The day started with a big climb out of the valley. It was cool and shady in the am, passing through trees. Good for getting in big miles. I passed a few other people who had eaten at the ranch the day before, at various camping spots that I had considered aiming for. Just as well-- I was well fed and eager to move.
As I passed through Lassen, I once again found that on the PCT, if there is an alternate route, take it! I took an alternate recommended on the Guthook app that allowed me to pass by 7 lakes in the span of 7 miles. Were I to stick to the PCT, I would have gone through a burn area with no shade and had a 14 mile waterless stretch! (always, always, always take the alternate!) And though my alternate route was very pretty, and I was able to dip my feet in the lakes when I stopped for snack breaks, the lakes were not deep enough to swim in. The effects of 5 years of drought were really starting to show!
At long last, I rolled into Old Station. Like Belden, it wasn't so much a town and a campsite with its own zipcode. And after the great food and wonderful hospitality of the ranch the day before, it was a bit of a letdown, as well. The folks at Old Station seemed less than thrilled to have hikers passing through. I ran into Queen Bee and Prickly Pear, who had hauled butt to get to Old Station the day before, bypassing the steam vent, boiling springs, and ranch. Only to find that the post office had limited hours and they had to wait until the next afternoon (today) to get their package. I should probably mention that the post office was IN the general store. And the workers for the store and the post office were one in the same.
And when I went in to purchase my Dr Pepper and ice cream cookie sandwich? I got the dirtiest look from the clerk. And kind of a mean comment. What gives? I'm an absolute delight! Ok- maybe not an absolute delight after 24 miles of hiking when I'm tired and hungry, but at least I'm courteous to the people with the ice cream. No need to be mean!
On the flip side, the guests at the campground were overjoyed to see actual thru-hikers who had done what Reese Witherspoon had in that movie. And gave me watermelon and s'mores in exchange for stories of the trail.
I camped just outside the boundaries of the campsite that night, fighting off a small critter all night. I think it was a weasel. The good news is that the UR sack is weasel proof.
Peace love and trail magic