Thursday, July 12, 2012

Day 82-Lassen in the Evening

Drakesbad Guest Ranch at mile 1354 to mile 1376
It was a slow start morning.  FastLayne still wasn't feeling well and had decided to make his way back to Chester by way of hitching.  Portrait unloaded some gear to have an even lighter pack.  A few dayhikers arrived at the picnic and parking area where we had slept.  One hiker warned us about the snow just a few miles up the trail.  He said it was enough snow that the trail was probably closed.  We thanked him, but it was hard to keep a straight face.  FastLayne walked to where the trail left the road and went back into the woods and with a wave he was gone. 
Once he was gone, I realized how long it had been since I hiked with only one other person and it felt a little strange. 
I hadn't had breakfast, so just two miles in my stomach demanded payment, so we stopped.  I quickly ate a Clif bar (the bugs were not bad, but annoying).  The trail continued up for another one mile, and there wasn't even a hint of snow.
There wasn't any snow the whole day for that matter.  I'm not sure the last time the trail past even the smallest snow patch, but it's been awhile.  We've been hearing rumors drifting back to us from OR of impassible snow.  The hope is that given a few more weeks the snow that stopped some speed record attempts will have melted.
There wasn't any snow, but there also wasn't that much water.  We had to carry water from lunch to dinner.  We ate dinner on the banks of a river.  The plan was to eat and then hike a few more miles.  The mileage was awkward:  we wanted to be closer to the beginning of the Hat Creek Rim section which is a 33 mile stretch of trail with no water and no shade.  We were too far away from the start to get an early morning start on the section.  It seemed likely we'd hit it mid-day.
After dinner we walked a few more miles.  We passed Caveman already in his tent.  We climbed up a small hill and there was Lassen cold and gray.  The gold sun had just left the flanks of the mountain, but its hard granite was still beautiful in the soft early evening light.
Camp was under a pine tree with a soft bed of pine needles and Lassen peeking through some other pine trees. 

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