Tag Archives: Burney Falls

PCT Season Coming

In late May, a trickle of trekkers begins to flow through the Intermountain area. This is the beginning of a stream of hikers making their way on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).

PCT sign in Burney Falls Park

The PCT is a 2,659 mile long trail from the U.S. border with Mexico just south of Campo, California to the Canada–US border on the edge of Manning Park in British Columbia. It passes through 25 national forests and 7 national parks.

The PCT was conceived by Clinton Churchill Clarke in 1932 and received official status as a National Scenic Trail in 1968 under the National Trails System Act of 1968. The trail was officially completed in 1993.

Thru hikers are those who make the journey all the way from Campo to the Canadian border. One of the first things that they do as they join the PCT community is choose colorful trail names by which they will be known throughout their journey.

Tapafla, 1 Gear, 6 Tacos, and Lo Flo at Burney Falls Park

The journey takes about five months. Hikers generally begin the first part of their journey through the desert of Southern California in April. In order to make it to Canada by late September, they need to establish a steady pace. The pace varies with each hiker but generally averages between 20 and 25 miles a day. A few energetic hikers hike up to 30 miles a day. Sometimes the hikers take a “zero” day to rest. On “nero” days, the hikers take it easy and don’t hike the full pace that they have set.

One of the sayings of the trail is “It’s not the miles, but the smiles.”

But it’s not all smiles. Even in the spring, the first part of the journey through the desert is hot. Many suffer from blisters. People develop strategies to beat the heat, often resting during the hottest part of the day and hiking at night.

The next leg of the trek is through the Sierras. Depending on the snow pack, each year is different. During the drought, the trail was passable early. Last year, there was more snow, which caused a log jam in the southern Sierras as people waited for the snow to melt. Streams were high and perilous to cross. The early hikers had to cross miles of snow and camp in the cold.

Some hikers, like the Brit Family Robinson, decided to “skip hike,” renting a car to drive north.

Brit Family Robinson at 299 crossing

The Brit Family Robinson had two of the youngest hikers on the trail last year, Pippy Longstocking, age 12 and Captain Obvious, age 10. Their father Christopher is an international trail guide who has hiked in the Himalayas, Mongolia, Alaska, and the Andes.

Other hikers, waiting for the snow to melt, congregated in towns and camps to rest and socialize. One 63 year-0ld hiker, Desert Steve from Henderson, Nevada, took the opportunity to go home and rest for two weeks before continuing on.

Desert Steve from Henderson, NV

Once the trail becomes passable, the backlogged flow of hikers streams through the Sierras. The highest altitude on the trail is 13,153 feet as it passes though Forester Pass.

After passing over the Sierras, the trail meets the Cascade Mountain range near Chester, California. This is the midpoint of the journey. Crossing over Mt. Lassen the hikers enter the Pit River Watershed area as they descend to Hat Creek at Old Station. Old Station Post Office is one of the places that hikers can pick up resupply packages sent to them from friends and family.

The Family – Farwalker, Thunderfoot, Widowmaker, and Spinner

The flow of hikers through the Intermountain area reaches its crest in July and early August. By that time the summer heat has hit our area. From Old Station, hikers transverse a thirty mile waterless stretch across Hat Creek Ridge to Cassel lake. This is one of the hottest driest stretches of the PCT.

Last year during the hot spell, a trail angel, Coppertone, set up his trailer on top of the ridge, where the trail crosses Bidwell Road to supply the hikers with water, fresh fruit, and ice cream floats. Coppertone is well known for his “trail magic.” He takes his trailer and sets up at locations all the way to Canada to minister to the hikers.

Dilly Dally and Coppertone on Hat Creek Ridge

Trail angels are important benefactors of the PCT. Angels provide food and water stashes, camping sites and lodging, rides to and from the trail and other help.  Another saying is “The trail provides.”

After crossing Hat Creek Ridge, the hikers come to Baum Lake. They can rest and get water at the Crystal Lake Fish Hatchery across the road.

