Day 75-June 27th
Destination: Old Station
Cumulative Miles: 984 Miles
We woke this morning before the sun rose, and were treated to a beautiful display of the full moon descending over the mountains to our west. The sun had not yet risen, and it cast a beautiful orange pink glow on the horizon as we began our 15 mile descent down to Old Station. Breaking camp, we were moving before 6am to beat the heat of this dry stretch. It is a strange sensation bouncing between snowy cold mountains abundant with water, and hot dry stretches where you hope that someone has provided a water cache to lighten your water load.
Our descent took us along the Hat Creek Rim which continued to offer us excellent views to the west of Mt. Shasta, Sugarloaf Mountain, and Mt. Lassen (which we will be passing by in a few days time). The walk traversed terrain which was relatively flat, aside from the cliffside we flanked, but the tread was overrun with rocks providing great variations for our feet. Every step required thoughtful placement, lest we roll an ankle. This mental fatigue was annoying, but a welcome respite from the snow and fallen trees we have become accustomed to experiencing.
Before long, the trail entered into a burn zone. The blackened trees stood out in contrast to the snow covered Mt. Lassen to the south. The black-brown ashen soil was a welcome tread after the rocky terrain we had just come through. By 10am, we had covered 11 miles, and only had four more to go before we arrived in Old Station. Once we arrived at Old Station, we went to a store to grab some ice cream and treats, as the day was already very warm. We sat outside the small store enjoying our cool treats while talking to a small collective of Bikers who had traveled from Idaho down to Old Station on their way to Reno, for a 10 day Bike tour. It wasn't long after we told them that the temperature was supposed to climb to 100 degrees before the turned on the motors and moved along.
We finished our drinks and headed to Hiker Hideaway. The Heitman's, Old Station locals, have opened up their home to take in hikers and treat them with the gracious kindness of a well-practiced Trail Angel. Out back they have several tents, a tree house, a couple hammocks, and a refreshing creek to soak in (should you wish to brave the 40 degree water). Tonight we will barbecue some hamburgers and continue our "in town consumption" trend. We plan on rolling out early morning tomorrow, but the Heitman's hospitality might force us to linger longer.