PCT Day 77 – Thursday June 29
Mile 1435.2 to Burney Falls State Park Mile 1416.5
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 18.7
Total PCT Miles Hiked: 890.8
Feet Ascended Today: 1929
Feet Descended Today: 4075
Current Elevation: 3050
I woke up feeling much better this morning. I was uncomfortable and sore from my sleeping pad but did manage to get more sleep once I removed most of the air from my sleeping pad. It made a world of difference to my mood and energy level.
I heard a rumbling noise around 5:00 am that at first I thought was from an animal. After a few minutes I determined it sounded more like heavy machinery, like trucks or cranes or backhoes. As we started hiking our we heard the high whine of chain saws. We had passed through a very sad-looking clear cut the previous evening. I guessed the sound was coming from that direction.
Monarch and I broke camp around 6:45 am and headed south. We hiked through more clear cuts. In one area, some trees with browning needles had been cut down and lay all over the trail. I wondered if the trees might have been cut down due to disease. Clearly whoever cut them down had no idea (or didn’t give a corndog) that the trees were blocking the PCT.
We stopped for water and who should come strolling northward past us but Gabi (Forward) and Dave (Apps). We’ve leapfrogged with Forward and Apps from Tehachapi to Lone Pine. It was great to see them again and we stopped and chatted for a while. They are not the only friends that we’ve passed on our southbound journey. We keep passing hikers that we met in Southern California which causes is to stop and chat with them and get caught up. It’s fun to run into old friends. We’ve hiked that we need to plan an extra hour to each day to account for chatting with northbounders.
There trail continued in an alpine area for a bit and we had one last view of Shasta and then the path headed downhill gradually through the trees. We stopped at creeks for water along the way and to take breaks. My feet were really starting to hurt as I’ve hiked 450 miles on these shoes so I tried to alleviate the pain by putting panty liners into my shoes. It didn’t really work. Oh well. I give myself an “A” for effort.
In the afternoon I rounded a corner and caught my breath at a beautiful waterfall. It was Rock Creek spilling over a ledge into a deep blue pool of water. The PCT crossed the creek a short ways up from the waterfall and I found Monarch there hanging out under the bridge and sitting in the water. We enjoyed the water for a bit, washing the grime off our legs and feet and rinsing out some sweaty clothes.
Not far after Rock Creek, the PCT crosses Lake Britton Dam. Walking across the dam afforded some lovely views of the Lake to the north and the water cascading past the dam into the valley far below to the South.
I was on a mission to hike quickly to the Burney Falls State Park, which had a convenience store that closed at 8:00 pm. Visions of ice cream bars and cold beer danced in my head. I made it just in time and ordered a garden burger from their “deli”. It was the saddest garden burger I’ve ever seen and under other circumstances I would have been very disappointed. I was too hungry to object, however, and wolfed it down in 3 bites.
The Burney Falls State Park is a large park with lots of car campers. Families rode though the park on their bicycles and camped in enormous tents the size of small mansions. I made my way to the “hike-in & bike-in” section of the park which was segregated from the shiny car campers back in some woods. PCT hikers sat around a couple of picnic tables drinking beer and I went to bed early.