Yesterday we woke up with the river still in our ears. It raged past as we packed our things away around 6 am and headed to the trail. The next few miles into Old station where easy and nice through young pine forest. We walked through the RV park and waited on the road for a hitch up to JJ’s cafe where planned to have breakfast.
Old station is a one horse town. It’s kind of strangely set out. The post office and a store of sorts are about 2.5 miles from the cafe and another has station store. It wasn’t an easy hitch, and one grumpy lady even told us that she didn’t do that sort of thing when her husband mentioned he was going in our direction. After a little while Tom pulled up in a people mover. He said he could give us a lift for a few bucks. Tom had 4 teeth and was spending some time away from a drug and alcohol rehab mission. 30 days in and 30 days out. He was a big advocate for God and Christianity. He mentioned that if we didn’t believe in God our souls mightn’t have a place to go once we died, and that Heaven and Hell where real. We gave him $3 to drive us 2.9 miles…..he got a good deal. As we got out of the car he really asked us to think about religion. We said we would.
A couple came into the cafe at the same time as us. They asked us if we were hiking the PCT, we said yes and sat down. After a little while the woman sparked up a conversation with us and I asked them is they would like to join us on our table, which they thought was a great idea. Caroline and Mike are cycling around America. They have a car which they move from place to place then they do a loop back to it. They have a daughter, who rock climbs and have rented their house out indefinitely. Pelican turned up and we all kept chatting. Caroline is a visual artist, she took a photo of our hands which she will later turn into an art work. She likes the symbol of hands because it represents engagement and connection. They left and we continued drinking coffee and playing a game that Ollie got really into. Eventually we decided it was time to leave. Our new friends had been very generous and bought us breakfast so we felt very lucky and grateful.
We stood on the roadside until a family picked us up in the big home on wheels and dropped us back at the RV park. We walked the next 3.9 miles to the Subway Caves. It was hot and a bit dusty. The caves were formed by lava flowing down the Hat Creek Valley. Once the molten notion began to cool the insulated lava below kept flowing and hey presto these very large hollow caves were formed. It was relief from the heat and nice side trip. After walking through the caves we hid out in some pines till late afternoon. Around 4 we hit the trail. I entertained myself on the phone to Joni and Koby for a little while, and Ollie flew a kite. My heel begun to hurt and got progressively worse. By the time we reached Lost Spring Junction 8 miles later I was in a foul mood and lots of pain. We dropped packs and scuttled down the very steep trail to a beautiful spring. Water fell off rocks into a shallow pools. The water was freezing, and home to sweet brown frogs.
We washed and filtered water then began the long climb back to our packs. It was getting late so we ate some dinner, chatted briefly to a hiker who has just begun his journey and went to bed. The moon is almost full and it was huge on the horizon. There was also some smoke cloud coming in from the north.