Progressive Patterns

PCT: Dunsmuir to Old Station ̶̶ April 22, 2018

Day 1

Hi 70. 13 miles to 1482.

My daughter Tiffany dropped me off at 2p where I-5 crosses the PCT. I headed east towards Burney Falls, which is southbound on the trail towards Mexico.

Tiffany wanted to go, but had to work that week. :( However, starting a new hike is always an exciting feeling. Nothing like getting away from it all for a little while!

There are some big trees in Northern California that have many years of history in them. This one has been around longer than America! Apparently someone took the time to count these rings. I assume they were accurate.

Now and then Shasta peeked through as the trail ascended through dense forest.

I had previously walked this section so I wanted to explore a parallel road for a couple of miles. I'm glad I did because it opened up at a landing with a big view of the big mountain.

As you know from previous posts I find bridges, and their unique engineering and architectural solutions, fascinating. This is Squaw Valley Creek where I camped.

It was a pretty quiet day—hardly any birds, only a few squirrels and a grouse.

Day 2

Monday. Lo 50. Hi 80. 17.5 miles to 1464.5.

Before I left camp I met 3 Canadians going north bound. They had skipped the Sierra on the way to Ashland then they were planning to go back south to cross the Sierra with less snow. This is called flip-flopping in "professional" hiker-speak.

A rather odd picture, don't you think?

I am including just one of these to make a point. We long distance hikers pride ourselves on "Leave No Trace," but how about "Leave It Better"? At least 6 NOBO's clambered down the side of a steep ridge then back up so they could go around this obstacle. I rolled it down the hill with the tug of one hand. A little effort and one of them could have made the trail better for hundreds of others coming later. I don't clear everything, but if I can help avoid making a side route then I do. Also, every so often I will push an out of place rock, stick, or pine cone out of the way to save someone a rolled ankle. I don't kick. I push with the back of my foot so I don't stub my toe! I encourage all of us hiking early in the season to clear just one item every couple of miles and that will help the trail crews and hikers later in the season.

Rhonda, don't worry. I never got within 5 feet of this small rattler and he could hardly strike because he had to wrap around a twig for support.

I didn't take many pictures this day because it was mostly in the trees without views. However, my journal says I "hiked at the pace of happy!"

Day 3

Tuesday. Lo 45. Hi 70. 22.5 miles to 1442.

This day proved to be an unexpectedly grueling day as I encountered way more snow than the charts led me to believe.

South side of Grizzly Peak. Warm. Sunny. No snow.

However, bend around to the north side of a hairpin turn and steep, slick piles were still present.

The next 10 miles traversing the north side of a ridge was an exercise in postholing up to my knees. The key word here is "exercise."

Just before dark I came down out of the snow (or so I thought) and set up my tent. Everything dried nicely overnight and in the early morning sun.

Day 4

Wednesday. Lo 50. Hi 75. 20 miles to 1422.

Although I was now headed south and down to Burney Falls, the ridge undulated and thereby made many north facing hills. Each one was buried in snow from 6 inches to 36 inches. Not until late afternoon was I finally out of all the snow and dried my shoes and socks from squishy to damp.

A grand avenue of soft, comfy pine needles at least half a mile long!

Washed out picture of the incredible Rock Creek valley—a little sanctuary of living green

Sleeping for the night in a meadow shortly after Rock Creek

Day 5

Thursday. Lo 50. Hi 85. 18 miles to 1404.

Bought and ate a second breakfast at the little Burney Falls store and kept moving SE towards Hat Creek Rim where the trail makes its final bend south.

Mexico is still farther than Canada, but I'm making progress

Baum Lake

I had to stop for 2.5 hours at the end of a cell signal zone to join a conference call so that kept me from reaching my intended camp site before dark (I hate night hiking). So I set up in the trail above Crystal and Baum Lakes in the midst of a perfect spring evening.

The sun is setting behind the green hills, but paints the drifting cotton ball sky into hues of orange and red and peace. I know peace is not a color, but it infuses the canvas of the atmosphere, intensifying the colors and deepeningthe experience. The ducks and geese feel it and call their children in from play to bed down for the night. The bushes feel it as they add their blossom fragrance to the gently stirring evening air. The whole scene is a living picture taken from the Eden chapter of Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories.

Now the sun is down and only the nearly full moon pierces the twilight. The ducks are quieting down as the crickets warm up for their turn in the evening concert. The now still air gently lays us all to rest.

One day, my friends, every evening will end in joy without darkness. They will blend into mornings that will rise with the vigor of energy that cannot be held back. Singing and shouting will greet the day and songs of gratitude will usher in the night. The Father of all children not only promises this, but He is even now working on the landscape of our mansions.

Scenes of bliss and beauty come not from the prince of darkness, but only from the Father of lights. Imagine this earth with all the death and decay and darkness removed. Imagine the light of the world walking up and down in His purchased possession. Imagine walking with Him, side by side, casually and comfortably, as redeemed with your Redeemer.

From my vantage point above the lake I can almost taste it. My heart goes out and up as the love of God streams down like spiritual northern lights. Heaven is real. God is real. This earth will end and begin again. I know this because Jesus speaks this from beyond the vail. And in places like this and in times like these the vail is a little thinner and His voice a little Clearer.

"And he will destroy in this mountain

the face of the covering cast over all people,

and the vail that is spread over all nations.

He will swallow up death in victory;

and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces;

and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth:

for the LORD hath spoken it.

And it shall be said in that day,

Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him,

and he will save us:

this is the LORD; we have waited for him,

we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation." (Isaiah 25:7-9)

Day 6

Friday. Lo 45. Hi 65. 29 miles to 1375.

Up and over the mountain to a breakfast spot in the sunrise

Ghost pine? These cones must be 3 pounds!

Heading up the lava slopes of Hat Creek Rim

There were a few flowers along the way

From Hat Creek Rim looking over the wide valley to Burney Mountain on the right and Lassen Peak on the left

Hat Creek Rim is a waterless stretch almost 30 miles long

There was a hidden water cache in the middle, but I never found it. Thankfully, the day was cool and I finished my last sip of water at Hwy 44 at Subway Caves. It was a good trip!