The day started out quite nicely-- perfect early morning hiking temperatures, sunrise, animals, birds. I passed through a fairly big burned section-- I find them a bit disconcerting and creepy, but it is a natural cycle in a healthy forest like this
I was paying close attention to my guide and my apps this morning, because I didn't want to miss the cool things coming up.
Like the side trail to the steam vent
The Drakesbad Ranch is famous on the PCT for its good, cheap, large portioned food. I arrived around 11 am, plenty of time before lunch. I learned that while I waited for lunch to be ready, the price for lunch also got me use of the ranch facilities! So I took a lovely shower, used the pool, and got my dirty smelly hiker clothes all set for laundering.
Lunch was spectacular. Since hikers get food at such a significant discount and also get use of the amenities, its only fair that the real guests eat first, and then we hit the lunch buffet afterward. No worries. Tons of food. We were all at a hiker-table on the deck outside the dining area. It was the best food I had eaten since the start of the hike.
After lunch, I was all set to do a quick load of laundry, change back into my hiking clothes, and bust out some miles. But then there were some generator issues. "Don't worry. This happens all the time. Takes 30 minutes to fix." I could wait 30 minutes. Or an hour. Or two. My lunchtime stop continued to stretch longer and longer while I waited for a working washing machine and lounged by the pool. Just when I was about to just put my yucky smelly clothes back on, the washing machine was fixed! Which meant that by the time everything was washed and dried, it was so close to dinner time, it made sense just to stay. Dinner was delicious!
I camped at the campground 1/2 mile up trail from Drakesbad. And while I hadn't expected to have a 10 mile day (in an area where I had been averaging close to 25) it was an unexpected rest and a great experience.
Interestingly, I had been finding that in the mornings, when I opened my cliff bars to eat, the sayings on the wrappers had been oddly accurate reflections of the day. ("Get your feet wet" and it would rain. "Do some stargazing" on clear nights with shooting stars)
Here is my wrapper from that morning: