PCT 2007 Day 104
Day 104 / 7-7-07 Tarp Tent 5670′
Chester – Warner Valley Campground
18.4 (.6) miles; 1354.2 (55.7) total miles; 3215.2 trip miles
90’s, sunny and HOT
Deer count is 70
Marmot count is 51
Bear count is 5
Pika count is 2
!!!The Deer had a strong late showing and came out with 7. One group of 4, one of 2, and a solo!!!
Last night was the pits. The alarm came way too early at 6 AM. I showered one more time then packed up. Over at the Best Western, I got to partake in the continental breakfast where I had a waffle, 2 apple juices, banana, and an English muffin. When I had first walked in the guy I spoke with about getting a room asked me, as I walked through the door, if I needed a ride to the trail. I was feeling good. I told him I just needed to go get fuel down the street. He said no problem, he’d take me whenever I was ready. I got the fuel and we were off to the trail head.
Once there, I ran into Jim who had given me the ride to town last night. He was headed northbound today. I got going and made good time throughout the early miles. At Stover Camp Spring, I got attacked by Buddy, the not so friendly lab. I had to use my new poles to keep him from him getting me. The owner quickly came and got him and apologized. I believe this is the point where Jim went the wrong way and I passed him. The trail did a 180° right after the camp. I never passed him, so I have to guess he didn’t see it.
I passed a bunch of roads, climbed North Stover Mountain, and then descended to the North Fork Feather River, where I got water. I climbed for about 4 miles more and stopped for lunch at 12:15. I had cell phone service where I was, so I made some calls on my new phone. It felt weird to be in the middle of nowhere and talking with others 1000’s of miles away. I stayed at my lunch spot until 1:30 and then pushed on.
I passed Swampy Little Willow Lake, which was more swamp then lake. Next I came to the junction before the Terminal Geysers. I descended to it to check it out. It was a large wash where steam was shooting up into the air 30′. There was also hot water coming from the wash. It reminded me of Yellowstone. I climbed back to the PCT, and after another short climb, which felt longer due to the heat, I got to Boiling Lake. It was a grey/green that was, you guessed it, boiling. It really looked like Yellowstone! I descended a while through some of the driest and dustiest trail yet to reach Warner Valley. In the valley there is a campground and a guest ranch.
The ranch is called Drakesbad and hikers are welcomed and I mean welcomed. I made dinner reservations (prime rib), was given a towel and shown where the naturally heated pool was, which also had showers. I showered, and then soaked in the pool answering lots of questions to one curious dad. I then went back up to where dinner was served to work on yesterdays journal. I answered more questions about my hike and I also learned Silver and Backtrack were coming for dinner. Close to dinner time a father and son, whose names are completely escaping me, sat down next to me. We talked about my trip and the dad asked if he was to get a bottle of wine, if I would have some with him. I said sure. Turns out he grew up in VT and is now in Mill Valley. After our salads came and he was already served, Greenleaf showed up as I was digging in. My plate of prime rib had 3, 8″ round by 3/4″ thick pieces of meat on it. It also had a huge pile of mashed potatoes under the meat and about 8 pieces of broccoli. My plate was 3 times what the dad got. He joked with the owner, Ed, about the portion and Ed told him when he hikes 1300 miles, he can have the big plate too.
Greenleaf got the vegetarian meal and his too was a 1/3 the size of mine. He would make out okay because once Silver and Backtrack did show up he got a second plate; and since they didn’t have what those guys wanted, Ed had 3 Portabella mushrooms cooked up and Greenleaf got some of that, too. No one had the plate I got. It was massive. I should have taken a picture. We had ice cream with fruit for desert. The meal also came with fresh homemade bread. I hung out while the others ate, then decided it was time to head out. I walked a half mile to the campground down the way. I had the worst time setting my stakes in the ground for my tent. I also picked the one spot near the noisy people. Good thing for ear plugs.
Scatman 2011- The scenery once again took a turn. I was not only in dirty dusty forests as I had been since Belden Town but it was now volcanic. Lassen loomed in the distance. Drakesbad was amazing. The only thing I could have down to make it more special was sign up for a massage. The meal was amazing and so large. I can’t believe what I got for 15 bucks. It was clearly a $50 or more meal. I would recommend Drakesbad to any hiker who goes by.