Bucks Lake to Burney Falls

God is great! He knows me so well. With my three months of time on the trail, I have found absolute freedom and complete love. This past section has been somewhat of a return to the desert. Not that I need to relearn lessons of the past, but literally it has made me reflect on lessons lived!

  Leaving Bucks Lake I was renewed and refreshed. Having a Nero Day (not quite a day with no miles but less than 20 miles) can feel like a respit for the soul. I had a couple of excellent meals, cleanish clothes (laundered in the sink) and a bath, after scrubbing down in the shower, of course! Once I hit the trail, it was uphill and glorious. The trail was perfect, like carpet with meadows, wild flowers in amazing bloom and absolute quiet. Once I was in my right frame of mind, quiet was welcome. The peace you can only find when you are filled with the Holy Spirit. Nothing else matters, just walking with the Lord is all that one needs. I met two hikers this day, both asked me (totally God ordained), what is your purpose? It was a message from above. He wanted me to verbalize and rehearse why I was out in this place so raw and vacant of hikers. Each time I shared what I was hiking for “to share Gods love on the trail”.  This was a great reminder that I was right where I was suppose to be!

   I hiked up and over Bucks Summit  towards Belden. I had no idea what this town was all about and you literally walk through it. First of all, I’m not sure if population 12 equates to a township? However, there were 150-200 people lightly dressed, as I came walking in with shirt, skirt and shoes which made me feel completely overdressed. I called the trail angel and she came and whisked me away. The Brattens bought a ranch style home just so they  could cater to weary hikers. Such wonderful people on the trail that look out for us.

   Leaving Beldon, I had a 5000′ climb. The good part was that it’s over 15 miles so not too terribly steep, but just a long slow slog. I met a nice young man named Lifesaver, because he helps out stranded hikers with gear, water and anything you might be missing. Hence his name. He is section hiking and he tagged along with me for a couple of days. We had meaningful conversation about faith and religion. I found him seeking, wondering if Jesus really was the Son of God? God put it on my heart to share with him all that Jesus did on earth, his miracles, his love and compassion but most important, his resurrection and forgiveness. I never know who I am going to meet on the trail and as I have been told by many thru-hikers, you know everyone! My slower pace allows me to meet more people and I do believe that’s what I’m suppose to be doing out here. 

  Good news is I have made the Half Way point of the PCT, 1325 miles to Mexico and 1325 miles to Canada. I’m choosing to continue north and by God’s graces, I will be there before the end of September. Lifesaver was with me as we crossed the half way monument and we celebrated with dinner. He had Top Ramen and I had soup. No champagne or wine toasting but we enjoyed the accomplishment of  knowing the first half was behind us! Praise God for keeping me safe and sane as I place one foot in front of the other and share in his graces along the way. 

  Mount Lassen was my next hurdle. Lifesaver left the trail at Chester and once again, it was me and the Lord walking side by side. Of all my hiking partners, Jesus is always there. He never twists an ankle, never gets too tired, never abandons me and is always constant. We walked through this beautifully manicured forest after the many obstacle courses of the past few days. I was wondering if there was such a thing as trail maintenance since I was climbing over, crawling under or bush whacking through. But now I was in the land of perfected forest management. What I would give to have a trail like this in my backyard! It was stunning. Manzanita, both low lying and bush like, coniferous pines of all sorts, perfectly groomed trails with lush undergrowth under my feet and lovely blue skies. I visited Lassen NP a couple of years ago and fell it love. It truly is natures wonderland. 

   As I left Lassen, I entered Hat Rim Creek, however there is no creek to speak of. It is somewhere between Lassen and Shasta, the Rim of Fire is now upon me. When I left Old Station, my trail friends “The Ravens” hugged me and wished me well. I was wondering why they were so concerned but it became quite clear. Hat Rim is the hottest section of the trail. Some proclaim it is worse than the desert! It is a 29.4 waterless section on top of a plateau and is quite barren. There are sparse trees but once again, you are fighting off the cows for the shady spots. I left much too late as I stopped at JJ’s for breakfast. By the time I was into my twenty plus mile day, the tempatures had soared well into the nineties. By 1:30 pm I was frantically looking for shade. I do not like heights nor do i like heat! So for about two hours, I rested till I could move on. My pack was topped with six liters of water which was to last me through the following day. As long as I stop when it’s hot, I do conserve water. So rest it was till the heat dissipated. I found a lovely ridge line that I pitched my house on. Each night, I build my house of sorts, tent with inflatable mattress and miscellaneous stuff. I have definitely downsized, sending stuff home regularly but I’m at a point that everything I have is a necessary part of life on the trail. And that keeps my pack weight down considerably. As I was settling down, God painted this incredible picture perfect blazing sunset. I am forever in awe of his mighty handiwork. The thought of seeing Mt Shasta means that California is coming to an end. And I am ready to hike in another state. Just the thought of being in Oregon is welcomed. California is one long state!
  As I finished the Hat Creek Rim, I came upon a hind leg of a deer. That was a bit unnerving as I could only imagine some big cat had left it behind and had all intentions of returning. Needless to say, I walked a bit faster, but did not run as the big cat would want to chase me down. Another fear of mine, mountain lions! Oh my, amazing I make it out of my tent daily. After miles and miles of waterless, dry timber and brown grasslands, this water preserve appeared. There were cranes, white swans and pelicans floating in the water. It was so lovely and such a welcome sight. I had to soak myself which immediately dropped my core temperature down to a reasonable temp. Oh how I love water! The thought that truly all we require in manna and water. And God provides us with both. Whether we are wandering through the desert or the mountains, He has us covered. 

  The next few miles led me to Burney, a quaint town with properly clothed people and all the conveniences of home. My personal trail Angels Eva and Keith whisked me away to Mt Shasta for two days of rest and relaxation! The fine things in life were available like flush toilets, a bed with sheets and two pillows, and all the food and drink a hiker can devour. 

 So lesson learned this past week: All I truly need is God’s love. It’s interesting because it comes in so many different forms. Whether it is the way He paints the sunset or the sound of a bird chirping early in the morning. His love can be found through other people on the trail, their overwhelming kindness and incredible generosity. Gods love can be the warmth I feel from the sun or the flowing water over the trail when everything else seems so dry and dusty. When I take the time to listen for his breath, to look for his workmanship, to fellowship with others, I am amazed by all the love that surrounds me. God truly is love. I have felt nothing but His amazing presence every moment of everyday, as long as I take the time to walk the trail. 

 My friend Stacey Hansen had her 3rd grade class send letters of encouragement to me. Below is a beautiful picture one of her students drew for me. 
Know in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, not anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is found in our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 8:37-39 


4 thoughts on “Bucks Lake to Burney Falls

  1. Ms. Kelly, I have been following your journal for a couple of weeks now. It is so refreshing to read your stories with enthusiasm and God’s grace who has been with you.

    Be blessed, you are in my prayers.

    P. Matt Gilmore, Leavenworth Kansas.


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