September 3rd, 2018
HWY 44 mm 1377.5 to Warner Valley Campground/Drakesbad mm 1350
Distance: 27.5 miles
It was a hard day, even if the miles weren’t as big. My body was very tired from the previous big days, probably the most tired I’ve felt on trail this entire time.
Plus, I was dealing with a painful blister on my left Achilles. I had run out of duct tape so Flowers gave me some gorilla tape, which I put over the blister. Then I put leukotape over that…it is so sticky that it can rip sore skin off, hence the double layering. I also had to sacrifice my sleeping socks to serve as my hiking socks. I will use the spent darn tuff socks to sleep in until I can switch them out for new ones.
It was very cold in the morning, maybe even into the 40’s, and my hands were suffering while I walked. And then promptly at 10 am, it got really hot. What temperature extremes.
I hiked with Flowers again most of the day. We walked a ways through pine plantations and then through a long burn section in the National Park. I was none too impressed with the section of the park that the PCT passes through. It doesn’t go close to Mt Lassen or offer many views. Just mostly trees, many of which are burned.
We stopped at Lower Twin Lake for lunch, and I was very tempted to go for a swim. But the lake smelled bad to me…maybe it was the geese swimming around and pooping everywhere. We still filtered water from the lake, since it had been scarce all day, but I passed on the swim. Water that I’ll drink but won’t swim in, hmmm?
It was only 8 more miles from the lake to the campground, but the heat was once again quite draining. At least there were lots of streams along the way, one of which I even had to wade through. It felt good to get my feet wet. There was a day-hiking couple that were stuck at the stream because they didn’t want to get their boots soaked. They asked me what they were supposed to do? I demonstrated by walking through the water with my trail runners on. Or you can take off you boots and wade across, I told them. Really, it’s like people have never been outside in the woods before.
I got to the campground pretty early, set up, and decided to go check out Drakesbad Guest Ranch. I had read several blogs that declared it one of the best stops on the PCT, where they welcome hikers with a hug and free showers. They also serve meals at a discounted rate for thru-hikers.
I walked the half mile to the ranch, which turned out to be the most wasted walk ever. They no longer offer free showers (supposedly due to water restrictions) and no one on the staff even seemed to notice me. I perused through the meager offerings in the hiker box and then walked back to the campground, disappointed. Dorothy had dinner there, which a friend had pre-purchased for him. He said the food was good but the manager not the friendliest. Things changed, I guess.
We shared a campsite with a section hiker named Dangerous Spoon. He had hiked the PCT in 2014 but missed this part because of fires. I really hope I don’t have to come back to do any missed sections. I was in bed pretty early this night, catching up on lost sleep. My body needs recovery time from all the punishment I’ve put it through.