Soon after leaving the river, I ran into trail magic! A cooler full of sodas had been left at a dirt road crossing. I’m not even a huge fan of soda, but the chance for a cold, flavored drink can’t be resisted. I took a short break to drink an orange soda.

I entered Lassen Volcanic National Park soon after and got to see some of the geothermal features there.

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First was Terminal Geyser, which is not actually a geyser. It is a very hot spring that just steams constantly. I held my hand over the stream running down from it to feel the heat.

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Next was Boiling Springs Lake. It was a strange green color and I could see more hot springs bubbling up in various parts of it, steaming or spewing mud. Hikers have to be careful to stay on the trail because the lake shore could cave in with weight on it.

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I hiked away from the geothermal features and eventually stopped at Lower Twin Lake for dinner. I wanted to go for a swim but it was shallow and mud just lifted from the bottom when I moved. I don’t like swimming in lakes where I come out dirtier than when I went in so I only waded.

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I intended to hit a certain campsite for the night, but it turned out to be in an old burn area and I didn’t like the number of dead trees hanging around. It was close to dark but I kept moving.

I hit the park boundary and a trail register there. I saw The Animal had just passed, when I thought she was behind me. She must have gone by while I was using the ladies’ tree. I figured I’d go a little farther and see if I could catch her to camp with, but all the potential camping areas suddenly disappeared and I was hiking through steep, brushy terrain. I knew there was another campsite coming up in a mile or so, so I got my headlamp out and kept going. I found Animal and Tiny cowboy camped just where the ground leveled out again and joined them. Animal hadn’t seen my pack leaning against a tree when she passed me so she had been trying to catch me, thinking I was still in front of her.

26.4 miles today.