Day 10: Into Lassen Volcanic National Park

PCT Mile 1331.3 to 1350..3

Miles Hiked = 19.0

After a zero day yesterday in Chester, I was ready to get back on the trail. Dan – the owner of the Antler Hotel in Chester where I stayed – was nice enough to give me a ride back to the PCT. It was eight miles out of town so I was very appreciative of his kindness.

I was back on the trail at 7:15am. It was another beautiful day in the Southern Cascades with clear blue skies. But, it was in the mid- 40’s, so after getting dropped off at the trailhead I confidently started hiking in my thin Patagonia wind jacket over my hiking shirt. The elevation was just over 5000 feet.

The first few miles of the trail were as easy as the trail ever gets – smooth dirt forest trail with little elevation change. As I walked along quickly, I warmed up.

The trail slowly started to increase in elevation and was lined with manzanita bushes through the pine tree forest.

After about five miles, the trail broke out of the forest and went along a ridge line. I was still south of Mt. Lassen but had my closest views of the southern most active volcano in the Cascade Range which last erupted in 1917 and is almost 10,500 feet high.

Mt. Lassen

My father, when he lived in nearby Lake Almanor over twenty years ago, used to drive to the Lassen Peak Trailhead and run the 2.5 miles with 2000 feet of elevation to the top of the peak in less then an hour!

A little before 11:00am, after nine-plus miles of hiking, I crossed over the North Fork of the Feather River.

I had crossed over this same river four days ago in Belden. It is a much bigger river in Belden as Belden is more down-river.

I stopped and had lunch next to the river (Joyce: note the Fritos!) and collected some water. As a reminder, water is always assumed to be contaminated – even from a crystal clear stream – and is filtered via a micro-filter into a clean bottle before it is consumed.

After lunch the trail continued up another 1000 feet over the next six miles – a relatively minor increase in elevation. I had more views of Mt Lassen as well as a large alpine meadow.

Just before 2pm, after hiking fifteen miles, I entered Lassen Volcanic National Park.

There is a spring right on the park boundary called Boundary Spring. I collected a little more water.

A mile later I took a side trail to visit Terminal Geyser.

Terminal Geyser

It’s not really a geyser – it’s a big steam vent and it’s a little disappointing if you’ve ever visited Yellowstone.

Then I walked by Boiling Springs Lake

Boiling Springs Lake

And then by Drakesbad Guest Ranch

Drakesbad Guest Ranch

I once had dinner with my father at Drakesbad back in the 1980’s.

One of the rules of Lassen Volcanic National Park is that all overnight backpackers carry an approved bear canister if camping overnight within park boundaries. The exception to that rule is if you camp in the Warner Valley Campground which has metal bear resistant containers in each campsite. So, that’s where I camped. Plus there were picnic tables and pit toilets!

Thanks for following!

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