6/18/17 – Back on the trail at mile 1092.3, Echo Lake. Snow covered after about 2 miles, snow was the same slush all day. Used Gaia GPS and Guthook to find our route. Warmer than we expected, doesn’t seem to be dropping below freezing up here at night. Found a couple of other thru hikers that skipped ahead as well and a section hiker. We all camped in the snow on the banks of thawing Lake Aloha, mile 1098.4.
6/19/17 – Started early and finished Dick’s Pass before noon. A few feet of trail exposed here and there, but mostly snow covered. Snow was same slush all day, didn’t seem to get much worse in the afternoon. Compass/apps to find route, or footsteps of hikers in front of us. Had a couple river crossings and reroutes due to flooded areas. Camped in a nice dry patch at mile 1112.3.
6/20/17 – Started the morning crossing Phipps creek – 0.3mi upstream log goes most of the way across for now. A little exposed trail here and there around 7500′. Crossed a few more creeks and had our first waist deep one – there’s a section ~0.3 upstream before the two creeks combine that was slower. Met up wit Double D and Tops and hiked for the rest of the day. Plenty of dry, flat places to camp up on Barker Pass. Great views all around. Mile 1124.8.
6/21/17 – Mentally and physically exhausting day today! Started out right back into the snow making our own trail, descending steep switchbacks, avoiding tree wells and blow downs. Caught up with DoubleD and Tops mid day. Lots of steep snow to traverse and some rock scrambling. Around mid morning we hit some exposed trail on a ridge, nice for awhile until happened upon a snow chute covering the trail – thank you to Tops for leading and kicking in a track. Descended pretty directly down to Five Lakes Creek – crossed where we descended, probably a mile or so downstream from the PCT – knee deep and not too fast. Trail was expose for the next mile or so then turned back to snow as we climbed. Found a place to camp in the snow at ~8000ft, mile 1139.1. Hail storm rolled in as we were setting up camp!
6/22/17 – Another day filled with snow, some trail visible in clear spots. Lots of traversing, more sketchy snow chutes, etc – micro spikes and ice axe needed for sure. While the day wore us down, we lifted our spirits by stopping a little earlier and making a campfire at mile 1149.7.
6/23/17 – Traveresed one sketchy switchback up to Mt. Lincoln, then took the long but safer and snowless climb up to the summit/ski gondola. The alternate was crossing the snow covered front, very steep with runout over rock faces. After taking a look at the trail coverage, we decided to descend the ski area via various runs down to the Judah Lodge, then road walked to Donner Pass. Amazingly, we ran into a hiker we knew from the desert being dropped off by a trail angel. Nancy took us into Truckee and to her house, told us to make ourselves at home and welcomed us to spend the night. I can’t get over the generosity of wonderful people like this! Our spirits were lifted and we went out to dinner with Nancy and four other hikers staying at her place.
6/24/17 – Zero day in Truckee, cool town! Lots of outdoor shops, food, and things are mostly within walking distance. Nancy has been a wonderful host and we spent the day figuring out the next couple resupplies. We’ve decided to go north again to Chester, CA, mile 1328.8. Tired of GPS nav all day and slushy snow. A couple hikers set off from Donner summit then bailed and returned to the house, affirming our decision. Nancy is driving us up to Chester tomorrow and sadly we have to take another zero, until the post office opens Monday morning. Will be nice to get back into the swing of things again hopefully.
6/25/17 – Woke up at 6 and enjoyed he scenic drive up 89 to Chester, CA. After dropping off Mitten and The Kid at the trailhead we headed into town and got a quick bite, cheap room, and hung out by the river until the room was ready. Pretty uneventful day, prepped a box for Old Station and rested up.
6/26/17 – Back to cruising! After stopping by the post office we got back on trail around noon. To our surprise we got in 20 miles before stopping. Exposed trail makes for fast hiking. Around mile 1345 we had our first bear encounter! Adolescent blonde colored one on the trail about 30 yards from me. We both started trying to scare each other off and I won. Most importantly, neither of us shat ourselves. After a few more miles we got to Warner Valley Camp, a beautiful managed campground. Flat sites, fire rings, clena pit toilets, picnic tables – feeling spoiled at mile 1347.8.
6/27/17 – Another easy ~20 mile day! The trail is spoiling us with boardwalks even. Lassen is beautiful. We made it just about to Old Station then decided to camp early as we have to wait on packages arriving tomorrow – their PO is only open 11am – 3pm. So a lazy morning of sleeping in then some more easy miles. Camped by Hat Creek at mile 1367.2.
6/28/17 – Easy few miles in the morning into Old Station. Very friendly lady at the post office was able to bounce the boxes we were expecting there north for us! Walked a few more miles to JJs Cafe – delicious burger and beer shortly followed. Checked out a lava tube cave and then got back on trail. Got water down an epic set of switchbacks/boulder problems, then camped nearby at mile 1383.0.
Walking out of Old Station.
6/29/17 – Long day of hiking – 25 miles and not much shade! Beautiful views of Burney mountain and Shasta from Hat Creek Rim. Took several breaks to air out our suffering feet and made it to the Burney Mountain Guest Ranch by mid evening. Had a wonderful home cooked meal, did some laundry, and took a much needed shower. Looking forward to jumping in their pool tomorrow! Spending the night here at mile 1407.2.