Wednesday, July 13, 2022
End: Old Station
Miles: 34.4 (+0.6 for missing a turn)
Elevation gain/loss: 3632’/2379′
I was up at 6, at the road by 6:20, and on trail by 6:45am. Two guys on their way to work stopped for me and gave me some lemon pound cake they had just bought from the store.
It was an incredibly hot day on the Hat Creek Rim, with two 14-mile water carries, and I pushed myself hard to try and get to Old Station before the gas station closed at 7pm. I stopped by the ‘trailside Cafe,’ which only offers water now, and was low on that. I chatted with Juniper for a bit, enjoying the chairs, then went on my way. I had a bit of cell service and so I called a motel in Chester to make a reservation. I was distracted by the phone call and ended up overshooting a turn on the trail and walked an extra 0.3mi down a dirt road. I quickly turned around, but it had taken time I didn’t have. I was mildly devastated to realize I probably wouldn’t make it to the gas station.
I tried calling them, but my connection wasn’t good enough, so I ran the 0.5mi on the road from the trail crossing. I arrived at the gas station exactly at 7pm and was the very last customer. I got a milkshake, 2 seltzers, a Sierra Mist, a chocolate milk, and some snacks. Then I sat down at the picnic table out back with 4 other folks, and it got a little weird. Two of the men were very drunk; one was a Bavarian man who was mostly speaking German in his drunken state, and the other was a man who seemed to be a homeless veteran. The other two men were nobo thru-hikers. We did our best to carry on conversations around the two drunk men but it was challenging.
Once I finished my snacks, I went to find a place to cowboy camp for the night, as far away from them as I could manage. I found a very nice spot over by the Lassen visitor center, including a water spigot, trash can, electric outlets, and an unlocked bathroom. Squire joined me (LASHer finishing from a 2021 SOBO hike stopped by fires). The road is fairly close and the visitor center has a night light on, but I’m hopeful I’ll sleep well tonight.