Hikers rehydrating at Crystal Lake Fish Hatchery

Then the trail goes on to cross Hwy 299 where many hikers catch rides into Burney. Burney is a convenient place for hikers to rest, resupply, pick up packages, or even meet friends and relatives mid trail. Safeway, Dollar General, MacDonald’s, and Gepetto’s are some of the most popular stops. Some hikers like to take a day off to refresh and stay at local motels such as Burney Lodging.

Nancy Bobo with Sky Eyes at Burney Lodging

Burney has a lot of trail angels. People have learned to recognize the large packs that PCT hikers carry to differentiate them from other hitchhikers. From late July into early August not a day goes by that one doesn’t see hikers walking along the highway, frequenting the restaurants and stores, or sitting outside Burney lodging.

Many locals enjoy meeting the hikers and giving them rides. PCT season provides an opportunity to meet and talk with people from across the country and all around the world.

Jet Pack and Animal Style at the Alpine

One hiker from Israel named Animal Style left his Brooks Cascadia 11 Trail-Running shoes in a man named Bob’s truck when he got a ride into Burney. Animal Style was desperate. Good shoes are a necessity on a 2500 mile hike through rough terrain. After hours of searching, he was able to locate Bob and call him on the phone. Bob had returned home to Bieber but he drove all the way back to Burney to make sure that Animal Style had his shoes.

Ages of the hikers last year ranged from 9 years old to senior citizens. Most of the hikers are young college educated adventurers. Many have just finished school and are taking the opportunity to take the hike before beginning their careers or going on to graduate school.

One older hiker who came through last year was Donaju from Holywood, Northern Ireland. Donaju said he was a Royal Irish Ranger who had done eleven tours in Afghanistan. He had also served in a number of other hot spots. He was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail for the Wounded Warriors.

Irish Ranger Donaju

Several families hiked the trail together last year. Some seniors are taking a break to reflect on their life. Some hike for the challenge. Some hike to experience the diverse natural beauty and wildlife. In addition to thru hikers there are also local hikers and section hikers.

Section hikers hike only one section of the hike in a year. Then another year they may hike another section until they have hiked the entire trail.

One hiker named Sky Eyes said, ““When you hike the trail, you become a part of the Pacific Crest Trail family,” he said. “You meet different people from all over the world. You hike together with some of them. You camp together. You share food. Relationships are deeper than in normal life because you’re free from all of the business of the world. Everybody has the same needs.”

Some couples have met on the trail and later gotten married.

Since 2014 traffic on the trail has grown tremendously. Sky Eyes said that over 14,000 people hiked the trail last year.  One of the reasons more people are hiking is the release of the movie Wild starring Reese Witherspoon in December 2014. The movie is based on the 2012 memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed that reached No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

We are fortunate to have the world pass through Pit River country on the PCT. After crossing Hwy 299, the trail progresses though the woods to Lake Britton and Burney Falls Park. The park has a campground frequented by many hikers.

Leaving the Park, the trail goes for a ways down Pit River Canyon and up to Rock Creek Falls. Then the trail heads northwest to Dunsmuir and then north for many more adventures in the Oregon and Washington Cascades.

Get ready, PCT season is coming.


Leave a comment

Filed under Baum Lake, Bieber, Burney, Burney Falls, Cassell, Crystal Lake, Hiking, Lake Britton, Old Station, Pacific Crest Trail, Pit River

16th Annual Ham Run May 6th

The 16th Annual Ham Run will be held May 6th from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at McArthur-Burney Falls State Park. It will be an all ages event. At 8 a.m. there will be a 4 mile run, and at 9 a.m. there will be a 2 mile “Ham Run.”

Registration forms are available at the Burney Chamber or online at http://www.burneychamber.com/event/16th-annual-ham-run/.

Advance entry is $25 for a single race or $30 for both races. The entry fee includes park entrance and a T-shirt. Day of event entry is $30 for a single race or $35 for both races. If you dress like a pig, you have a chance to win a $25 gift certificate for the Alpine Drive Inn.

