Distance hiked today: 30.8 miles / 49.6 km.
Lassen Volcanic National Park requires anyone camping there to have a bear can. I, and most other hikers, have already sent them home after the Sierras, so most people just hike through the 19 miles of the park to the other side to camp. But since I'd only managed to hike 5 miles after town yesterday, I was still 12 miles away from the park entry boundary. So to get to the park and all the way through it, I'd have to do nearly 31 miles today.
I got up super early and was hiking by 5am, just as the first signs of sunlight were starting to lift the darkness.
This park was part of the Dixie fire, so it too was all ash and death. I took a tiny side trip to see the Terminal Geyser (basically a steam vent for subterranean gasses), and saw Boiling Springs Lake which has a number of steam vents under it, keeping the temperature of the lake around 125 degrees F (52C). That's hot enough to cause 3rd degree burns, so no swimming here!
There have been sightings almost every day of a huge cinnamon bear in one of the meadows, so I made sure to make some noise as I walked through the tall grasses. Although it reportedly didn't care about people and sat contently in the meadow as people walked by, I didn't particularly want to run into it. I never saw it, but people not far behind me did see it later, so it was no doubt nearby.
There were lots of trees down that I had to step and climb over, and one huge pine tree that was somehow still alive and standing in the middle of a wasteland.
The last water source was a little stream through a grassy patch in the burn area, and miraculously there was not a single mosquito. I lay in the soft grass for a while, enjoying the serenity of this little meadow, and what is possibly the only meadow on trail free of mosquitoes.
I did make it to the other end of the park, leap frogging with a couple from the UK I'd met yesterday but otherwise only seeing a couple people. I camped in a patch of trees that were burned, but right around the edge was a row of live trees with nice tent sites underneath.
Total trail mileage: 1367.2 miles / 2199.8 km