Date: June 27, 2017
Miles: 1332.3 – 1347.8
We entered Lassen Volcanic National Park today, which I’ve been looking forward to mainly because it is a dark sky area and I love seeing an abundance of stars in the sky when I go to bed.
This year the park service is requiring backcountry campers to carry bear cans in the park because a certain ‘problem bear’ has been stealing packs and learned to climb trees and bite through hanging rope. We all sent our bear cans home in Sierra City so we planned to hike the 30 miles necessary to get all the way through the park so that we could avoid the requirement.
However, 15 miles in we reached Drakesbad Guest Ranch, which offers showers, laundry and use of the hot springs pool with the purchase of a meal. The catch with the deal, though, is that hikers have to wait until the ranch’s regular guests have finished eating before they get their turn, presumably to avoid offending the guests with our appearance and also to make sure they don’t run out of food. So we grumbled a bit about it and then loitered outside the dining room, staring at everyone while they ate. Finally, they let us in to have at the leftovers, and halfway through our lunch, our plan to hike another 15 miles had morphed into laying by the pool trying to even out our weird tan lines. A bunch of other hikers apparently came up with the same plan.
Around 5 pm, we finally decided to leave, and one of the workers sent us off with a plate of cookies. We headed up the road a bit to camp at the Warner Valley Campground. We were joined by Aloha, who was hiking southbound from Ashland, and we had a fun dinner with lots of laughs. We went to bed early, with the promise to actually do 30 miles tomorrow. I didn’t notice any more stars than usual as I was falling asleep, but the sky was as expansive as always, and just as beautiful.