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PCT Day 83 – Swimming in Lassen Volcanic National Park

Last updated May 6, 2020 | Published on Jul 16, 2017

We hiked out of camp this morning through a burn area and soon crossed over the border into Lassen Volcanic National Park. My first official National Park so far on the trail! Yay!

Mt. Lassen!

We were mindful that we couldn’t camp in the park (since we didn’t have bear cans) and so hiked quickly, planning to either stay at the Warner Valley Campground (which has bear boxes) or to hike out of the park entirely.

Welcome to Lassen Volcanic National Park

Around mid-morning, I finally hiked out of the burn area and came upon a cute little cabin just off the trail in the woods. It was a cabin for the use of backcountry rangers when they patrolled this section of the National Park. No one was there so I hiked on.

Ranger Station!

I soon came to Lower Twin Lake and found Tetris and Monarch relaxing by the water. The wind blew across the lake and felt good after the morning’s hike. We had been hearing about this lake for a few days from northbound hikers and had been looking forward to swimming there. Tetris had been waiting for a while and had already waded in. She was now bundled up in all her rain gear against the wind, shivering. This did not bode well for our swimming experience.

Lower Twin Lake

Monarch and I were about to rethink our swimming plans when Spider Mama hiked up, put down her pack, and walked into the water without flinching. “The water feels great,” she said. Monarch soon splashed into the water after her. The water looked too good to pass up so I followed shortly thereafter. Brr!! That water was COLD! I looked across the lake and could see a snowdrift on the opposite bank. I vigorously splashed around for a bit and after a while the water felt a little better.


After lunch we continued hiking through the park. I had in my headphones and was strolling along when I rounded a corner and came to a creek that was running high and was too wide to cross without getting wet. My hiking partners were waiting for the whole group to arrive before proceeding.

There were some trees across the creek upstream and they chose to cross along the fallen logs. I decided to finally put my crocs to their intended purpose and to wade across in my creek shoes. I sat down and changed out of my shoes into my crocs and started wading across. The creek was running faster and higher than I realized. I could feel the pull of the current against my legs and poles as I walked across. I kept 3 points of contact with the ground during the entire crossing and made it across fine.

I Waded Across this Creek

My skirt got wet all the way to the bottom of the pocket where I store my phone. In hindsight I should have put my phone in my waterproof electronics bag inside my backpack. Thankfully I just purchased a new waterproof Lifeproof case for my phone so it was fine but it was a good learning for future crossings.

Warner Valley Camp was nestled in a picturesque wooded valley next to Hot Springs Creek. There were a few other car campers at the campground but it wasn’t too crowded. The campground host was super nice and told us to set up anywhere and to pay whatever we could afford, which is not typical for that kind of campground. I suspect that they want to encourage PCT hikers without bear canisters to use the bear boxes in the campground.

We set up at a campsite next to a pit toilet and a water spigot and enjoyed the rare luxury of eating at a picnic table and the ability to throw away our garbage. Oh the life!

PCT 2017 Stats

PCT Day 83 – Wednesday July 5
Mile 1364.7 to Warner Valley Campground Mile 1347.7

PCT Miles Hiked Today: 17
Total PCT Miles Hiked: 967
Feet Ascended Today: 1926
Feet Descended Today: 1914
Current Elevation: 5641
Steps: 50190

For more on my experience hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, visit my Pacific Crest Trail 2017 page:

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Hi, I'm Unicorn!

I am an avid hiker, traveler, and adventurer who is on the mission to explore hiking trails around the world.  I’m also obsessed with National Parks, long-distance trails and other outdoorsy things.

I hope to share this knowledge with you and inspire you to explore new hiking trails too!

1 Comment

  1. Kate Zylland

    That is 100% what they were thinking with inviting you to pay what you could. Anyone who is trying to follow the rules is so very welcome, especially when the campground isn’t full. Glad they could see past the bureaucracy 🙂


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