I had about the best night sleep so far on the trail last night. I did not wake up once until 4:15 and slept in until 5:45 then finally got up and got going at 6:45. I had no bear visits, my food was still intact, life is good.
The trail continued in the burn area for quite some time. There was not much to look at, other than Mt Lassen in the background, sticking up above everything else and showing off its snow covered peak. We have been staring at it for a week, but now the trail is northeast of it and I am seeing a different side of it now.
Two other hikers that I ran across and myself encountered a fourth hiker. This guy was an oddball. You would say hello, and get zero response from this guy, not even a glance. One of the other hikers repeated his hello very loudly and the guy flipped him the bird. I saw him twice again that day and said hello and no response either time. I found out later that this guy is well known as being in a perpetual foul mood and was even verbally rude to trail angels. What makes a person so bitter like that? I saw him one last time (I hope the last time) and just glared at him the whole time I hiked last him, not saying a word. He glared back.
After about 9 am the trail turned to planted pines. This is the first time I have seen planted pines the entire trip. It was nice easy hiking and shaded well enough. It went down to a very nice river, so I stopped to eat lunch one and wash socks. I spent about forty five minutes there.
About an hour later through the planted pines, I came across some trail magic. It was a cooler full of water, beer, soda, and apples. A soda and an apple hit the spot. We were less than four miles from town, so I moved on, and this section of trail was out of the planted pines and I to a very low and very hot section. The soda was a welcome treat. The trail climbed towards the end and I could see town, and eventually the trail came out to the road and I started the half mile roadwalk to the restaurant. I got there right at 3:00.
I set my pack on the porch. There were already a dozen packs there and half a dozen hikers. I sat and cooled a while, then went in and sat at a table with some other hikers. One was from Germany and one from Maine. I ordered a grilled pastrami and it was fantastic. The pastrami was made from local grass fed beef and grilled with a hint of a smoke flavor. I would come back here to JJs just for the pastrami.
I chatted until 5:30 or so then made my way to the store next door. All I needed was tortillas and three one liter bottled drinks. We were about to hit a 30 mile hot and waterless section and I had gotten rid of extra bottles since I did not need them through the water rich Sierras. The store only had 20 ounce bottles, though, so I got two Gatorade and one coke. I would use the coke to keep awake so I could night hike tonight, the orange Gatorade for breakfast, and a lemon lime Gatorade for the heat tomorrow. I also bought a drumstick ice cream to eat on the roadwalk and chips and a cookie for dinner.
I finally left at 6:00. I still had one more stop. There is an underground lava tube called the subway just across the road that i wanted to hit. Besides being cool (literally) their trailhead had water and I still needed to fill my bladder with two more liters.
The subway was very cool indeed. I unknowingly went in the exit, so all the signs were backwards. Not even thirty feet in, it was so dark I needed the headlight. They did a good job explaining all the different formations and what you were actually looking at. The floor was rough and rocky lava. The in cave part was probably less than ten minutes, but it was worth it. I got my water filled and got back on the trail at 6:35. Now begins thirty miles of blah.
The climb out of town was not too bad. It was well graded, and took us to the top of the plateau that overlooked the hat creek valley. The sun was setting about the time I got to the official overlook, so the views were fantastic. I hiked along snapping pictures galore.
The trail turned rocky right after dark, so I had to use the headlamp right away. It was slow going, but I trudged all g until 10:30 when I had enough and looked for a campsite. It took a while, but I got a good one that had six inches of pine needles. I age a cold dinner and went straight to bed. No music, no blogging, just sleep. I took notes of the day and will blog it during my siesta tomorrow.