a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL
starts with a single step.
Miles 1218.5 to 1234.1 (15.6 Miles) Best Shasta View camp to Burney Falls Campground
Today we will see Flamin' Hot again - one of our closest friends from last year on the PCT! He is back as well to complete almost the same section we are hiking now, but in the opposite direction!
When we get up, our new friends from yesterday are just about to leave and we sadly have to say goodbye to them. But it was great to actually talk to people again yesterday.
Luckily it didn't get too cold during night and we slept well without putting on the rainfly. We leave at 7am and are very fast today. First of all it is all downhill and secondly we have to be at Burney Falls at 2pm, where we are supposed to meet with Flamin' Hot.
We only take one shorter break in the woods and then continue. Finally we are out of the woods! I like forest, but this one here wasn't my favourite at all! Way too hot, way too humid, and way too overgrown - I felt like being somewhere in the jungle.
Soon we reach a raging river flowing 60 feet down there in the valley. Luckily there is a bridge crossing it. After the crossing it is only one hour more or so until we get to a big dam which have to cross. Cool, last time we walked on a dam was in the SoCal desert right after the hotsprings, so more than one year ago.
After the dam there is one last smaller mountain to climb and then we are on a flat plain until we get to Burney Falls. At exactly 1.55pm we enter Burney Falls National Park and are standing in front of the general store precisely at 2pm! Like Swiss clockwork. But Flamin' Hot is nowhere to be seen. But that isn't a big surprise, he is a man of many talents, but timing probably isn't one of them...
We decide to check out the store in the meantime and end up with a hotdog and chips. Still no Flamin' Hot... But then there are two other hikers coming from the south, maybe they know him and can tell us something about his whereabouts? Turns out it is Alix and Maxime, a couple from France. And it also turns out they know Flamin' Hot very well! They tell us that he was half an hour tops behind them, they started together and then he planned to have a longer break. But it is now almost 3pm and he is nowhere to be seen.
Since the two Frenchies are also planning to camp at Burney Falls we all decide to hit the store again and get some big scoops of ice cream, a beer and wait together for Flamin Hot. But at 3.15pm he is still not here! That is a bit weird... Now there are two more hikers coming in from the south, another couple, this time from Missouri. We ask them about Flamin' Hot, but they don't know him and haven't seen anyone today matching his description.
Hmm.. well.. that means he has to be behind the French couple, but in front of the Missouri couple... Only way that is possible is... that he is already here! Maybe he's just not waiting here in front of the general store (the most assumable place for hungry hikers), but maybe down here by the actual waterfalls! I immediately run the .3 miles down and THERE he is! He has been waiting here for more than one hour! We wrongly assumed that it was kind of clear we would wait in front of the store but actually he is right, we just said Burney Falls... which would be the falls, I guess.
Anyways, we give each other a big hug, catch up on a lot of things and go up again to the store, where Maya gets a big hug as well. The Frenchies and the Missouries are all here as well and we have a big feast! Yes, Flamin' Hot brought some wine, cheese and even a prosciutto from Burney, which will be the next stop for us.
We all make friends very quickly, get some more beers and two more bottles of wine from the store when Flamin' Hot suggests to go swimming at the falls. Having already drunken one or two beers, this suggestion sounds awesome and all of us go down (again, for me and Flamin' Hot). The girls realize that the water is terribly cold, but me and the two other boys jump in anyways. Unfortunately the girls were totally right, it is insanely cold! But we still jump in for a second round, but then decide that it is probably enough now, since there is a rather strong current next to the falls and we are so cold that we are looking like dogs helplessly trying not to drown.
Now it is time for hot shower at the campground which feels amazing!
A bit later we have dinner with around 12 hikers on two tables. It turns into one of the best evenings on our 2019 PCT adventure! We all laugh together, tell off and on trail stories, eat dinner together and drink some more wine. But then at 11pm we have to call it a day, since everyone has to get up earlyish tomorrow. But before we cuddle into our sleeping bags, Flamin' Hot tells us that he will be attending a wedding in Bulgaria this August and has decided to visit us in Switzerland on that same trip! What an amazing surprise! We can't believe it and can't wait to see him that soon again!