July 24 (Day 84)

Subway Cave to CS1405.9 (1375.0 to 1405.9)

Daily miles: 30.9

Woke up early, and got to walk a couple hours in the shadow if the ridge.  Mt. Lassen behind me, Mt. Shasta in front and all manner of volcanic rock and hill in between.  Not to mention the scrubby desert plants.

On the Hat Creek Rim, morning, looking south to Mt. Lassen

Hike up to Hat Creek Rim, where I’ll spend most of the remainder of the day.  It’s a scorching section, 100+ temperatures, and a 21 mile stretch with no water.  But for now, the views are great and the air is pleasant.

More Hat Creek Rim. Mt. Shasta way out there.

But that changes, so hot so hot.  In the midst of all of it I walk around a corner to find a kind old long haired man who asks me, “Would you like a root beer float?”  It’s Coppertone, the one and only trail angel of trail angels.  If you’ve never been stumbling around the wilderness in extreme heat and had a stranger offer you a root beer float, you haven’t lived.  It’s an incredible feeling.

 Out in the distance there’s nothing but more heat, and then suddenly I’m off the ridge in walking over black lava rock and sweat is pouring down my back.

I notice smoke and I’m walking toward it, and then I smell it and my eyes start to burn a bit, so I call the fire department.  The lady says it’s a fire on the power lines (…that’s a thing?), and says there’s engines on the ground.  She doesn’t sound concerned for my safety so I just walk on.

The wasteland below Hat Creek Rim.

Of course, since this is the PCT, I stumble across a river and then a lake in the evening.  Only on this trail can you go from baking hot/maybe there’s a fire to humid and wet and water everywhere in the course of the day.  Crazy.

A lake to end the day
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