July 9, 2016 - Well I had my first bear encounter on trail last night. Right as I’m about to go to bed, around 9pm, I heard some noise outside my tent. I didn’t think much of it then hear some louder noise. I then get out of my tent and saw a bear walking around the camp. The bear was hanging out around the fire pit where a group had eaten at not long ago. We all tried to scare it off but it didn’t seem to care but after a few minutes it walked off towards where the family had hung their food. Myself and another group try to warn the family whose food the bear was going after but the family didn’t seem to care, I guess they felt like they hung it high enough, they were wrong. For about 10 minutes I kept hearing branches break then finally heard I big thump of something hitting the ground. I wasn’t sure if it was the bear or food but I wasn’t about to go check so I went to sleep as the noise had stopped. However later in the night I was woken up once thinking the bear had come back but it didn’t appear to, my mind was planning tricks on me I guess.
I tried to get up early around 5am but was too tired so slept an extra hour before getting moving again. As I was packing up I hear the others say the bear was still around and at the location of where the food was hung last night. Sure enough as I was hiking out of camp I could see the bear eating. Not sure why the bear was still around, maybe it fell and got hurt or maybe once it got the food just decided to sleep on it and eat it in the morning. I wasn’t going to wait around so I got out of there as fast as possible.
The morning hike was the easiest it has been in awhile, completely flat so made good time as I left Lassen National Park. Because of the clouds Lassen Peak was hard to see but as I was leaving I got few great views.
The trail stayed really flat all the way to Old Station, where I picked up a few lunch items, and to Subway Cave where I ate lunch. Subway Caves was about a half mile off trail but I needed to stop there for water as it would be my last water source for the next 30 miles. I would be started the Hat Creek Rim part of the trail which is normally very hot and expose hiking. I stayed at the caves longer than planned but didn’t want to hike during the hottest part of the day.
The afternoon weather wasn’t too bad as I had lots of clouds so it wasn’t too bad of a hike except for all the rocks which just killed my ankle. I got very lucky because from what I read this area is normally the hottest and driest part of Northern California.
Slowly those nice clouds started to turn darker and more into rain clouds. However I was still several miles from where I planned to camp and didn’t have any other camping options. I figured I wanted to find a camp spot soon as possible as I was in a very exposed area and thought I could be dealing with lightning. So I left the trail and headed towards some trees. No real campsite as lots of high grass but was able to find a little spot under a tree to camp. Right after I setup my tent and ate dinner was when the rain started. It appears to have stopped for now but still some grey clouds out there.