Sunday, I received a text from a French friend I hadn't seen in almost 15 years. She was in the SF bay area and my phone number hadn't changed, so we met up for lunch, caught up, and discussed possibly staying or traveling with them in Paris, the south of France, and/or Vietnam this year. A big stroke of luck that we hadn't already left the area when she decided to reach out. Monday night we stayed our last bay area night with another set of friends to finalize the sale of my precious car of 17 years.
|Goodbye my old friend. Enjoy your retirement as a track car.|
Tuesday, we left the bay and headed for my hometown for some family time. It was great to see everyone, but especially my youngest niece and nephew, whom I hadn't seen since February -- little ones change so quickly! I did some short runs, including one with sis at 2 PM in 97F. These efforts were slow and difficult, and definitely included lots of walk breaks but at least I got them done.
Friday we drove to gorgeous Lake Almanor to stay with friends, and Saturday we headed over to Lassen National Volcanic Park to hike to the summit of Mt. Lassen. This hike starts at 8,500 ft, and is essentially switchbacks straight up what's left after the Volcano erupted in 1914.
Neither of us had hiked at elevation in the last decade, so we were excited to get some high elevation miles under our feet in preparation for hiking in the Andes in Peru.
|Snow! In California! In late July!|
|There were thousands of butterflies flying towards us on the last mile.|
|Glacial notch to the left, hikers on the switchbacks to the right.|
|Mt. Shasta view from the summit.|
|We made it!|
|Lake Almanor in the distance.|
It took us about 1.5 hours up, half an hour for lunch at the top, and an hour down. A guy in the parking lot was bragging about beating his PR up with a 45 minute ascent, which is seriously impressive. My advice would be to head up as early as you can. The park is in the middle of nowhere and the hike is even deeper in the park, so we didn't start until 11:30 AM. By the time we were on the trail, there was quite a bit of traffic, but everyone was very polite about stepping off the trail if you were faster than they were.
After we finished, we headed to Bumpass Hell to view the volcanic mudpots, but after about 0.3 miles, E and I agreed that we were too fried to do the 3 mile round trip hike and we'd already seen volcanic features in Yellowstone and Costa Rica. Instead, we drove through and out of the park and enjoyed some drinks and food at the Highlands Ranch Resort to recover. Refreshed, we headed back towards Lake Almanor.
I'd seen the PCT trailhead on our drive out to the park that morning, and I was insistent that we had to stop in case any hikers needed a ride to town (7 miles away on Highway 36). We parked at the trailhead around 5:05 PM, and within 1 minute, a British hiker from Manchester (trailname: scarface) walked up, excited to raid the coolers for a soda, and thrilled that we would be happy to give him a ride to Chester (or "the American Chester" as he called it). 5 minutes later, another hiker from South Carolina (trailname: boydrogo) arrived, similarly happy about the soda and ride. We chatted with them, told them about our friends who'd done the PCT last year, and our very minor day hike up Lassen, which isn't on the PCT (they'd done 23 and 24 miles each that day).
|PCT trailhead on Highway 36 with trail magic for the hikers.|