Day 14: Burney Falls State Park

PCT Mile 1409.8 to 1419.0

Miles Hiked = 9.2

Late yesterday afternoon I arrived at the Burney Mountain Guest Ranch after a 24+ mile hike across the Hat Creek Rim. The Guest Ranch caters to PCT hikers. Hikers sleep in their own tents on Ranch property but the Guest Ranch provides an number of other amenities that I will outline below.

My Tent at the Guest Ranch

The Guest Ranch also has a few cabins for rent to non-hikers as well as a restaurant for all guests but because of Covid-19 restrictions they have chosen only to service hikers this year and not to open their restaurant.

The Burney Guest Ranch is an awesome place for hikers to spend some time to “rest and recover”. I was able to take a shower and do my laundry. I picked up a resupply box that I had mailed to myself several weeks ago. I also rehydrated with water and multiple Gatorade drinks. The Guest Ranch is alcohol and drug free so unfortunately having a beer wasn’t an option but Gatorade and water worked well.

The Guest Ranch also has a well stocked “general store” that operates on an honor system. Hikers are able to help themselves to whatever they want in the store. Each hiker keeps an itemized list of “purchased” items and then settles up on departure. The store is geared towards hiker needs and has just about anything a hiker could possibly need on the trail.

They also have ice cream and awesome breakfast burritos!

As usual I was up early this morning and enjoyed some hot coffee and one of the aforementioned breakfast burritos. I spent most of the morning relaxing in the shade, visiting with a few other hikers, organizing my resupply for the next four days and updating this blog. The WiFi was very slow so it took a while just to upload photos and post three blogs.

My plan was to get back on the trail in the late afternoon and hike the 9-10 miles to Burney Falls State Park.

As I left the ranch at 3:15, my hiker friend John (with the big pack) was arriving at the ranch. We chatted for a few minutes and then hiked on. We weren’t sure if we would cross paths again – I have a much lighter pack and tend to hike more miles per day. HYOH is a hiker motto: “Hike Your Own Hike”.

As I left the Ranch I noticed a large Osprey in its nest on top of an electrical tower.

And then had a nice view of Mt. Shasta to the north – that’s where I’m headed.

The hike to Burney Falls State Park was a relatively flat pleasant walk through grasslands and woodlands.

As I approached the State Park I heard it – the UNMISTAKABLE sound of a rattlesnake giving it’s warning – and I hadn’t seen it first! That’s never happened to me before and I’ve seen quite a few rattlers over the years. Where was it!!! It took me a few seconds to locate the little basard (actually it was a good sized healthy rattler). Apparently it was just off the trail to my left and I walked right past him within a foot or two.

After I resumed my walk I passed the following sign – at least I’m closer to Canada!

When I got to the State Park I checked in with the ranger and paid $5 to camp in the designated area for hikers and backpackers. And then proceeded to the Falls Overlook.

Burney Falls
Burney Falls Video

Burney Falls is obviously quite spectacular but what’s interesting (if I understand this correctly) is that all this water comes from a spring less than one mile upstream from the falls. This isn’t snowmelt coming down a river for miles and miles and then over a falling over a cliff.

When I got to the designated area for hikers there was already a tent set up and some gear on the picnic tables … but no hikers. I went about my business – set up my tent, blew up my mattress pad, got some water (from a spigot for a change), prepared and ate my dinner, etc. Still no other hikers. And then they showed up. They were a young twenty-something couple and they were with the guys parents. Apparently PopTarts (the guy) had just proposed to Quotes (the girl) at the waterfall. They are all from nearby Redding, CA. PopTarts and Quotes started at the border three months ago and the guys parents were in on the surprise. Isn’t that romantic ( I’m really a big softie at heart).

Thanks for following!

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