This year’s sponsor’s for the event include Burney Motel, Burney Disposal, Burney Falls Lodging, Hatchet Ridge Wind LLC, Les Schwab Tire Center, Mayers Memorial Hospital, Mountain Cruisers, Mountain Valley Health Centers, Novel T’s, Patterson Optometric Eyecare, Pit River Casino, Pit River Mini Mart, Safeway, and US Bank.

For more information call Jen Luck at 335-2111.

Leave a comment

Filed under Burney, Burney Falls, Chamber of Commerce

Four Local Volunteers Honored at Heritage Day

Saturday October 9 was the 27th annual celebration of Heritage Day at McArthur-Burney Falls Park. As part of the celebration, Catherine Campbell, Chairperson of the McArthur-Burney Falls Interpretive Society, and Brett Mizeur, Supervising Ranger, honored four local volunteers for their valuable assistance to the park and the event.

Catherine Camp and Ranger Mizeur recognize awardees

Catherine Camp and Ranger Mizeur recognize awardees

Melissa Madden teaches English and leadership and serves as the youth activities director for Burney High School. She helps to organize and co-ordinate student service organizations, such as the Leos, to assist at Heritage Day and other local events. The teaching and assistance by Leos and Scouts under the supervision of Ms. Madden and the Scout leaders at the activity and craft stations has been essential to the success of these events. Because Melissa Madden is a good leader, she can help her students to become good leaders.

Supervising Ranger Brett Mizeur presents Melissa Madden with a certificate of appreciaton

Supervising Ranger Brett Mizeur presents Melissa Madden with a certificate of appreciation

The second awardee Stan Vigolo is a member of the Pit River Pioneers. He came to the first Heritage Day 27 years ago and has come every year since helping to set up a display showing how the pioneers to this area lived, hunted, camped, fished, etc. A picture of him at the first Heritage Day in full Buckskins appeared on a flier for the Park for several years.

Stan Vigolo receiving his award

Stan Vigolo receiving his award

At 6′ 5″ Stan is a mountain of a mountain man. He is an avid enthusiast of pioneer sports and has participated in many competitions such as tomahawk throwing and sawbucking. Here’s a tip from past champion Stan on sawbucking. If you want to get a good, clean, quick cut, have a left-hand and a right hand man as a team. That will equalize the pressure on the saw to keep it from bowing.

The third recipient was Chuck Evans. 89 year-old Chuck has also participated in every Heritage Day. One of the things he has done is to help organize and direct the parking. Lion Chuck was in the hamburger line when his name was called but Ranger Brett caught up with him afterwards to present his certificate.

Chuck Evans receiving and award from Rangers Brett Miseur and Dan Toth

Chuck Evans receiving and award from Rangers Brett Mizeur and Dan Toth

The final awardee was Craig Harrington, publisher of the Intermountain News. Every year Craig donates his time and labor for the layout and graphic design for the Burney Falls Park publication that is given to thousands of visitors. This provides a lot of interesting information and a great souvenir. He also assists the park and the interpretive association with other work on publications and publicity.

As Catherine Camp said, Heritage Day would not be a success each year without the help of scores of volunteers. Thanks to these four noble souls and to all the others who have donated their time, talents, and resources.


Leave a comment

Filed under Burney, Burney Falls, Burney Lions Club, Fall River Mills, MacArthur, Pit River Area History, Pit River Country Events

Heritage Day At Burney Falls Park 2016

Teen in buckskins and a raccoon hat with three tails

Teen in buckskins and a raccoon hat with three tails

More than 1000 people came to Burney Falls McArthur Park on October 9 for it’s 27th Annual Heritage Day. From noon to 4 p.m. men, women, and children enjoyed listening to old-time music and participating and observing in a variety of pioneer crafts and activities.

Many of the folks were dressed in authentic 19th century attire.

The Burney Lions Club and the Rotary Club of Burney-Fall River shared the responsibility of directing traffic and making sure that everyone found a parking space. Parking for the day was free.

The Lions also barbecued lots of tasty burgers. Rotary helped to man the apple press which provided lots of delicious apple cider for everyone who attended.

Folks made lots of delicious cider at the apple press

Folks made lots of delicious cider at the apple press

Many volunteers from the Boy Scouts and the Leos Club were teaching and assisting at the various craft and activity stations.

