SOBO – Day 96 Warner Valley Camp to Highway 38 – 32km

If yesterday was spa day then today definitely has to be sight seeing tourist day. We get a pretty late start to the morning, last nights dinner feeling heavy and strange in our bodies. We set out to cross Hot Springs Creek outside Drakesbad Ranch. We find boiling creeks running off the side of the hill and into the Creek. This must have been where they sourced the water for the pool at the resort. 

Early morning hot springs

We first passed boiling lake, a rather large white sludge pool. There appears to be limestone or something colouring the water. The pine tree forest is interrupted by these oozing outlets or steam and boiling liquids, it’s so surreal and looks so unnatural, but I guess it’s just natures pimples after all. 

We didn’t want to get too close

This cauldron pit was bubbling and really smelly

We head on to Terminal Geyser, another side trip off the PCT. the Geyser really knew how to put on a show spewing out hot jets of vapour and splurts of water. The Geyser then accumulated in a hot spring and made its way down into another valley. It’s amazing how all the flora can deal with these temperatures, the hot springs creating their own little micro-climates. 

Terminal Geyser

We head down to North Fork Feather River for lunch. We pass some trail magic on the way and grab a cold gatorade. Trent and optimistic turtle are also there. Trent is riding his horse from Mexico to Canada! We actually met him on our first day and both reminisced about how he and Princess Layers had both been stung by bees on that first day coming out of Campo. 

Trent’s horse (not Gary)

Trent, Trent’s horse and Gary the pack horse

Quiz and I have a swim at lunch and then make our way up the final climb for the day. It’s pretty hot and the climb seems to go on and on. We also pass some stunning campsites with lush views off ridges as we make our decent into Chester. 

Afternoon mountain views

Pretty ridge walking

We reach highway 36 at 4:30pm. I see a man dropping some hikers off and immediately run over and ask for a ride into town. We get in the car with Keith and local Forest Service man. He has lots off environmental views on how California does not manage its forest properly and is definitely willing to talk if you can spare the time. 

Old 4th July signage Chester

In Chester we go straight for pizza and then beer, somethings never change! 

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