June 9 – Warner Valley Campground, Lassen Natl. Volcanic Park to Old Station (PCT miles 1348 to 1377)

We awoke early, but Natty (the fourth of our party) was up at 4:30 and gone by 5 am. I got up soon after and was on the trail by 5:30. Today I need to at least exit Lassen Park (16 miles) because I do not have a bear can.

The weather was looking sketchy and sure enough it started raining on and off in the morning.

It did not take long for the others to pass me and we hike up a valley that had recently burned.

What was interesting is that the burn area was constrained to the valley and not the hills to either side – I wondered if it was driven by winds?

I did see one of my favorite flowers: Shooting Stars:

As well as another common pretty one

We hiked up to the east of Mt Lassen

We had originally planned to hike about 20 miles, but hit that point at 3:30 in the afternoon. We then decided to hike to the tiny city of Old Station where there was a Cafe and Store. I still have plenty of food, so while everyone else chowed down in the Cafe, I ate my regular dinner, augmented with a beer or two from the store.

After dinner, one of the hikers that caught up with us shared his harrowing tale I the Sierras. This is Sandals, a 17 year old lad from NewYork.

He was hiking solo through the snow-bound Sierras, just north of Muir Pass in May. It was snowing and he was in intermittent white-out. In that area, the trail is very close to the lakes, but because of all the snow, it was hard for him to tell if he was over land or lake…. until he broke through the ice and into the lake up to his chest. He struggled and eventually pulled himself out ot the water, but was not sure where snow-over-land was. He was soaked and cold and it was late in the day. Luckily, he had a satellite texting device and used it to send a message to his parents explaining his situation and asking if it would be OK if he issued an SOS to be rescued. The answer, in all caps, was “YES!”

After sending the rescue request and shivering on the ice in the storm, a rescue helicopter found him and hovered over the lake to collect him. They took him to Fresno, way to the west, where he spent a day drying out and then another day arranging transportation back to the east side of the Sierras to continue hiking.

What a tale!

Thanks for reading.

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