The local boy scout and cub scout scouts camped the night before in the park.

Melissa Madden, activities director at Burney High School, helped to coordinate the Leos.

Lots of Leos helped with the activitites

Lots of Leos helped with the activities

Each station gave people an opportunity to learn how our forebears lived.

Children had a great time making candles,

Kids making candles

Kids making candles




and learning how to make rope from twine,



One young lady learned how to give mom a shave with a straight-razor

Giving mom a shave

Giving mom a shave

Learning to throw a tomahawk and a knife was a fun challenge.

Throwing the tomahawk

Throwing the tomahawk

Competing in a tug-o-war  on a box was a thrill.

tug-o-war on a box

Tug-o-war on a box

Ron Shannon was busy teaching people the art of blacksmithing.


Spinning wheel

Spinning wheel

Other activities included making pine-needle dolls, spinning, designing brands and branding, quill pen writing, cooking with a Dutch oven, and apple coring,

The main culinary delight of the festival was delicious apple crisp baked in a Dutch oven by  Veronica Skoan. Yummy yummy apples sliced by the kids, together with oats, brown sugar, and other seasonings cooked to blue-ribbon perfection.

Veronica Skoan baked up some delicious apple crisp in her Dutch oven

Veronica Skoan bakeInd up some delicious apple crisp in her Dutch oven

The Pit River Pioneers had a display featuring historical implements and weapons and an old pioneer tent site.

Old time pioneer campsite

Old time pioneer campsite

The tent site was erected by Stan Vigolo. Stan has been helping with Heritage Day since it began. At the first Heritage Day 27 years ago, Stan had his picture taken standing in buckskins by a large conifer. Subsequently, that photo was used by the park on a pamphlet to advertise the event. Here he is standing by the same tree at this year’s event.

Stan Vigolo by the tree he was photographed at 27 years ago

Stan Vigolo by the tree he was photographed at 27 years ago

The entire occasion was enhanced by delightful old-time music. Fiddlers, guitar pickers, bass and mandolin players, banjoists, and singers from the Intermountain area and beyond treated their audience to a broad range of classic and original bluegrass, country, and traditional folk tunes. Amongst the groups performing were the Old Time Fiddlers, Shingletown Bound, and Loosely Strung from Red Bluff.

Shingletown Bound

Shingletown Bound

A highlight of the afternoon was the presentation of Certificates of Appreciation to four local volunteers who have been long-time supporters of Heritage Day.

Catherine Camp and Ranger Mizeur recognize awardees

Catherine Camp and Ranger Mizeur recognize awardees

Supervising Ranger Brett Mizeur presents Melissa Madden with a certificate of appreciaton

Supervising Ranger Brett Mizeur presents Melissa Madden with a certificate of appreciaton

At 2 p.m. Catherine Camp, chairwoman of the McArthur-Burney Falls Interpretive Association and Brett Mizeur,  Supervising Ranger for the park, presented awards to Melissa Madden, Stan Vigolo, and Chuck Evans, and Craig Harrington.

(For more on awards see Four Local Volunteers Honored at Heritage Day.)

Ms Camp said, “We are proud to have such a wonderful community event that includes free admission, We could not do it without the help of dozens of local volunteers.”


Leave a comment

Filed under Burney Falls, Burney Lions Club, Pit River Area History, Pit River Country Events, Rotary Club of Burney-Fall River

Tribal Youth Program teaches knowledge and skill

Photos courtesy of Lomakatsi Restoration Project

This July, ten young members of the Pit River Tribe ranging in age from 14-18 participated in a month long work and training program. The project combined science and cultural education with work to restore the ecology of the wild trout area of lower Hat Creek.

Tribal Youth, Elders, and Program Partners on opening day of the Pit River Tribal Ecosystem Workforce Training Program

Tribal Youth, Elders, and Program Partners on opening day of the Pit River Tribal Ecosystem Workforce Training Program

The Pit River Tribe, Lomakatsi Restoration Project, and Cal Trout cooperated to make the project a success. Cal Trout provided a grant to pay for the program. Pit River Tribe elders, cultural representatives and environmental technicians instructed the youth in Traditional Ecological Knowledge. Lomakatsi managed the program and employed the youth, providing technical expertise and professional mentors in ecological restoration.

