July 20, 2017
Mile 1394.33 – Burney Mountain Guest Ranch (1394.33-1407.2)
We slept in a bit this morning, knowing it would be a short hike into the guest ranch. The beginning of the morning was quite beautiful, while we were still up on the ridge getting great views of Lassen and Shasta, and the morning air was still cool. As the morning went on, we descended into the valley, and the day grew hotter and hotter. It totally felt like being back in the desert, until it started to feel like it wasn’t even North America anymore, like I had been magically transported to another land, maybe somewhere in Africa or Australia. It was open, exposed, and hot. The dramatic snowy peak of Shasta loomed over everything, making the landscape feel even more alien.
Eventually, the landscape changed again, and we were walking through trees, past rivers and lakes. The dry section had ended. We reached the side trail to Burney Mountain Guest Ranch, walking under buzzing electrical wires and the beating sun, feet aching from walking over lava rock all morning. The ranch is an awesome, if a bit odd, place. For 25 bucks hikers can get a place to pitch their tent, access to shower and laundry facilities and the pool, and a meal. You can sign up for additional meals as well. Everything is done under the honour system. Hikers carry a little receipt around with them during their stay, marking down the goods services they use and pay up the tab when they leave. Even the general store is run like this. You just walk in, take what you want, and write it down on your receipt. It feels weird. But the people who run the place are incredibly kind and friendly, and it’s kind of a hiker paradise in the middle of this hot, dry section.
When we arrived, we immediately sat down for lunch. They had burgers and hot dogs, and a black bean burger for yours truly. After we had eaten, we showered and did our laundry, which of course felt amazing. Then we basically sat around using the WiFi until dinner time. For dinner there were amazingly huge burritos and salad. It feels so good to eat real, home cooked food. We picked up our resupply boxes after dinner, and of course had WAY too much food for the next 4 days into Mount Shasta. We gave a bunch of food to another hiker named Wolf, because it was just too ridiculous to carry. After dinner, we went for a quick swim in the pool, even though it was starting to cool off, and got ready for bed. Tomorrow will be a full day of hiking, and we’ll get to see Burney Falls which I’m definitely excited about.