Day 109: Melting at the Trailhead
Saturday, July 7, 2018 5:55 pm
Location: Stover Spring (1334.8 miles)

We were up fairly late last night (by hiker standards), and so Quoi and I were not in any particular hurry to get moving this morning. (Also, Quoi had a headache she said was from sleeping funny.) As a result, we didn’t leave the motel until just after 10.

Dodo and Half Portion had left earlier to go to a coffee shop. We were going to go there to eat with them, and that took on extra urgency when it seemed like they may have taken the room key with them. Unfortunately, by the time we got to the coffee shop, half a mile down the road, they weren’t. (We supposed they had probably hitched back to the trailhead while we were on our way there.)

The coffee shop also didn’t have much in the way of substantial food, so we went to a restaurant a few doors down, Bite Me. While I was originally going to get breakfast, by this point it felt almost like lunchtime (and their lunch menu was available), so I got a cheeseburger with pineapple (yum!) instead, with a glazed doughnut for desert.

It was almost 1 pm by the time we left the restaurant to try and hitch back to the trail. We tried for a few minutes to get a ride, but standing in the hot sun was tiring, and there wasn’t really a good place to be seen and picked up from without walking back towards the motel (and trailhead).

We decided to go to Pizza Factory, which gives hikers rides to and from the trailhead for a nominal “delivery fee”. We waited there a little while for the driver to arrive to pick up a pizza for delivery, and we went with her.

After first dropping off a pizza, Laura delivered us to the trailhead, where a colorful decorated stone congratulated us for making it halfway. Now 1:50 pm, I doubted that we were going to make it the 18 miles to the Warner Valley Camp in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Additionally, Quoi was not feeling well; she had a headache she blamed on sleeping funny, so we sat down at the trailhead for a bit.

While we sat there, I became (what I thought was) unreasonably hungry while just sitting there, and ate some snacks. In retrospect, since it was then mid-afternoon, and all I had ate was one meal, I probably was legitimately hungry. And probably also becoming slightly dehydrated sitting in the half-shade under a tree on a hot afternoon.

With Quoi not feeling well, two options presented themselves since we couldn’t stay right where we were. First, we could go back to town, get some sleep, and hitch out early. Alternatively, we could just go to the next water source (with a conveniently located and very large campsite), 3.4 miles ahead, and then figure out what to do about tomorrow once we got there. We decided the latter of the two options was the way to go: it’d be cheaper, Quoi would sleep better, and we’d already be on the trail.

We wound up waiting at the trailhead until 4:30, chatting with a local for a short while, before we set off towards Stover Spring.

From the trailhead, next mile or so of trail was still owned by one of the paper companies that owned the trail’s land on the other side of the road, and near the trailhead, they had some informative displays on forest maintenance practices.

The trail to the spring was largely forested, without much in the way of views, and we got to Stover Spring shortly before 6 pm.

The spring itself was fed into a half-pipe, making it very accessible, and flowed into a small pond, whose outflow went between the trail and the campsites.

At camp, we decided on a plan for tomorrow. We’d have to make it at least 15.5 miles to the Warner Valley Camp, where we had expected to finish today, and putting us a day behind “schedule”. The goal would be to continue on to a campsite just past the northern border of Lassen Volcanic National Park, just outside of the requirement for having a bear can, making for a 30.8 mile day. Either way, we’d leave around 4:30 to allow for the long day and to beat the heat.