Day 97 – 7/17/15
Far end of the Hat Creek Rim
Miles – 19.3
Total Miles – 1448.1 (PCT 1393.3)
It is hard to get up at 5:00 in the morning, but that is what we had to do so we could get to the trail sometime near 7:00. After a breakfast of yogurt and apple turnovers, Dave and Marji took us back to the trail. This is their third day in a row of going to Old Station because of us. A little more than an hour later, we were saying good bye to our friends. The Ravens are going to fondly remember our short trip to Redding with the Thomsens. We are glad our unexpected day to Reddings occurred. Thanks Dave and Marji!
After saying good bye, we hit the trail. Our first stop was Subway Cave. This is the last place to get water before the rim. We made sure all our bottles were full and Mama Raven and I took an extra 4L each. That adds about ten pounds to our pack weight. Mama Raven has always said it would be her worst nightmare to get locked into a pit toilet. With that in mind, there were two pit toilets at the picnic area where we got water. One of the doors had a sign that said handle broken, do not use. The other one had no toilet paper. Mama Raven peeked into the one with the broken handle to see if it had any paper, and it did. She went in to get paper for the other toilet. Well, the door shut behind her and she was locked inside of a pit toilet. Little Crow, Will, and I were across the parking lot, some distance away, and did not hear her pounding on the door or yelling for us to let her out. Pit toilets are pretty well sound proof we discovered. Mama Raven noticed a small vent at the bottom of a wall and yelled out as loud as she could, hoping we would hear her and we did. The Ravens had a good laugh over this one. After the pit toilet incident, we decided to take the time to walk through the lava tube. We have done this before and Will and Little Crow really wanted to walk through the underground tube again. It was really cold down there and pitch black. Our head lamps came in handy here. Finally after are sight seeing, we hefted our packs on our backs and hiked across the valley to the rim. The weight of extra water was very heavy and it slowed us down. On the way up, we saw two thru hikers coming the wrong direction. It was Gemstone and Fancy headed back to Old Station to pick up a pair of shoes they had ordered for overnight delivery. They told us that just an hour ago, Captain Crunch had left cache 22 and there was water there. That meant that we could dump our extra water. Cache 22 was about 15 miles away and it cut the dry section in half. So we lightened or load and hiked on. Our backs and legs were very relieved by the weight loss. The Hat Creek Rim had burnt several times in the past leaving the trail exposed. Most of the trees were gone. However, the area is covered with baby trees. In twenty to thirty years, future PCT hikers will enjoy a shaded Hat Creek Rim, unless it burns again. There is not a lot to say about Hat Creek Rim. You are just walking across an old lava flow for miles and miles. The views are beautiful! We could see Mt. Lassen to the south and Mt. Shasta to the north and large open vistas in all the other directions. We made it to cache 22 around dinner time. We had a quick bite to eat and got a few more miles in. The sunset was beautiful with orange clouds surrounding the sun and a big thunderstorm to the east. The big, billowy, clouds kept lightening up as the storm raged. We could hear the constant soft, rumble of the thunder in the distance. We camped under a big juniper tree in a larger open plain. It feels like we are in the Serengeti in Africa but instead of lions, giraffes, and elephants, we are surrounded by cows. Both Mama Raven and Will say this is their favorite camp site on the entire PCT.