The project included a full schedule of educational and hands-on activities.

The young people spent a week at a science camp at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed learning about the waterways, flora, and the fauna of the area.

The work project on Hat Creek involved trail improvement, restabilizing the banks, and helping to restore the natural oak environment along the creek. Belinda Brown, Tribal Partnership Coordinator for Lomakatsi Restoration Project, organized the work crews, picking up the young workers in the morning at the Safeway store and supervised their activities thoughout the day.

Trail improvement along Hat Creek

Trail improvement along Hat Creek

The group also visited Ajumawi Springs to study and repair fish traps.

Ginger Mike, Cultural Representative of the Ajumawi Band, shared about the importance of cultural resource protection and sacred sites.

Ginger Mike shares about the importance of cultural resource protection and sacred sites

Ginger Mike teaching about cultural resource protection and sacred sites

Participants learned about traditional foods such as pine nuts. The Hat Creek Ranger Station also addressed the group. In addition, the young people received some instruction in Achomawi language.

As a complement to learning traditional Pit River environmental technology, the young people were also treated to a day of fly fishing. Michelle Titus hosted the group at Clearwater Lodge and Drew Braugh from Cal Trout and three guides taught the young people fly fishing techniques.

Toward the end of the program the group was joined by tribal youth from the Ashland area in Southern Oregon. Radley Davis, Cultural Practitioner of the Illmawi Band, led a workshop teaching the young people to make a dugout canoe from a giant cedar tree trucked over from Old Station.

Dug out canoe workshop

Dug out canoe workshop

The program concluded with a visit by the combined youth programs to Burney Falls a traditional sacred site of the Illmawi Band of the Pit River Tribe.

Tribal Youth Project at Burney Falls

Tribal Youth and Ashland Youth Programs at Burney Falls

The Pit River Tribe is a sovereign federally recognized Native American Tribe consisting of 11 autonomous bands, whose homes and properties are distributed throughout the Upper Pit River watershed in northern California for time immemorial. The tribe contributed immensely to the success of the project.

“Protection and preservation of the cultural and environmental resources helps the tribe maintain sovereign jurisdiction over the tribe’s ancestral lands,” Chairman Gemmill said. “The partnerships have been able to provide economic and educational opportunities for the people.”

Lomakatsi in the Hopi language means “life in balance.” The Lomakatsi Restoration Project is a non‐profit, grassroots organization that develops and implements forest and watershed restoration programs and projects in Oregon and Northern California. Since 1995, Lomakatsi has formed collaborative partnerships with a broad range of partners including federal and state land management agencies, Native American Tribes, The Nature Conservancy, land trusts, private landowners, watershed councils, and city and county governments.

“Inspiring young people to pursue careers focused on the stewardship of forests, waterways and wildlife habitat is an important part of our mission,” Lomakatsi Executive Director Marko Bey said. “Traditional Ecological Knowledge is vital to successful ecosystem restoration.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Ajumawi State Park, Burney, Burney Falls, Hat Creek, Lake Britton, Pit River Tribe

Pacific Crest Trail Hikers rest and resupply at Old Station

Linda at Old Station VFD Chicken Barbecue Craft Show

Linda at Old Station VFD Chicken Barbecue Craft Show

On morning of July 31, my wife Linda and I drove to Old Station for the Volunteer Fire Department’s 35 Annual Chicken Barbecue, Raffle and Craft Show.

The craft show began at 10:30 a.m. and the barbecue began at 12 noon. A kind gentleman helped us set our canopy. Linda arranged her photo art, cards and artwork. We were looking forward to meeting a lot interesting people and enjoying the delicious chicken.

Just before 10:30 a.m., a curious, high-spirited man from Sacramento stopped by the booth to look at Linda’s cards. Why was he high-spirited?

