Day 106 7-9-07 Tarp Tent4900′
Old Station – Mile past Lost Creek
14.4 miles; 1392.1 (55.7) total miles; 3253.1 trip miles
90-100’s, sunny and HOT
Deer count is 72
Marmot count is 51
Bear count is 5
Rattlesnake count is 4
Pika count is 2
!!!After much debate the Rattlesnakes are in the game. The judges didn’t think they would see one after the desert but tonight the snakes made an appearance!!!
The day started slowly with me up first at around 6:30. Georgi came out to meet me, then everyone else started to get up and appear. Breakfast was a joint effort. We had eggs, bacon, biscuits, gravy, and juice. After breakfast everyone was doing logistics. Georgi and I started to repair my stuff sacks, but later I would finish them myself. We did our own thing for lunch, and then after, we did more running around. Georgi picked up my box at the PO so I went through my food, and then my pack, to find anything I wasn’t using. So if you are wondering, I am always looking for ways to save weight.
When it was time to get back to the trail, we had a water talk first then Georgi took our photos and we were off. I shipped home a box and sent post cards, then went to the store for another chocolate milk shake. It was so tasty. I saw a bullie coming out of the trailer park. He was super cute! I hit the trail and it was just as I was told it was DRY, DRY, DRY !!! The dirt was like powder but worse. The dust from your feet went everywhere. My legs were quickly covered with a thick layer of brown.
It was 4 miles to the Subway Cave. It’s an old lava tube that collapsed at two points and you can walk through it. It was about a quarter mile long and was pitch black inside. If you turned off your light, you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. At a couple of points, the ceiling was less than a foot from my head. It was powerful to think I was standing in a tube that once carried hot molten rock in it. The whole region is one big lava field. There are sink holes from other tubes all over the place. It was also about 40 degrees cooler in the cave. Leaving the cave, I had to climb to Old Highway 44, where I stopped to cook dinner. When I got there, my stomach was upset from the heat and the exercise. It calmed down but made me ill at ease.
Just past dinner was Cache 44, which Georgi maintains. I topped off after cooking and started north. Not 100′ from the cache a rattlesnake went off on me. He was 12′ away but reared back ready to strike and was rattling away. I told him to chill, that I didn’t even come close to him. I watched him a bit, then was off. I would cross a dry gully, and shortly after, run into my first two cows of the night. The sun was going down by now and the colors were beautiful. I had Lassen to my back and could just see the outline of Shasta in front of me. The sun was setting behind Sugarloaf Mountain and it was casting a yellow orange glow. In an attempt to get myself in one shot, I set my camera on a stump, on timer. As I let it go it fell, I quickly tired to catch it but missed. It fell two feet, hit a rock, then another and another and came to a rest in the dusty sand. Surprisingly it was still counting down and was fine. I was scared shitless thinking I broke it for sure.
I got out the head lamp and then called Sam for 15 minutes. I had to let her go since I was losing my daylight fast. I stumbled through a while without the head lamp, then finally turned it on. It took a while, but finally I saw Silver and Backtracks lights of in front of me. I also heard a cow mowing that sounded like a bear. It was kind a freaky. It sounded like he was stalking me. I made a long turn to the east and up into the trees before cutting back to the west and back into the open. The area I’m hiking in is called the Hat Creek Rim. It’s a ledge on the edge of a valley, mostly made of lava rock and 20 years ago it burned, so it hotter than hell up there. This is why I hiked it at night. I found Silver and Backtrack about a mile from Lost Creek. I threw down about a 100 yards from them. The ground was lumpy so it was super comfortable. I also had something moving around and under my tent. It sounded like a squirrel crunching on a nut. It was so loud! I kept listening for it, and then I would turn on my lamp. Each time nothing was there. I even punched the ground where I heard it under me. Finally after one of my punching fits, it stopped.
Scatman 2011- A short day but filled with a lot of stuff. The highlight had to be the Subway Cave and the sunset I got to experience. The rattlesnake, milkshake, almost breaking my camera and the freaky cow mowing at me were just extras. The cave was amazing. There was absolutely no light in the middle of the cave. It was down right scary when you turned your headlamp off. The darkness seemed to just swallow the light.
Then there was the most amazing sunset in weeks if not the best of the trip. I could have stood and watched it all night but I had to keep moving as I needed to put miles in. It was one of those sunsets that just touches you inside and reminds you your alive as is everything around you. Just amazing.
Get out there!