occasionally I would call out his name and tell him that they were back, hoping that it still was only the deer and not a bear. I am not sure what I expected Ranger to do about it though!
July 29, 2017
Day 86: Mile 1318.2 to Mile 1325 (Halfway to Canada!) to Mile 1347.8 (Drakesbad Guest Ranch)
Miles: 29.5 + 0.6 side trail to Terminal Geyser
I was pretty eager to get to the halfway point.
When I reached it, I thought to myself, “I’ve officially walked halfway from Mexico and halfway to Canada”.
I tell you what, It had been a heck of a trek. I’ll never forget the struggle, the laughs, the breakdowns, the views, the snow, the rocks, the passes I had walked over, the rivers I had crossed, the scars I had earned, the alpine lakes I had swam in, the friends that I made, and the person this trail had been shaping me into.
“Here’s to 1325 more ya’ll”! I thought.
After a rather boring day and a half, while walking through the remains of a past forest fire, I caught a glimpse of Mount Lassen, which was a bit hazy from a distant forest fire.
Ranger and I decided that we would try to make it to Drakesbad Guest Ranch, hopefully before they stopped serving dinner.
Shortly after I crossed into Lassen Volcanic National Park, I ran into a few day hikers who were very excited that I was thru-hiking the PCT and wanted their picture with me. That really made me feel good and motivated me to keep up my pace, on this hot hot day. Shortly after running into those awesome ladies, i came across very unexpected trail magic!
The Baden Powell Service Association is a traditional based scouting association for any individual, no matter the race, color, sexual orientation, or age. The association is outdoor focused and participates in service to the community.
They have patches which are earned similarly to Girl and Boy Scouts and they had a PCT patch for providing trail magic to PCT hikers, which was really pretty awesome.
Although running short on time, we took a short side trail to Terminal Geyser.
It was a pretty awesome side trail and I really recommend taking it, if you’re in the area.
We made it to Drakesbad Guest Ranch with only a few moments to spare. It was such an amazing experience. They were so Hiker friendly there.
The food was really good and they gave us plenty of it. First, they brought out a wedge salad with bacon, blue cheese and ranch dressing, with a loaf of wonderful white bread and tons of butter. Next, we had chicken with a creamy sauce, green beans and potatoes with a ginormous stuffed pepper. After that, chocolate cheesecake. All of this for a PCT Hiker price! The waiter even asked if we had enough to eat! There was a pool that is heated naturally by the hot springs, which was free to use for PCT hikers, including a glorious hot shower…. free, not on a timer, shampoo and soap in the shower and clean towels!! What more could a Dirty Hiker gal ask for?
After filling our bellies and getting nice and clean, we headed to the campground. On our way to the campground, a truck was driving by and Kathy asked if we wanted a ride. Not only did they give us a ride, they offered space at their camp site, let us sit in their comfy chairs by their campfire and offered us any food and/or drinks we wanted. We sat by the fire and enjoyed each other’s company, until the exhaustion from a high mileage day and a very satisfied belly, caught up with me. My eyes grew heavy and I excused myself to my wonderful comfortable trail home.
Drakesbad Guest Ranch was just what I needed. This section has been quite daunting, so my time there, was a wonderful recharge for my mind and body.
July 30, 2017
Day 87: Mile 1347.2 to Mile 1370.9 (Old Station)
I woke up more refreshed than I had been in quite some time. Kathy and I made our way over to the hot spring headed swimming pool, we soaked in the pool, had deep conversations and enjoyed the sun making its way into the morning sky. I took one last shower, said goodbye to Kathy and made my way over to the cafe for breakfast.
Breakfast was equally as delicious as dinner was. A warm omelette and breakfast buffet was a wonderful way to start the morning. Although I could have stayed for another day or two, I headed back out on the trail for another hot sunny day. While walking through the barren volcanic lands, I searched for an upcoming lake that I would be able to jump into to cool off.
I came to Lower Twin Lake and knew this was the one. It was not the prettiest lake I had jumped into on the pct, but it was my favorite. The reasoning behind this, was because it was the perfect temperature, not terribly cold that I couldn’t enjoy myself, but cold enough to cool me off. It was also about hip deep on me, so I could sit down and relax without treading water to stay afloat. I spent just enough time in the water to get the motivation I needed to get through the remainder of the day.
Ranger caught up with me and we made it to Old Station by the end of the day, and more importantly, before the small convenience store closed.
We rented a small, adorable cabin, which had a leaky sink. Leaky, is an understatement. I don’t think the kitchen sink was connected to any pipe, so whatever went down the drain, came out underneath the sink. I hand washed my clothes, took a shower and was able to get a decent night sleep.