Firstly, I have to correct a mistake I’ve been making since day 1. I’ve been calculating miles into kms by multiplying the miles we do per day by 1.6. Today I ran an experiment and realised that it’s actually 1.7 kms per mile – so FYI all the kms I’ve been giving have been short.
Moving on, the day began slowly. Ollie and I can sometimes dither, but we walk quickly so it makes up for lost time. We did our last 4 miles today in an hour and 10 minutes – that’s about 6 kms per hour. So we walk fast-ish. Anyway, we woke up at 7 am and didn’t hit the trail till 8. I forgot my hat at the Drakesbad pool and ran 1.5 miles to get it. I was sweating before we had even begun and to leave Warner Valley you have to climb. Up and up we went through some small Manzanita groves. I learnt yesterday that there are a variety of Manzanita species, the ones in this region are smaller with white flowers that bears love to feed on. A small rustle in a bush alerted me to something just up trail, and as I rounded a switch back a doe was leading her very tiny fawn off down the trail. It scuttled along beside her, all legs, it’s little tail and body so delicately deciphering the rocky terrain. We followed the pair for a while until Mumma deer realised she needed to leave the trail to escape us. The trail levelled off eventually and we crossed Kings Creek. We initially thought we might have to take off our shoes and wade but there is a huge fallen pine which makes for the perfect crossing only a few metres up stream from the path. We continued walking for 7 miles until we reached Lower Twin Lake. It’s a huge lake right on the trail and we dropped our packs, quickly chatted to another hiker and went into the sandy bottomed heavenly body of water. Ollie was of course scared, Eels this time. We hung by the lake for ages, drinking coffee and eating an early lunch. Other hikers arrived and we eventually set off after almost 2 hours. The next section (8 miles) which leads you out of park boundary is burnt, flat and hot but totally doable and easy. We walked it quickly had a little stop at the boundary where Ollie challenged me to a leg wrestle and proceeded to just cover me with his legs and get filthy while doing so. The last 4 miles to Hat Creek where pretty, it’s a gradual downhill through young, replanted pine forest. There are long straight, open corridors along the way and I wonder if this may have once been a plantation or something.
Hat creek here is flowing with gusto. It’s cold but yummy for dipping your hot body in. It’s a lovely campsite with plenty of tent space along the banks and the mozzies aren’t too bad. We went swimming as soon as we arrived at 4.30 pm, then I had another two dips. Our friend Pelican is here. His real name is Dan, he has partially accepted Pelican and he is moving from the east coast to San Fransisco area to study Computational Maths (nerd) at Stanford. He is section hiking before the semester commences. He is smart and chatty, funny and great to hang out with. We chatted, made food and sat around. It’s almost 8 pm and the sun is still high in the sky, but I’m ready for snoozin’.