We were all sad to say goodbye to the magic Hat Creek but we had good stuff to get to ~ Lassen National Park, our 3rd for the trail! In our style we walked 2 miles to the bottom of our climb into the park and sat down for breakfast. According to map app we use there is no water for 12 miles, but I don’t believe it, but we decided to conserve our water and not have coffee with breakfast.
The climb into the park was through dry forest with patches of low lying manzanita and creepy pine plantations. I did see and stalk for a few minutes a cute tiny frog, it had an issue with its leg and couldn’t hop properly. Upon reaching the park boundary I thought the forest might become more beautiful but there has been a fire through recently and all the trees are dead and burned. We also surprising didn’t head towards Mt Lassen summit as the trail usually does, but instead headed away from the summit following a high valley.
As I predicted water was everywhere, Mt Lassen and surrounding ridges are still covered with snow. We made coffee at the first stream we passed sitting on lush green grass. The trail was so flat we were making great time and reached Lower Twin Lake by 11.30, 12miles and plenty of breaks. The lake was all of our top swim for the trail, it was beautiful, warm-ish (especially for snowmelt), had a nice sandy floor and was crystal clear! We swam for 15 mins before we got out and warmed up again in the sun. PC was very tempted to go in again but the sun felt too luxurious to move from. We had lunch break for 2 hours, it was so nice!
Walk on we must and we continued on our path past a few more smaller lakes and less beat up forest. Descending from our final climb for the day to Warner Valley Campground we spotted the pool at Drakesbad Ranch, could we fit 2 swims in today!? The path in this descent was really cool and cut into a cliff face, so we looked out at the valley the ranch is in through the tops of tall trees.
At the campground we met our pals Woodstock, Action and Seabiscuit. We quickly set up, as quickly as tired legs can, and made our way to the Ranch. We have heard mixed reviews about getting dinner here but we had a great experience once you got over being not allowed to sit on the deck because we are too stinky. As we were too early for dinner we headed over to the thermal pool and got to shower and then lounge in a pool sized spa. The three water is piped in from Springs 100m away and is only slightly pongy. All the Ranch guests are at dinner during this time so we got the whole pool to ourselves! We headed back to the hiker table, 15 m from the deck, and got a beer and a 3 course meal with salad and fresh food and a big slice of cake. There was ten of us and it was quite a party! At the end the staff brought out all the leftovers and Woodstock and Seabiscuit tried to put mushroom ravioli in their pockets to take back to camp for Action, but just couldn’t make it work. Xx Quiz