July 29th
Feather River(1345.5)-Warner Valley Campground/Drakesbad(1354.2)
Today’s Mileage: 8.7mi

I wanted to get an early start this morning because today I was headed to Drakesbad Guest Ranch. It is known as one of the best stops on the trail. The ranch is also a hot springs with four star rated food that tends to be pretty pricey. They are very welcoming to hikers and do a lot for us. I’ll get to the details later, but my hope was to visit there briefly, have lunch, laundry, shower, and move on. As you will see, I got pulled into the vortex and things didn’t go as planned…

I was really tired this morning. I’ve been motivating myself by telling myself that the miles I put in now will possibly save me from some cold and rainy days in Washington later on. I started hiking at 6:15am and walked pretty lazily. I’m just wiped out lately! It was nice rolling woods, my favorite.

As I walked, I started to smell the sulfur and remembered that I was in Lassen VOLCANIC National Park. I walked past the boiling pools and that was cool to see with steam rising out of it.

I got to the ranch around 10:30am and the only other hikers there were Liz, Meow Meow, and Funyan. The place is pretty great. Free showers and they do our laundry for us. They even give us fresh clothes while we wait. They have great unlimited meals and hikers pay half price! Liz had come in yesterday and was trying to decide if she should hike out today. I was trying to stay motivated and told her I’d hike out with her after a shower and lunch. When I went to shower, I ran into Sunshine’s mom and little sister. It was good to see them and I had just missed Balls & Sunshine. We had a great lunch and my motivation to leave was quickly diminishing. Ah! The Vortex!

The three of them convinced me to stay. I need the rest and it is good that there is no phone or Internet reception, so I can really let everything go. In the next few days, we are entering an extremely hot and waterless stretch. It looks like I’m going to stick with this group and we are going to night hike as much of it as we can. I think my body will be thankful for that too.

So, not the big miles I planned, but I need to just embrace the trail and go with what my body needs. I don’t want to run myself into the ground and it needs some rest. We were all talking about how we are all still recovering from the exhaustion of the Sierras and it’s good to know I’m not the only one feeling it. I know I’m still okay with time and I need to just do what I can without overexerting myself. I just can’t wait til I get my new shoes in a few days!

In the afternoon, we set up at the campground nearby and rested. I journaled and actually napped, which I never do! I guess I really needed it. Spice Rack came in and will zero here tomorrow. We had rack of lamb and salmon for dinner. Mason and his mom(who I met two days ago) came in just before dinner and we all ate together. Again, everyone went into more detail about how tired their bodies are and the stress we feel to finish quickly. It’s really good to know I’m not the only one going through this.

Then we all soaked in the hot springs pool before bed.

Yep, I’m happy I stayed and my body feels a ton better! This may be the best nights sleep I’ve had in weeks!

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