Sunday, August 7, 2016

Day 95- 1,400 Miles, Sore Feet, And A New Record

Aug 05, 2016
Lost Creek(1383) to Burney Falls PCT Camp(1416) 33 Miles
Total up/down: +1251/-3082 feet

When I woke up this morning I definitely didn't plan on hiking thirty three miles. I didn't really have a plan at all. Once again I overslept. I have been doing this a lot lately. I guess the late nights and long hiking days are catching up to me. I didn't get on the trail until almost seven o'clock. I was concerned that it might rain today. The sky was really cloudy, but as I began to hike the clouds began to break up. They looked like cotton floating lazily across the blue sky. It made for some awesome pictures. 
Hat Creek Rim
One of my favorite desert flowers
Edge of the rim

The only way I know how to describe Hat Creek Rim is that it was like walking on the rim of the Grand Canyon. The edge of the rim was a sheer drop off down into the valley. I spent the first half of the day walking close to the edge. There was evidence of a volcanic eruption everywhere. It was in the rocks, the fine sand, the desolation, and the lava fields. I was amazed by the shear scope of it all. The chilly morning air quickly turned into a hot oven. After leaving camp it was a 21.6 mile dry stretch. Actually, there was water, but it was only available from cow ponds. I choose to skip those and carry enough water for 22 miles. One of the cow ponds that I passed was made famous by the book/movie Wild. It was the cow pond where the two creepy guys approached Cheryl Strayed. Eight miles into my hike I crossed forest road 22. There used to be a maintained water cache at this road, but we were told not to count on it. I was pleasantly surprised to see that someone is once again maintaining it. Because it is at FR 22, they call it cache 22. I thought that was pretty whitty. I didn't really need any water, but it was a good place to take a break.  
Infamous cow pond 
Cache 22
Tons of water

Just before descending from Hat Creek Rim I could see a large field of lava that stretched throughout the entire valley. I had never seen anything like it before. 
Lava field 

Walking on lava rocks really took its toll on my poor feet. Unfortunately, for my feet, I was walking on lava rocks most of the day. Around midday Lost and Found caught up to me. We hiked together for a few miles. He is a really fast hiker and I appreciated him slowing down to my pace and keeping me company. Eventually he picked up the pace and we made plans to meet for lunch at the 1,400 mile mark. I only had two miles to go before reaching it so I kept up a brisk pace. I didn't want him to have to wait too long for me. He was planning on going into town and I understand that on town days you just want to hurry up and get there. 
1,400 miles down

It occurred to me today that I'm now closer to Canada than I am to Mexico. That is a comforting thought and I'm not sure why it didn't occur to me when I hit the halfway point. Sometimes I can be so dense. After lunch I said goodbye to Lost and Found. I'm not going into town. I sent a resupply box to a camp store just off of the trail at Burney Falls State Park. 

After hiking a few more miles I came to a natural water source in the form of an ice cold creek. I took another long break. The fine sand in this area is really doing a number on my feet. I haven't had a single problem with blisters this entire trip and I don't want to start now. I could feel a few hot spots so as I drank some ice cold water as I taped up my feet. It was at this point that I decided to push for a really high mileage day. Burney Falls had a campground just for PCT hikers. It has picnic tables, water, and trash cans. Sounds like heaven to me. The only problem was that it was still eleven miles away and I was beat. I did something that I never do, I took a few ibuprofen. I always take one ibuprofen 800 before bed and one in the morning when I wake up. It helps keep the inflammation in my knees manageable. Once the ibuprofen kicked in I felt fantastic. I crushed the first five miles and felt great. 
Crystal Lake

With only six miles to go I ran out of steam. I was walking in a daze. I probably resembled a zombie. I looked up at a dirt road crossing and I couldn't believe my eyes. There was trail magic!!! I feel like I hardly ever see or get trail magic. I always seem to just miss it. There was a picnic table with umbrellas, big jugs of ice cold tea and water, a cooler full of soda, some snacks, and a big trash can. I thought maybe I had died and gone to heaven. 
Wild Bird Cache
This is the sign that helped me to realize that I'm closer to Canada than I am to Mexico. 

I guzzled down a Mountain Dew and packed out a little iced tea to have with dinner. Thanks Randy, Kathy, and Bandit for your generosity. I wouldn't have made it to Burney Falls without your generosity. A note on the trail register asked hikers to sign their name and to leave a joke. I was rather pleased by my joke. What do you call a group of Stormtroopers playing Monopoly? A Game of Clones. 

I finished out my hiking day just before eight o'clock. The camp was great. I was able to sit at a picnic table and cook my dinner. Anytime I don't have to sit on the ground is a great day for me. 

"Our own worst enemy cannot harm us as much as our unwise thoughts. No one can help us as much as our own compassionate thoughts.” 


  1. Beautiful scenery. I'm glad you found the water "22" like the name. Trail magic, too. Very generous of people to do that for you hikers. They know what you go through. The cloud pictures are so magical, I love them. If I hiked that many miles, you can bet I would have taken an 800. Take it easy on those knees and feet. LY

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  3. Yet another high mileage day. You are really kickin'. Thanks as ever for the beautiful pics and the great narrative. I'm with you on not wanting better living through chemicals; that said, having come this far, if an 800 keeps you going without the requisite pain attached to 30+ miles of sand and lava rocks, I say ibuprofen on. Be safe and well, Far Walker.

  4. What an incredible day. The photo of desert flower is from/within harsh conditions. All the pics are amazing. Thanks so much for sharing.
    Chris Cashville

  5. Your good humor is showing today with the "Cache 22" and the "Game of Clones." Humor from the past and present. I, too, loved the cloud formations. Congrats on finding the trail magic and doing the 33 miles! You are awesome!

  6. Ditto on those clouds and the Ibuprofen!! I am SO impressed - 33 miles!!!! Hope you aren't overdoing it!!

  7. Congrats on your record setting mileage! I think you have put more miles on your feet this summer than I have on my car.
    As always, your pics are amazing, and your writing either has me holding my breath or laughing.
    You frequently mention your alarm...I don't remember that from the AT hike?
    Thankfully trail Angels seem to appear when you need them...I guess they are aptly named.
    Stay safe, and healthy, and hike on!
    Message for Jeannette :
    Thanks for asking...."Jokes" is doing well, and does wish he was on a long distance hike , but real life got in the way this year.....maybe next year. He lives in the White Mountains of NH , so he frequently hikes those trails.
    Myself.....well I just lounge around the pool, and read about the accomplishments of others:)
    Take care,
    Kathy in NH

  8. Love love love the clouds on Hat Creek Rim! Also Cache 22, heh.

  9. Key board issues here, aweso*e job today :)

  10. Beautiful pictures today. Love the clouds.

  11. Life got in the way last summer and I didn't get to stay on top of the blog daily so it was hit or miss. I decided this week to binge read and have been enjoying it so much. Your days just amaze me. Photos are always great. Today's photos are supreme with the layers of the terrain and the far distance and then the clouds. Thanks for having such great descriptions. As I travel with you virtually I also keep my Yogi book next to me for notes as you mention cool things.