Do you remember how yesterday, we were descending from the Hat Creek Rim in 100° heat? Well, today we got to be outside the same heat, only going up this time — and with really heavy packs, full of food from our resupply. It only ever gets better along the PCT!
OK, OK, so we did get to start out the day pretty well: after our late evening last night, we slept in this morning, then had a leisurely morning as we went through our resupply box…and packages from REI. Getting new gear on trail really is always exciting, and something you can look forward to for days, even if it’s nothing more than a new pair of socks. Fortunately for me, it was a new pair of shoes today. I’m actually switching shoes; I was wearing the Brooks Cascadia 9s, but you can’t get those any more, and the Cascadia 10s that you can get are a disaster. So I’m trying out Hoka One One Mafate Speed (yes, that’s a real thing), which are “maximalist” trail-running shoes with a hugely thick sole and lots of padding. I’m kind of excited for all the cushiness of these shoes out there. New shoes, however, can often cause blisters, so we’ll see how it goes.
On the way out of Burney Falls State Park, we stopped by the store again for more brownie sundaes, a huge cinnamon roll (720 calories — that’s wonderful for hiker-me, but how is that a reasonable thing to exist for most people?), and drinks. We also got a chance to see Burney Falls, which is truly impressive. I had no idea something like this existed in state parks in California — I think that if I showed people the picture and told them I was at some remote waterfall in Thailand, they’d completely believe me. It’s hundreds of feet high, lush all around, with huge pools underneath. Yet another secret place we’ve discovered on the PCT. (Well, it’s clearly no secret to locals, since the place was packed, but it sure was a secret to us.)
I’ll try to spare you the details of the climb out of that park in 100° heat; suffice it to say that it was completely miserable…with one notable exception. The exception was Rock Creek, a water source about five miles past the park that had perfectly accessible, wonderful eddies and pools in it ideal for soaking. So, midafternoon, rather than hiking, we were eating lunch while sitting in a river with eight other hikers, cooling off in the shade and loving life instead of sweating like pigs on the hike. I suppose it’s a testament to how much we want to do the entire PCT that we ever got out of there, because it would’ve been so, so much nicer to stay…but the miles push us onwards.