Day 107 7-10-07 Tarp Tent
Mile past Lost Creek – Burney Falls Campground
31.5 miles; 1423.6 (55.7) total miles; 3284.6 trip miles
90-100’s, sunny and HOT RAIN
Deer count is 72
Marmot count is 51
Bear count is 5
Rattlesnake count is 4
Pika count is 2
I woke up with my alarm at 4:45; but the lack of sleep took me down until 5:36, when I finally got up. I looked for the creature making the crunching sound but found no squashed remains under my tyvek.
I left Silver and Backtrack packing up and made my way to the Hat Creek Rim Fire Lookout site, where I stopped for a snack. Silver and Backtrack caught me there and we chatted a bit. I was off again to Cache 22 near Road 22. I got there and enjoyed the shade from the grotto they made with branches. It appears that the next hikers are 2 days in front of me, from what the register there said. Once again, Silver and Backtrack caught me.
I continued along the rim descending as I went, catching glimpses of Shasta to the north. I could see lots of lava rock that had fallen off the rim in the valley below. I passed a polluted reservoir, where I spooked a bunch of Jays.
Just past Cross Cassel-Fall River Mills Road I couldn’t stand the heat so I found some shade under a bush. I then checked and found I had cell phone service so I called Cingular and figured out my voice mail. It was lunch by then, so I ate while talking with Doug, the CS rep, who happened to be in Seattle.
Silver and Backtrack, you guessed it, caught me again. I finished lunch then headed for the next water at Crystal Lake State Fish Hatchery road. I passed Silver and Backtrack when they stopped for lunch. It was about 1 PM and so hot. I felt like I was melting. The fields after where I saw Silver and Backtrack reminded me of pictures of the grasslands of Africa. I fully expected to see a giraffes head to pop up from one of the stands of trees. I made it through without being eaten by lions or burned up by yet another fire, which was just starting off to my right. I passed an electrical power house and went down the road to the fish hatchery. I promptly used their hose to soak my head and fill my water supply. The water was, unfortunately, warm no matter how long I let it run. I sat around doing yesterdays journal and finally listened to my body and attempted to take a nap. The flies and ants didn’t make it easy.
Just before 3 PM Silver and Backtrack showed up and pretty much did exactly what I did when I got here. We hung out until it appeared the thunder clouds that had been forming all day were about to open up on us. There have been thunder clouds for days; but no thunder. Well it started today, finally. I had planned to stay longer but it started to rain, yes – I said rain, my first rain in over 73 days. I wanted to out run the storm since it appeared to be slow moving. Quickly I questioned my logic, since the lightening had started as well.
I hiked like a mad man and counted off after each flash. The closest one was two miles south. I passed Lake Buam, where I saw a White Pelican and either a Green or Blue Heron Herring. There were lots of other water foul, too. I even saw two Ospreys today.
The fire I saw after leaving Silver and Backtrack was raging now, and as I climbed a hill before Highway 299, I could see the flames on a distant mountain. Planes and helicopters were coming and going with water. The lightening was really bad at this point, so I couldn’t stand and watch.
When I got to Highway 299, it appeared the storm was going to pass me on the east. I decided to cook right on the side of the road. The road was closed heading east, towards the fire. Silver and Backtrack came by and kept going. I finished dinner and headed off. I caught them soon after and didn’t see them again tonight. I got sprinkled on as I went by Arkright Flat and again on Rim of Lake road. I stopped on top of a hill before Highway 89 and debated staying there; but the lure of a shower at Burney Falls CG pulled me in. I hiked on and passed a sign saying I had done 1400+ miles and only had around 1200 to go. It put a big smile on my face!
Once in the park, I took the alternate route which brings you by the headwaters that turn into Burney Falls. At first it’s just a dry stream bed, then there are small puddles, then large pools, flowing water, rapids, and finally when you get to the CG entrance, there’s a 200′ high waterfall with something like a million gallons a day flowing over it. This all takes place in a little under a mile.
I couldn’t believe it, but there was still a ranger in the booth when I got there at 9:15. I paid and got change for the showers. I found the hiker/biker section and met a guy named John who is hiking south to Tuolumne. We chatted a bit, then it was off to the showers for me. It was soon after that I fell asleep.
Scatman 2011- Blazing hot like the desert all over again. The heat just drained my energy for most of the day. I don’t know how I still hiked so far. With the multiple breaks and nap doing 31.5 miles seems crazy! I couldn’t do that on the AT on my best day.
After see the lave tubes and Hat Creek Rim, watching the power of the thunderstorm, the fire and seeing Burney Falls I was reminded of just how powerful mother nature is. Signs of her power surround me daily out here but today it was obvious and in my face. It was a day you learn to respect her.
Get out there!