Mile 1377.5 to mile 1402.5
We wake in the woods next to Old Station at seven a.m. Seven a.m.! My god, I needed that sleep. We get up slow, wander to the road. Our plan is to eat breakfast at JJ’s cafe, so we’re not in too much of a rush. Maybe we should be, because we’re hiking the Hat Creek Rim today, the 29 mile shadeless, waterless stretch just north of here. But nah, I’m relaxed. This is not my first time at the rodeo.
We’re walking the road to JJ’s when a car pulls off for us-
“There’s a hundred gallons at Cache 22,” says the driver. It’s Tred, the guy who stocks the cache on the Hat Creek Rim. I met him last year, when Spark and Instigate and I were siestaing at the cache. He’s from the bay but has a farm nearby.
Tred joins us for breakfast at the cafe. We sit outside in the sun. I drink decaf coffee, order a scramble that has pulled pork in it. Eat that and some of Twinkle’s leftover pancakes. Afterward I’m stuffed- time to hike in the heat!
It’s not so bad today, though. A high of 80 or so. Tomorrow it’s supposed to be ninety degrees. I’m glad we’re hiking the Hat Creek Rim today, although I miss our friends, who are behind. Notachance, Mack, Woody, Guthrie. I miss them! Hopefully they’ll catch up with us soon.
We get back to the trail at 9:45. Epically late, but what can you do. I pack three liters of water but on the climb up to the ridge I dump one of them out. My pack is heavy with 4.5 days worth of food for the 135 miles to Shasta, and it already hurts my shoulders. Two liters should be fine for the 16 miles to the cache. I’ll be a little thirsty, but whatever.
The rim is hot and bright and shadeless and offers a view of Mt. Lassen on one horizon, Mt. Shasta on the other. The trail is flat and sandy and would be cruiser except for the volcanic rocks sticking out of it every 1.5 feet, perfectly shaped to trip over. I’ve got full reception and plenty of sun for my solar charger so I stream pop music and party my way down the trail. It’s fun- I’m so sick of the music on my mp3 player. But I never have reception and solar power like this.
I reach Cache 22 at 4 p.m. I feel fried from the sun, drained, sunburnt even though I put on sunscreen. A half hour later Twinkle catches up. We eat snacks and agree to hike just five more miles. My stomach is upset from the heat so even that feels hard but an hour and a half later we find a nice spot on the ridge and I collapse, watch the sun sink like an egg yolk in the sky. I think about our friends- according to facebook the boys are watching a game in old station, notachance is night hiking behind us. What are we all doing here, I think in my sleeping bag as I watch the fading yellow light, in this year 2014, in this summer that will never be replicated. I don’t know. But you know what? What a beautiful place to be.
Photos on istagram.