July 18, 2022
Burney at mile ~1411.3 to Peavine Creek Campsite at mile 1432.7
I wake myself up drooling all over my sleeping pad. Oh, gross. Hikers are so attractive. It’s pretty late when I actually become conscious, around 8, but no one else seems to be moving yet either. We pack up, check to make sure we have everything, and then head out. Thank you, Word of Life! What a wonderful place to stay in Burney.
We make a quick trip to McDonald’s after that. I order two McGriddles (because I remember clearly that I regretted not getting more than one the last time) and an Egg McMuffin, along with a large iced coffee. I’m determined to enjoy the thru-hiker volume of consumption for as long as I can.
Jumbo runs to the post office while we order and comes back wearing his new blue sun hoodie. Ridge Merino replaced his old black one for free because it had some weird sun bleaching. Meanwhile, Tribute found an excellent shirt in the hiker box and ditched his old holey hoodie. Now we all have shirts in various shades of blue. The blue crew!
After breakfast we start hitching on the side of the road. Jumbo has just made a comment about how it will take a long time when a guy pulls up in a very nice truck and takes us back to the PCT. I’ve hitchhiked countless times before, but every time I’m just amazed by people giving rides to us weirdos.
The first seven or eight miles of the day are really mellow, and I walk them with Jumbo, talking about something or other. We stop for water at a campsite and meet Stealth, a woman with the gentlest, most amazing Scottish accent. She and Jumbo commiserate about being people from the UK in the sun, which amuses Tribute and me.
Not long after this is the turn-off for Burney Falls. We take it and wind up in a state park crawling with tourists and day hikers. It’s a bit of a shock. Before going down to the falls, we make a trip to the general store for soft serve ice cream. I get a small chocolate-vanilla swirl. Naturally, Jumbo orders a large one and it’s a total beast. In this same store, Tribute buys a tiny little gnome-like critter with a nose sticking out of a bushy beard. It looks shockingly like him. “His name is Samuel,” he says. Samuel now lives in the mesh pocket of Tribute’s phone pouch, and this gives me life.
The falls, when we finally make it down to them, are magnificent. Water tumbles from a stream as well as below-ground channels to make a curtain of water all the way across the rock. We don’t go all the way down because the day is getting on now, but we take some good pictures from the trail leading to the base of the falls.
Back on the PCT, we have a few more chill miles before it starts to get hilly. We cross a dam that appears to be under construction, then start heading uphill. It’s not my favorite. I’m hot and slow, like I always am right when we get out of town. Soon, though, we come upon a footbridge at Rock Creek and find a beautiful little spot under it for soaking our feet. The water feels so good. I eat a snack while we’re there too, and I feel a bit restored.
The hill after the creek looks scary on Guthook, but it’s not that bad. I find some cheese from somewhere, put on some music, and rock up it. The choice of the evening is Taylor Swift. Do not @ me. T-Swift is choice hiking music. Do you ever fantasize about singing karaoke to “All You Had to Do Was Stay” and absolutely slaying so hard that you bring the house down? Because I do. All the time. While I’m rocketing up the trail.
I stop for water at a steep off-trail spring, but apart from that, I’m all motion. Soon the hill ends and my energy wears off and then the sun is setting sweetly, melting through the trees. I’m feeling a little more peaceful now. I turn the music off and coast until I see a few tents set up. It’s not exactly at the crossing where we planned to stop, so I wait for a few minute for Jumbo to catch up.
When he does, we go down the trail to a gravel road near Peavine Creak. Neither of us us sure about where Tribute is, but when we get to the crossing, he’s there waiting with his pack on. When he sees us, he bounces around excitedly, exclaiming in is best cretin voice, “Greetings! I am the crackhead of the forest!” Jumbo and I crack up.
We find a relatively flat spot down one of the intersecting gravel roads and set up our tents. It’s late, but I still eat a quick dinner before I brush my teeth and get horizontal.