From three miles short of Hat Creek (Mile 1372) to Cache 22 on Hat Creek Rim (Mile 1397.8)
Total PCT Miles Hiked Today: 25.8
Total miles today: 27
Cool front still here; temps stay 75 and breeze is restless Pacific weather; cool; puffy clouds and high overcast broken by blue. What luck! This section today and tomorrow are famous for being roasting hot & dry. It's cool ...
We started the day with a quick jaunt over to a gas station in the town of Old Station. We had a little resupply to do and needed to get extra water bottles for a big 30-mile waterless stretch coming up later in the day. The place was kind of odd, but it is so nice to have a town meal available on trail. (Milkshakes!!!) They were playing 1970s football clips on a big screen tv , which made it difficult for Seano to concentrate on our planning. Sometimes he forgot to chew his sandwich. :-)
From there we pushed out into an interesting dry volcanic grassland. Vast stretches of jumbled lava field have replaced the lakes and long meadows of Lassen NP - basalt and pumice blocks clutter the Ground and stab at the tender bottoms o our feet. And the tread is covered with a fine red silt that scorches in the heat if the day.
We filled our last water before the long waterless 30 miles outside a 2000-year-old lava tube cave ("Subway Cave") formed by a river of lava. We hiked around inside the long tube underground. It was dark and cold and completely improbable.
The long anticipated roasting hot, waterless stretch was much easier, cooler and more enjoyable than we had anticipated. Thank the weather gods!We hiked along Hat Creek Rim, a high volcanic plateau overlooking a meandering river valley and the marching volcanic cones of the southern Cascades on the far side. All day we had great panoramic views of both Lassen and Shasta (the latter looks like Kilimanjaro in the distance -- its huge snowy mound and cap peaking up through clouds on the northwestern horizon out beyond mountain ridges).
We hiked 17 miles across the rim and finally camped at a small water cache on Rd 22 -- "Cache 22" -- set up on the north end by trail angels. An unanticipated pleasure. And for many thru-hikers, a life saver. Wow.
Noodles for supper sitting on plastic chairs (chairs!!) and then to bed.
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