Stover Spring(1332.3) to Lower Twin Lake(1354.1) 21.8 miles
I apologize for today's brief post. I somehow managed to delete yesterday's post and I'm having to write it all over again tonight. Before I tell you about my day I'd like to thank a few people for their recent donations. Weatherman sent me a very generous donation. Thanks, Chuck! I first met Weatherman on the AT. He was part of my very first trail family. Thanks to Kris and Ed Foster for my birthday card and gift cards. I can't wait to have some Starbucks and Subway the next time I'm in town. I also got a nice note and donation from Outro's parents. Finally Paul in CT came through for me big time. He sent me a box of the energy/crack cocaine sport jelly beans. They really help me to fly down the trail. I really appreciate all of my trail angels and your amazing trail magic!
Today was my third day in a row hitting a trail milestone. First I hit 1,300 miles, then it was the halfway point, today I began hiking in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Lassen is my fourth National Park of this hike. I have really been looking forward to it even though I don't know much about the area. I'm really hoping to learn more about the park as I hike. I have learned that volcanic areas mean a lot of fine sand and rocks. I love my new Altra Lone Peak 2.5 shoes, but man do they let in a lot of sand.
Immediately after leaving camp this morning I got a great view of Lassen Peak. It has been a long stretch since seeing a mountain with snow still on it. I think this is where the name Lassen Volcanic National Park gets its name from. In 1915 Mount Lassen erupted, creating the landscape that I'm walking through today.
I'm pretty excited about this section of trail. It is really dry, but the trail stays very flat. Some of the sections this morning reminded me of hiking in Florida. It was sandy, flat, hot, dry, and full of pine trees. Yup, exactly like Florida(minus the mountains in the distance). I had two primary goals this morning. First off I wanted to check out a spot called Terminal Geyser. It was located .3 miles off the trail, but it seemed like a worthwhile side trip. Terminal Geyser isn't actually a geyser. It is a geothermal steam vent and it was impressive.
I was surprised to find out that Canary and Droplet skipped this side trip. It seems like I was one of the few hikers to go and check it out. My second goal of the day was to make it to Drakesbad Guest Ranch in time for lunch. Drakesbad is a resort that is located on the trail. They allow hikers to hangout on the resort property. They also let us eat at a discounted price once the regular guests are done eating. If you buy a meal you are considered a guest and get access to the pool, laundry facilities, and showers. I made it there just as lunch was ending. I didn't have to wait very long before I was allowed to eat. Lunch was very good and we were allowed to eat until all of the food was gone. I had a salad, sandwhich, gumbo, rice, and cookies. The staff was very friendly and accommodating. The only problem that I had was with my resupply package. A squirrel had gotten into my box. I lost a few bars, m&m's, and crackers to the bastard. If it was the same squirrel that was running around outside by the picnic tables I don't think he will live long. He was so fat. I'm pretty sure he has to have diabetes too. He was only going after the sugary food. He didn't touch any of the salad that was on the ground.
I spent about four hours at Drakesbad. After lunch I did my laundry and took a shower. The shower was one of my best on the trail. The pool house showers were beautiful. They had expensive tile and fancy fixtures. Canary, Droplet, Lost and Found, Sonic Boom, and I lounged around in the shade by the pool. Once my laundry was done we decided it was probably time to hike out. We still had another seven miles to go for the day.
For some reason we decided to camp at a lake with an aggressive juvenile bear roaming around. Nobody was excited by the prospect of camping there, but with the water sources tomorrow and the mileage we need to hike it just worked out that way. We are hoping that there is safety in numbers.
Before going to bed we hung our food very far away. The good news was that according to the ranger the bear hadn't been seen for a few days. He usually shows up every night just before dark. Since he hadn't been there yet chances were good that we wouldn't have to deal with him. The deers in the area were a different story(to be continued tomorrow)
"Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.”
― Dalai Lama