The Lakes of Lassen
Beginning Elevation = 5,650
Peak Elevation = 6,700
Ending Elevation = 4,900
Weather: Mix of sun/clouds, high 70’s
I may have lost some of my early morning rising abilities during my time off trail. We’ll have to see. I suppose 6:30am isn’t like sleeping in either though. Anyway, I got hiking at a solid 7:20am and was ahead of most of the group I’d camped with.
From camp, the trail went up right away at a pretty steep grade. Always fun first thing in the morning. Midway up the hill though, I came across a little doe alongside the trail. It wasn’t too spooked by me and slowly trotted off. This would be the first of six deer I’d see today, all by themselves except for one pair, a mommy deer with its little baby deer.
As the trail continued to go up, I came across a site I was all too familiar with…snow patches! Dun dun dun. It never got bad actually, but was still more than I had anticipated.
Another flashback to the Sierra occurred when the trail crossed Kings Creek. I was happy to see a note someone had made with sticks saying “LOG” with an arrow pointing upstream. Sure enough, folks had been crossing on this beauty of a log bridge!
Further ahead were more bridges and more snow patches. I enjoyed walking along Grassy Swale Creek, which I thought was neat and very appropriately named.
At breakfast, I pulled out my mosquito head net for the first time. Thanks Jim so much for this amazing gift, such insight into the needs of the thru-hiker you have!
Another feature I’ve added back into my hiker get-up is the classic bandana to cover up my neck. Plus, I got a new hat when in Colorado. Now, I’ve really got the thru-hiker look down. I also kinda sorta forgot to get sunscreen at the store in Chester, so I’m doing my best to cover on up.
The PCT section of Lassen Volcanic National Park didn’t offer up any more geysers or sulfur boiling lakes, but instead surprised me with about 5 or 6 clear watered beautiful lakes! First up was Swan Lake!
And then Upper Twin Lake, where I found fellow hikers Bunion and Blueberry (camped with the night before) going for a swim. I liked the crossed dead log shot apparently.
I continued on past thinking that maybe I’d find a nice lunch spot near a lake to do some swimming myself. Just past them on the trail was a deer hanging out, both parties didn’t seem to care about the presence of the other. On the other side of the lake, I had a nice chat with an elderly gentleman and another guy who might’ve been his grandson(?). They talked as if they were family.
After leaving them, I came to a junction for a trail to Cluster Lakes. I noticed that it rejoined the PCT and both options seemed about the same mileage. So, I turned left to check out the lakes!
The whole section had been burned in the 2012 Reading Wildfire (I read a sign), which was quite evident.
I took a break for lunch at the second lake in the series, Feather Lake, but didn’t end up going for a swim. I even changed into my shorts to do so, but then the wind picked up and I chickened out… until another time, I’m sure I’ll get lots of opportunities!
Here’s Feather Lake…
And Silver Lake…with what I think is once again Lassen Peak hanging in the background
And some more photos from the rest of my hike…
Found this women’s body spray in a trail angel supply drop. Didn’t appear to be getting many users, so I went for it 😉. So fresh and so clean!
I stopped at 5:00pm and made camp next to Hat Creek! Once my tent was set up, I took advantage of my close proximity to the creek and washed my feetsies and legs. It is a really dusty trail section and I think my shoes have the mesh and rubber separating again, so it felt great to wash it all off temporarily. I also think I’m getting some blisters, same toes as when it happened near the beginning of the trail. So I might doctor those up with moleskin tomorrow. Warning…nasty feet picture ahead!!!
I enjoyed being in camp earlier. I set up my sleeping pad as a sitting station next to a big fallen log I could use as a back rest. Other than a nice talk with a hiker named Nigel, I just relaxed and rested up my legs. Nigel had gone straight through without skipping the Sierra section, so it was interesting to get his take on things. I came away from the convo realizing he had an intense experience and was a pretty gung ho super hiker with little fear. I was happy to have taken a pass for this round!
As I was savoring the tastes of some delicious Casserole Delicious, courtesy of Dave H Master Chef, Bolo walked up to camp. He had missed a turn in the morning and so had done an extra 4 miles “off-trail.” Yikes! He was still in decent spirits, better than I’d be, but he said he wouldn’t be pushing on the additional 7 miles ahead that his group was shooting for. Instead, he camped near me and gave me some tips on how to do the bear hang thing for my food bag. He did some sort of counter weight method with two bags, and I did this thing with a stick and a carabiner, which I think is what’s used on the Appalachian trail? Psh I don’t know, but seems bear proof to me!