Day 118, August 29, Warner Valley Campground to Old Station, 27.1 miles (43.6 km)
I left the campground at 8.20 this morning. Somewhere between 8 and 8.30 seems to be my hour of leaving camp these last few weeks. First I had to climb out of the valley, Warner Valley that is. It was a short climb over some rocky terrain. I had seen on the elevation profile that most of the climbing would be in the first two hours of walking. Always good when this comes at the start of the day rather than at the end of it. After this small climb I descended to a creek which I had to cross. I was almost ready to get my feet wet when I saw a big log across the creek. So far I hadn’t crossed rivers or creeks on logs. Mostly because they look too narrow and when you fall of one things are much worse than getting your feet wet. This time however I observed the log and felt more than comfort enough to cross the on it. It was a nice experience. I took it slow, small steps at a time. When hiking, always remember you’re only as good as your next step!
The contrast between the lakes and the miles and miles of walking through burnt forest couldn’t be bigger. It was quite warm and because of the burnt area shade was scarce. I looked at my water and knew that I had to drink small portions not to run out of it.
But Hat Creek was coming up and when I arrived there I took my only break, a ten minute one, of the day. I splashed some water in my face and filtered enough water to get me to Old Station without getting in trouble.
The last ten miles of the day went through forest, not burnt but nice ‘n’ green, and somehow felt like an easy stroll in the park.
By 5pm I took the little sideroad that would get me to JJ’s Cafe and the gas station next door. I knew from my town info sheet that the cafe closes at 3 everyday so I went inside the gas station for a bottle of coke and to see if they had some small snacks. The deli looked closed so I checked the refrigerators for some small food. I always bought a sandwich for six dollars, just two slices of bread with ham and cheese, when I saw frozen pizza’s for only three dollars. I had seen that they had a microwave so my choice was easily made.
The owner of the gas station told me I could camp behind the store at the picnic table area and I took the offer immediately. He told me to make myself at home, the restrooms would be open until he closes, 10pm that is. What else do I need?
A shower maybe. I had one yesterday but when I look at my legs I know I could definitly use another one. The PCT is a dusty trail.
Tonight I’ll cook my pasta dinner while enjoying a six pack of cheap cold beer from the gas station. Good, very good!
I can see why sometimes long distance hikers are confused with homeless people. Good thing I have a home and a girl I can go back to.