Peavine Creek – Burney Mountain Guest Ranch
22.9 miles.
1945ft up. 3374ft down.

So it’s my birthday. I woke up early and I was packed up and on the trail by 6:30. I wanted to find somewhere with cell service so I could call my parents before it got too late. Catwater had planned to get going earlier than me so she could drop into Burney Falls to pick up her resupply package and then continue on the Burney Mountain Guest Ranch, but she was still in her tent when I left. ‘See you later’ I shouted.

I hiked really fast. I didn’t want to think about anything so I gave myself physical pain, it hurt my legs and it hurt to breathe, so that was all I could focus on. Just because it’s my birthday I shouldn’t feel the need to go over everything that’s wrong with my life. Today is the start of a new chapter in the book and it’s time to turn your mindset around. No more wallowing in self pity. No more mind games. No more self torture. No more.

I made it up and out the trees. Today’s elevation is minimal. It should be a cruise along the trail. I got service and saw a bunch of nice birthday messages. I called my parents. I called my Nan. I reached out to Instagram for some birthday love. 34. Old enough to know better, young enough not to care. That’s about right.

I hike on and spend a lot of time looking at my phone. I trip multiple times and I’m surprised I managed to stay upright. I hike in and out of the trees, I thought I would be able to make it to the Ranch to use to loo, but unfortunately I had to duck off the trail and release the hostages.

The trail was easy and it was full of golden grasses and it had a distinct autumnal feel. There were no bear tracks that I could see so I put my audio book on. I’m listening to a Dan Brown book, and I’ve been screaming for 94 chapters that Sienna is the dodgy one, finally it is revealed. Too obvious Mr Brown.

I make it to the Britton Dam, half way for the day, I hike on past the turning for Burney Falls. I don’t need to see the waterfall again, then there is a large campground with a pit toilet. Possibly the nicest pit toilet on the trail. Spotless and fragrant! I spend some quality time in there, I geeked out looking up the details of the new iPhone, I got rid of my trash and used toilet paper and now I’m going ultralight!

I move on and suddenly the trail get hot. So hot. I feel like the sun is scorching the back of my legs. I’m red in the face and sweaty. The trail is exposed, there are some burnt trees and some Manzanitas and no shade. Thankfully the trail is pretty much flat. I approach the Wild Bird Cache which last year was a tropical oasis. This year it was slightly different, there was a barrel of water which I was grateful for because the water I had was boiling hot, so I guzzled half a litre and quickly moved on.

About a mile away from the road to Burney a car is driving along one of the many dirt roads we crossed today, and he offers me a ride to town. That would have been great had I been going to town.

Eventually I see a sign for the Guest Ranch. This wasn’t here last year. It opened up in May this year and people have been saying really good things about it so we thought we would give it a try. On the way I saw a massive birds nest on the top of a pylon which I later found out was an Osprey. Cool.

I walked into the ranch at 2:45pm. There was no one around and a sign on the door saying back at 3. There was a fridge outside and a sign for hikers letting them know the deal. I opened the fridge and so much goodness was inside. I got myself a dirty Mountain Dew and an ice cream sandwich and sat at the table. The owner Linda comes along and greets me. She hands me a scoop of homemade strawberry ice cream which was heavenly.

I sit and do nothing for a while and Linda offers to take me down to the fish hatchery with her grandkids, I am happy just sitting. Then I spy a kitten. Lucky. And he is adorable. He sits on my lap and I am a very happy person. He is a funny little thing, he buries his face in my armpit for a while. I’m not sure that was the best thing to do but he seemed to be enjoying it.

I play with him for a good hour and a half until I see a couple of people coming in, it’s Crusher and Spice Rack. Then about half an hour later Catwater comes in.

They have a good set up here, they offer a $25 dollar package that gets you camping, shower, laundry, use of the pool, a resupply package held, and dinner. But lucky old me got treated to a room by Catwater, because it’s my birthday! We got washed up and there were loaner clothes to wear while we did our laundry.

We had burritos for dinner and it was so nice to be sat inside around a table. Although I can’t not use my hands to eat. I have pretty much forgotten how to use a knife and fork. After dinner Linda brings out a chocolate brownie with a candle in and I get a rendition of Happy Birthday. I encourage the kids to help me blow out the candle, they watch me as I eat my brownie. They want some but I eat it all. I’m nice, but I’m not that nice.

Crusher and Spice Rack share an Epsom Salt foot bath. I’m pretty sure their feet are touching. Erugh.

I go to bed happy. It’s been a good day.


I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Donate here.




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