Day 95 – 7/15/15
Near the Old Station PO
More – 23.2
Total Miles – 1425.2 (PCT 1370.9)
Of lately, we have been getting up late and today was the worst. We hiked out an hour later than normal. The first thing we had to do was to hike up 1000′ up over a ridge. Then we worked our way up and over to Lower Twin Lake. The are quite a few lakes in Lassen Park, but we only go by three; Swan, Lower Twin, and Soap Lakes. We took a break at Lower Twin Lake. It is the biggest of the three and is the one we get the closest to. All the lakes we saw were low water levels due to the four year drought. Lower Twin Lake was 50′ to 100′ below normal. We walked down to the water edge and soaked our feet. The water was not cold. It would have been nice to swim in it if we could have found a deep part. Upon leaving, the terrain was very easy to walk. For many miles the land was level. In 2012 the Reader fire burned most of this area. All around us were dead, charred trees. There were a lot of flowering plants but very few new trees. The trail we hiked on looked like an old road with two ruts. However, it was not made by cars, it was originally made by wagons. For miles we walked on the wagon path that settlers took to cross northern California. This part of the PCT was once part of the historic Oregon Trail. Finally in the last afternoon we hiked out of Lassen National Park and back into a mix of national forest and private land. As we headed down toward Old Station, we hiked through a penny pine plantation. It went on for over a mile, row upon row of pine trees, we past. The Reading fire also burned here, but very few trees were killed. The plantation had spaced the trees unnaturally, evenly apart and there was not a lot of understory. As the sun dropped below the ridge, we reached the bottom of the valley where Old Station is. This valley is covered with old lava fields and pine trees. Several times we climb up 100′ to 150′ ridges of lava. We are now camped just outside the south end of Old Station. Tomorrow we will head up to the store and one of us will hitch back to the PO, when it opens at 11:00, and return with our food box. We will sort out food, go over to the Subway Cave which is a natural landmark around here, and then continue our hike up to the dreaded Hat Creek Rim. The Hat Creek Rim is a 30 mile waterless stretch of land which is nearly level. We will be carrying a lot of extra water. The one thing in its favor is that it is suppose to by cool day. The normal 100° temperatures would make it much worse. There is very little shade on the rim because most of the trees have burned in numerous fires of the past.