1373 to 1391 (head of Lost Creek on the Hat Creek Rim)
I'd thought I'd be avoiding the heat of the Hat Creek Rim because it is October. But fall has been unseasonably warm. So I was glad I had a plan for the 30 mile waterless stretch across one of the hottest places on the PCT. Start from the last water source at Subway Cave in the afternoon, hike as late as possible, then get down off the rim as fast as I could the next morning. How hard could it be?
|The Hat Creek Rim.|
|Real, unexpected trail magic- sweet gifts from a stranger.|
The last water source before the Hat Creek Rim is at Subway Cave, which turned out to be a fascinating place to visit. There was a 1/3 mile walk through the large lava tube, with informative signs explaining how it was formed. What a cool place!
Even under the shade of my umbrella, the exposed climb up to the Hat Creek Rim was horribly hot. It's been a while since I've carried that much weight in my pack, and my feet were killing me. I was drenched in sweat and feeling a bit dizzy from the heat. Ugh! I took breaks in what shade I could find to cool off about every hour, but I kept them short. I kept as fast a pace as I could manage, knowing I had to get through this section before I ran out of water. Heat stroke was a serious risk. No messing around.
So I kept hiking as long as I possibly could, til it started getting pretty dark and I couldn't make myself go any further. I hung at the head of Lost Creek Canyon, a bit off the trail. The sunset was gorgeous and I used my last bit of energy to walk over for a view.
|Sunset on the Hat Creek Rim.|