Day 101: (21 miles)
mile 1261.86 – 1282
After a pleasant night on the shore of Twin Lake we pack up and hike on to Old Station with cold drinks in mind. Lately my stomachs been a little rumbly and I’m looking forward to drinking something fizzy besides E-mergen Cs. The trail is relatively flat and soft on the feet.
We walk through mostly burn area with little to no cover at first. We know its going to be hot and have plenty of water in order to stay properly hydrated. Soft turns to deep sand and powdery silt which seeps into our shoes depositing a thin layer of dirt on our feet as we walk. We know our feet and calves will require a rinsing before bed, and we will have to violently shake out our socks to reduce the amount of silt they have collected. We discover a spring not mentioned by Half mile or Yogi, but is signed on the trail as we enter Lassen National Forest. We walk through groves of trees that dirt roads crisscross separating the trees almost into city blocks. We take a side road with a wooden sign indicating water “this way”. We hope it leads to trail magic, but it does not, only to the river sooner than if we had continued on the PCT. Once at the river we take a break, hydrate, soak our feet and have some lunch. Old Station is only a few miles away. The PCT crosses several dirt roads and borders some campsites. We pass by some campers set up with their colorful tow behind trailer facing the PCT. They holler, ” you hiker trash?” as we pass within 50 feet of them. We acknowledge that we are. They say something inaudible to us, and we reply that we are headed to Old Station for cold drinks and continue on, as our “Spidey” senses were tingling. We strongly suspect they we engaged in an entrepreneurial enterprise, based on their location to the trail, design on their trailer, tye-dye attire and frankly their choice of beer. We make it to Old Station and it is hotter than a stack of black cats. Pedi and Hashtag are in front of the store trying to hitch to a cafe called JJ’s before it closes, with apparently no luck. We plop our stuff down at the picnic tables and go in for something cold to drink. This stop will be awhile as this is the only opportunity we have to recharge the phone and at least one other battery stick. This is okay as we have made good time and it is really much too hot to hike as it is…it’s in the high 90’s at minimum. Pedi and Hashtag give up trying to hitch and go inside the store for burgers. Several other hikers we’ve been leap frogging lately arrive, Fence and Pinwheel. Free-refill, a 26 year old German guy pedals up on a bike. He is staying at Old Station for a few days till his birthday and World Cup Soccer is over (and Germany wins). This is Free-refill’s second attempt to thru-hike the PCT. He tried seven years ago but got snowed out just 200 miles from the finish. I think I would have been good with that, but he said he started too late and took too many zeros which caused him to get caught in the snow towards the middle of October. Once our phone is sufficiently charged and we have completed necessary phone calls, and consumed enough cold food (to include over a quart of ice cream), as well as a cold shower (two SOBO girls at Drakesbad gave us the shower code), we headed off to Subway cave for our last resupply of water before the 35 mile waterless stretch of the Hat Creek Rim. We originally were going to water up and go another 2moremiles, but nixed the idea and decided to tour the cave and stealth camp nearby (water and a restroom).
While touring the cave we met the Graves family who talked to us about our travels. They showered us with Pepsi’s and some chips before they continued on their way.
The cave is an expired lava tube that actually resembles a subway. It was literally and figuratively pretty cool, so much so, we considered camping in it until we decided it would be too spooky. We met several other thru-hikers also stealth camped (essentially illegally camped, but hidden) who were going to get going around 330 in the morning to beat the heat. I think 530 is just right, and Paul agreed. As the night is getting muggy and clouds are gathering, it appears a thundershower may be in order tonight, so even though it’s hot, the rain fly goes on…turns out it was a good idea. We go to sleep hoping the caches we’ve been told about are stocked.