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PCT 2015 Day 85: Lazy Miles on Hat Creek Rim

  • Start: 1,374.5
  • End: 1,386.6
  • Miles: 12.1
  • Camp: Lost Creek

The timings of various things today encouraged laziness. Breakfast at JJs was first, and we met Motown, Molly Molly, Daytripper and Armstrong having the same idea. We didn’t rush, as the post office didn’t open until 11am, and there wasn’t much to do until we could dispatch our bounce buckets.

We caught a ride three miles up the road, sorted our buckets and mailed them out to Ashland. We also bounced some spare food to Mount Shasta, and picked up my replacement Darn Tough socks. I’d forgotten all about the socks, thinking all my packages were at the Fill-Up, but luckily the post office attendant remembered my name from one of the packages awaiting collection! 

We also knew we were leaving town to hike the notorious Hat Creek Rim, renowned for being hot and dry. We decided to leave late and avoid the worst of the midday heat. At 3pm we packed up and headed up on to the rim. We took enough water to get us to Lost Creek where we figured we would suck it up and walk the 0.3 mile side trail that went 500ft down the ridge to the water. However we soon met Little Foot and Happy Feet who told us that “cache 22” only 9 miles further on, was fully stocked and we could skip the tough Lost Creek if we had enough water. We didn’t. Bummer.

However we did get our first glimpse of Mt Shasta, looking imposing all by itself in the distance. The trailhead early on the rim had binoculars which we could use to get a better look, as well as a labelled panorama etching which went all the way from Lassen Peak and Chaos Crags on the left to Mount Shasta on the right.

When we got to the trail junction for Lost Creek, I volunteered to go and fetch water in return for Chug watching the contents of my pack which I left at the top of the steep trail, and making a start on setting up camp. The trail wasn’t as bad as people had made out. Yes it was steep but it was only sketchy in a couple of places. What I did was definitely the ideal approach, taking an empty pack to carry the water bottles and using trekking poles to help with footing. Carrying several heavy bottles in one hand with one trekking pole wouldn’t be great so if you couldn’t leave the contents of your pack on the ridge, I’d definitely advise taking the whole thing. It really wasn’t so bad. I find that a lot out here; people hype things way beyond their actual level of intimidation. 

Chickadee and Stonefly were already set up so we had company in camp, and Burgundy and Giggles all passed by on their way further up the trail. We traded Burgundy and Giggles some of our cold water for theirs which had warmed up during the day, and made their evening. Cold water is going to be a valuable commodity in the coming days, I think, but I knew that on the windy ridge the water would cool down overnight. It should be a nice temperature for sleeping at least, and we will get an early start tomorrow to beat the heat.

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