Day 117, August 28, North Fork Feather River to Warner Valley Campground, 10.8 miles (17.4 km)
I continued walking in the forest this morning. There was a 1000 feet (300m) climb out of where I camped last night but my rhythm was good and I didn’t have any struggles so early in the day. Not much to report for the first seven miles of the day. It was all forest, now and then green, more often brownish.
The highlights of today, and Lassen NP, were coming up in the next few miles. I came to a junction of trails where I could walk an extra half a mile to the Terminal Geyser. This natural hydrothermal spot was well worth the litle walk. There was a nice big steam cloud coming out of the ground and in the close surroundings standing water was boiling. And the smell, well, everybody that was ever close to volcanic geysers knows what the smell of sulphur is. I guess most will define it as rotten eggs. It didn’t bother me at all.
I made my way back to the PCT and took an alternate that would take me close to Boiling Spring lake. Again, I could smell the lake before I could see it. When I got there I was amazed by the color of this small thermal lake. Here and there you could see some smoke coming out of the lake. I thought about how hot that water would be and hoped that no one ever fell or find themselves falling into it. I enjoyed the little walk around and took pictures from different angles.
I continued walking for another mile until I found myself at the Drakesbad Guest Ranch. This is some kind of cabin resort at the end of a road. I guess people pay a lot of money to stay here for a few days. I was still in time for the lunch buffet and for only $11.95, pct-hikers rate, you can fill your plate as many times as you want. This was propably the best food during my time in the States so far. There were different cold pasta salads, fresh vegetables (not only lettuce and tomatoes), all kinds of bread, meats and cheeses to make a delicious sandwich but the best part of the buffet was in the form of a lamb and beef curry stew. Delicious!
I wish I could show you some pictures of the food but I was too busy enjoying it.
Pct-hikers who buy a meal in the resort are offered a free shower as well so that’s what I did afterwards. Clean bathroom, two types of shampoo and an amazingly fresh smelling towel. This resort definitely is hiker friendly. I’d highly recommend any future pct-hiker to stop at this place, you won’t regret it!
I ended up staying at the ranch for the afternoon, charging devices and having a few beers. Grolsch, to be more specific. Anyone knows or remembers that beer from their Holland trips? I sure did when I saw it listed on the beer menu.