Total Miles: 1407.2
The thermometer is not my friend, or at best our relationship is strained. Today was further evidence of that fact. Hitting the trail a bit before 6am to get a jump on the impending heat, the Hat Creek Rim stretched still another 10 miles and beyond that another 6 awaited before the next water source. It was the desert all over again.
With the curse of the early start though also comes its beauty, as I watched the morning sun bathe the slopes of Mt. Lassen, the air a crisp cool long before any hint of the heat that was to come.
A rare moment without the need for a hat—either for warmth or for shade—was something worthy of capturing...
The upshot to the trail along Hat Creek Rim is the easy, smooth tread that is only occasionally littered with wobbling fist-sized volcanic rock, not to mention the sweeping views of Lassen and Shasta, but things were about to get a whole lot better thanks to a familiar face.
With cinnamon rolls and kettle corn at the ready, Coppertone was there to bring a smile to our faces yet again, this time at the crossing of an old forest service road. In an otherwise desolate, hot, and almost entirely devoid of shade section of trail, this little dose of trail magic was quite a boost.
Crossing the 1,400-mile mark, we raced on to the next water source where we immediately guzzled water from the creek and drenched our shirts to cool down.
It had been a long and trying day in the heat by the time we finally reached Burney Mountain Guest Ranch a little after 5:00. Along with incredible hospitality, showers, laundry, and dinner awaited between the time spent sorting our resupply boxes. When it was time to finally turn in after 10:00pm—long past hiker midnight—it was in a grassy corner of the ranch cowboy camping beneath a blanket of stars, cleaved in two by the Milky Way.