Pacific Coast Sierra Cascades Bike Trip Day 40 – From Cool to Hot

Up at 6 and on the road to take advantage of the cool air for the 2,000-foot climb to the high point on the park road. The 6,500-foot elevation and winter snow created small creeks and green meadows. I passed by a bubbling mud pot then aptly named Emerald Lake then Lake Helen (see photo) near the road summit. The road crested on the southern flank of Lassen Peak then headed down steeply through forest for 8 miles and less so for 10 more. At the store near the southern entrance to the park, I ate two sweet rolls to keep my stomach satisfied. At the junction with Hwy 44, I turned northeast gaining a bit of elevation then descended for 10 miles to the Old Station store where I stopped on the PCT. Today, I bought a pint of ice cream and enjoyed it all. Back on the bike, I headed toward Burney Falls State Park, 30 miles away, losing elevation imperceptibly through burned areas in which all trees had been killed. I could see the infamous Hat Creek Rim above me to the east. This 15-mile stretch of dry, hot trail tests the mettle of PCT hikers. Jumbles of lava rock appeared here and there. The early afternoon sun and heat took a toll on me. I had only warm water to drink. Finally, about 1:30 pm, I reached the park and waited in line to get in. I got a $5 hiker-biker site with some shade. I set up camp, took a shower, and bought a pint of chocolate milk to revive. Back at camp I took a 3-hour nap. After dinner, I biked to the Burney Falls overlook to appreciate the sight in the cool of the evening. I ran into two PCT section hikers just starting their trip. Back in the tent and in the prone position by 8 pm. 71 cool then hot miles today.

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