Day 94: Lassen Park

July 17, 2017: Hiked Miles 1328.8 to 1347.8 (19.0 total)

I slept in! Until 6:20! Colton said he was up at 5:00 because someone was mowing their lawn. Yea right. No one in this town wakes up before 7:00 besides the hikers.

Nothing opens until 7:00 in Chester so we took our time getting ready and packing up. We said goodbye to our cool church camping spot and walked down to Holiday Market to get some breakfast. I think we were the first customers, but thankfully they already had the donuts out. Unfortunately that’s about all they had for breakfast. So Colton bought us some maple bars and bananas and I ran across the street to the coffee shop to get us some bagels. Colton wanted a cheese bagel but all they had was everything or plain so I got us everything bagels. When I came back with the bagels he was disappointed that they didn’t have any cheese bagels, but once he tried the everything one, he was hooked. He said he’d never had one before. Who’s never had an everything bagel? They’re like the best thing ever because they have EVERYTHING good on them. This guy…

We ate breakfast and then walked down to the post office to pick up our box that Terry sent us. We opened it and were so excited with everything. 

Peanut m&m’s, jerky, gummy bears, bars, trail mix, potatoes, tuna, COFFEE, crackers, and so much more. Thank you so much Terry! This was such a blessing! 

We ran back down to Holiday to buy some cheese, salami, and tortillas and then hitchhiked back to the trailhead. We got picked up in less than a minute. All four times we hitched here, we have been picked up almost instantly. Everyone here is so nice.

The guy who picked us up was heading to Chico and said he gives hikers rides all the time so I wasn’t paying attention to where we were at on the highway until Colton told the guy we had missed the trailhead a few miles back. The guy was talking so much that Colton didn’t want to interrupt him. What a nice guy. The driver apologized, and turned around and took us back. He spent the whole drive telling us about all the places in the world he’s visited. We could barely get a word in. You meet the most interesting people on this trail. 

We thanked him and got right back on the trail. It was a beautiful day and the hiking was great. We had a steady climb to get back up in the mountains and when we got there the trees looked so green, the sky so blue, the air warm, and the breeze blowing. 

It was such a peaceful day for hiking. 

Until we came across this guy…

He looked pretty fresh, so we stayed on the lookout in case whatever had killed him was lurking around and was still hungry. 

But luckily we never found out who the killer was. 

Someone got creative with some pinecones. 

It’s supposed to be a heart, kinda hard to see in the shadow. 

We ran across four hikers we hadn’t met before who had done the whole trail so far. Which I find very hard to believe since they were stoned out of their minds and when I asked them where they were camping tonight, the leader said “I don’t even know where I am right now.” They were crazy, but pretty funny. The leader also decided Colton looked like Cyclops from X-Men because of his glasses, so Colton wants to rename his trail name to that. 

It’s amazing how many different type of people we meet out here. Old, young, people hiking 30 miles a day, people hiking less than 10 a day, loners, partiers. I think it’s amazing how this trail can draw such a diverse crowd and everyone can enjoy the same thing at the same time in so many different ways. If only more things in life were that simple. 

We left the crazies to their log they seemed to be stuck to and their Js as they called their joints and kept hiking. We got a good view of Lassen and all it’s buttes to it’s west.

Here’s how we find our trail when it crosses roads:

Just look for the little placard. 

We passed a truck that had went quite a ways down a pretty steep cliff. 

It looked like it had been there awhile luckily. 

The day just kept getting prettier and prettier. 

The sky started filling up with puffy, white clouds and the summer breeze would whip up right when it started to get warm. 

Whenever we pass nice flat spots, my first thought is always “that would be a nice campsite.” Like this one:

You’re always on the lookout for good campsites when you’re on the PCT. 

We passed the Feather River one last time where we filled up with water.

And then came across unexpected trail magic! 

The best! 

I found another elephant tree. 

And we passed by this pretty valley:

We took a late lunch around 2:45 since we didn’t start hiking until 10:30 this morning and I realized my knee braces were starting to look a little tattered. 

Just a little. 

We took a short lunch and had a great rest of the afternoon with our beautiful scenery. 

Some cool kind of plant:

And before we knew it, we were hiking into Lassen Park. I’ve been here so many times that it almost felt surreal to hike into it instead of drive. I really feel like I’m home now. 

We took a short sidetrail down to see Terminal Geyser, something I have never hiked to in all my visits to the park. 

Don’t be scared off by the warning:

Because the geyser is so cool!

The water is so hot it’s boiling. 

Everything smells like sulfur, and when the stream blows your way, it feels like you’re in a sauna. 

I really wanted to touch the water to see how hot it is, but you never know with these things, so I decided against risking burning my hands. Although it would have been nice to have preboiled water for dinner… that smelled like rotton eggs. 

The last few miles into camp passed quickly.

We passed by Drakesbad Guest Ranch, which is supposed to be an awesome place to stay with big meals, laundry, showers, and a pool, but also pretty pricey too.

So we skipped it and hiked up to Warner Valley Campground instead. 

There’s a pretty active bear in the park so a couple years ago, they started requiring overnight backpackers to carry bear canisters through the park. But we left ours at home after the Sierras since we didn’t want to carry them all this way just for one night. So if you don’t carry one you have to camp outside the park boundaries and hike through the park in one day or camp at one of the campgrounds in the park with bear boxes. We could have camped before the park boundary and hiked through the whole park tomorrow since it’s only 19 miles, but we didn’t want to have a short day today so we decided to stay at the campground. It costs $16, but we split a site with another couple who are hiking the trail so it’s still pretty cheap. 

Here’s our campsite:

It’s so weird to stay somewhere with more than just dirt and trees. 

We ate dinner with the other couple (Gummy and Glowworm) who we have seen a few times along the trail now. We found out that they met the day before they started the trail at a trail angel’s house they were staying at and started hiking together and hit it off and now they’re a couple. How cool is that!

There’s quite a few non-hikers in the campground who of course stay up later than 9:00 (hiker midnight), so hopefully it doesn’t get too loud tonight and we can get some sleep. Thank goodness for earplugs!

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2 thoughts on “Day 94: Lassen Park

  1. Hooray for Ultralight Earplugs! On the rare occasions that I stay at regular campgrounds it seems like there’s always at least one drunk camper with an obnoxious-sounding laugh staying up WAAAYYYY too late at their campfire, chopping wood and slamming car doors. Don’t these people know that nylon tents are not soundproof? Sigh. So much for the Peace of the Wilderness. I always want to visit their site at 5AM and pound some sense into their hungover skulls, but of course I never do that. I’m too nice. So they never learn. Bigger sigh…

    That cool plant with the white flowers is known as a California Corn Lily (google calls it a Veratrum californicum). It grows in high meadows and is also poisonous, btw.

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