Archive for July 22nd, 2006

Destination: Past Badger Flat
Starting Location: North Fork Feather River
Today’s Miles: 22.70
Trip Miles: 1368.60
North Fork Feather River (1344.8, 5020) to Past Badger Flat (1367.5, 6293) ascent (2728) descent (1583)

Drakes Bad was an unbelievable surprise and I mean unbelievable. We had heard rumors that hikers had received a warm reception at the lodge within Lassen National Park. Arrive around lunch and after the guests have eaten you may be able to get some pretty good food. We marched in at 10:15 a.m. and candidly we were marching as if on a mission. We headed straight or what looked like a dining area. Then I saw him – coming fast from our flank, with authority, and clearly intent on intercepting us. Not an encouraging sign and he literally put up his hand and brought us to a halt. “On the trail you may need to rush but at Drakes Bad you must relax. Put your packs over here. Walk down this path to a shower with soap and towels provided, grab a soda and soak your tired muscles in the mineral pool. At 12:00 be here for an all you can eat buffer.” Uh – OK. While soaking in the springs someone asked “what is this going to cost us”. I looked around at the clientele, the European make SUV in the parking area and commented we might want to find out – this place is definitely expensive. Sugar Daddy is on the tightest budget so he was nominated to ask. He came back that lunch was $13.00 for guests but for us stinking hikers it was $6.00. The shower and soak was on our host as they wanted us clean and relaxed for lunch. When the lunch bell was rang we waited politely while the guests began to line up. Ed our now host came over and asked what we were waiting for. We explained that we thought we should wait for the paying guests to eat. “Nonsense, you need the food more than they do-get in there”. And the food was appropriate or the regular clientele who I am sure are used to such luxuries. But to hiker trash it was amazing and far far superior to the buffet at Tahoe. Five salads including a fruit salad with perfectly ripe raspberries, blue berries, and black berries. As we cleaned them out the brought more. This went on for two hours and then Ed brought out one of those giant industrial mixing bowls (5 gallons) that they had to use to mix chocolate frosting in. He brought five spoons and we smeared homemade cookies with chocolate frosting. The real guests looked on in amazement. When we were full beyond comparison which was an hour after they officially stopped lunch, Sunny, Tadpole and Rolling Thunder came in. This time Ed said “the kitchen must start preparing for dinner, so you must eat first, then take a shower to relax your tired muscles”. As we crawled out of Drakes Bad Ed and his lovely wife Billy gave us fruit for the road and wished us well on our journey. I am still in shock. For 14 miles after our stop we kept saying “did that just really happen”.
Nastya from the Ukraine is working at Drakes Bad for the summer. I met wonderful people like her last year in Alaska. They come to the U.S. to work in our National Parks. They are full of stories o hardships at home, and a true appreciation for the opportunity to see and work in America. She shyly asked if she could talk to and we quickly pulled up a chair. Then with incredible enthusiasm and broke English she blurted out “I want to hike this trail – how do I”. We loved her as she reminded us of ourselves when our hike was only a dream. We left her with PCTA.org as a place to start. As her break ended she glowed and stated “2008 I hike”. Watch for her as I have no doubt she will be one of us – nothing can stop that kind of passion and desire.


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