Destination: Feather River
Cumulative Miles: 1018.5
Rising and moving fast, we were met with the expected snow. Our progress was slowed, but the trail was easily followed, as the snow was only patchy. We made our descent down to the Kings Creek crossing, which we had heard to be difficult. We sized up the creek, and found it to be fordable. Psycho crossed first and put his pack down on the other side, braving the cold water to offer a helping hand to Apricots.
As the water turned out to be nearly waist deep, as opposed to what we expected to be shin deep, Apricots had become a little anxious when she stepped into the deeper faster portion of the crossing. As Psycho stepped back into the stream to help out, he nearly lost his footing, but Apricots was able to keep him from falling in. Once his footing was regained, he helped Apricots finish the crossing.
On the other side we thawed out our frozen legs and toes, and made the final two mile walk to Drakesbad Guest Ranch, a place purported to be very hiker friendly. It was. Upon arriving, employees dropped whatever it was they were doing to help us out. The proprietor greeted us with a hug, and offered us showers, and laundry service if we needed it. All this kindness, and we were not even paying guests.
We ate a large buffet style lunch after taking a shower down by the hot spring fed pool. Psycho ate a salad, two servings of fruit salad, two enormous sandwiches, and five cookies. This may seem like a lot of food (and it is), but this type of gorging is typical in trail stops. Despite the quantity of food consumed on a regular basis, Psycho still has lost 20lbs so far, and Apricots has lost 10lbs (much to Apricots' chagrin, "Men Suck.")
After leaving Drakesbad, we were treated to one of Mother Nature's festering wounds. A milky blue sulfuric lake with bubbling gurgling mud and water gave us a more complete experience of the volcanic nature of Mt. Lassen National Park. As we walked by, we could here the earth churning just a little bit away from the trail.
Eight miles later, we arrived at Feather River, where we enjoyed our dinner with "Old Scout", before the mosquitoes overwhelmed us, and forced an early retreat into our tent. Tomorrow, we will roll in to Chester for a quick resupply, and then start our next leg to Belden, another short leg with stretches of difficult snow.
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