Because he and two friends had just finished a 4-day hike of one section of the Pacific Crest Trail. Their trail names were Shady Lady, Head Heart, and TBD. They had hiked from Chester to Old Station. Normally, thru hikers do the hike in two days, from Chester to Drake’s Bay and from Drake’s Bay. However, since this trio was just doing one section they didn’t push themselves too hard planning so as to arrive in Old Station just in time for a nice chicken barbecue as a reward for their labors. The made friends with lots of PCT hikers and a friend from Sacramento came up to give them all a ride home.

Shady Lady, Head Heart, and TBD from Sacramento

Shady Lady, Head Heart, and TBD from Sacramento

Old Station is a stop for many hikers on the PCT. Many have resupply boxes shipped to the post office and they can rest a bit before the long waterless hike over Hat Creek Rim to Burney. As I meandered round amongst the crowd of fishermen, campers, hikers, tourists, and locals who had come for the barbecue, I met a hiker from Washington State. His trail name was “Walking Home” because he was walking home.

Walking Home

Walking Home

This was the second year that he was walking the trail. Last year he hiked as far as Chester. He ended the trek there because he wanted to take time off to visit his grandchildren. This year he hoped to complete the entire trail.

He had come into Old Station the day before to pick up a resupply package at the post office. The Post Office was closed but he thought it would be open today from 11 a.m- 2p.m.. It was just after 11 so I gave him a ride up to the Post Office. It was still closed. Other hikers were waiting there too.

The Family - Farwalker, Thunderfoot, Widowmaker, and Spinner

The Family – Farwalker, Thunderfoot, Widowmaker, and Spinner

Amongst them were “The Family” from Texas – Farwalker, Thunderfoot, Widowmaker, and Spinner. 13-year old Spinner is one of the young hikers on the trail this year. When I first met her mom, Widowmaker, I thought she might be Mama Bear.

“No,” she said, “I’m not Mama Bear,’ but I know her. She’s a little ahead of us. I think she might be in Burney today.” Alas! I missed Mama Bear. She is hiking with her 9-year old son, the youngest thru hiker of the year.

Widowmaker told me that she is happy that there are several families hiking the trail this year, amongst them Brit Family Robinson and Swiss Family Robinson. She said that many of the young hikers are “party hikers.” So it’s nice to have families too to socialize with.

She also told me that there are quite a few retirees hiking the trail. One recently retired man told her that hiking the PCT is the perfect thing to do right after retiring. It’s an inexpensive vacation, you get to enjoy tremendous natural beauty, and you have plenty of time to think about your life.

She told me about one pair of friends, aged 70 and 73 who were thru-hiking. One of them was wearing a diabetic pump.

There certainly is a lot of diversity on the PCT!

Most of the hikers waiting wanted to stay to see if someone would come to open the Post Office. Walking Home decided to go back to the barbecue to get some chicken and then come back.

I dropped him back at the fire station. I wanted to get away from people for a little bit so I took a short drive up to the Mt. Lassen vista point for a short walk.

Lassen Photo trail off Hwy 89

Lassen Photo trail off Hwy 89

View of Mt Lassen

View of Mt Lassen

On my way back, I stopped to see if the Post Office was open yet. It wasn’t. The Family was getting hungry. When I told Widowmaker  that each meal had half a barbecued chicken, she jumped in the Jeep to drive down and pick up some to go meals for her family.

While she got her meals, I checked on Linda. Traffic at the craft fair was slow and Linda was suffering from the heat. I talked for awhile with Elaine Lainier from the Fire Chiefs Association of Mt Shasta who had a booth to recruit firefighters.

Widowmaker came out with five big to go chicken dinners and I drove her back to the Post Office. The Post Office wasn’t open yet but the postmaster had arrived and said it would be open at 1 p.m. The Family sat down to enjoy their meal.

When I got back to the fire station, I bought a huge chicken dinner for Linda and I – a gigantic half chicken, potato salad, green salad, baked beans and garlic bread! Then for dessert vanilla ice cream with really flavorful strawberries. Two cups of lemonade helped to cool us off.

I had to park in front of the vacant building next to JJ’s, When I did I notices a bevy of PCT hikers lounging on the porch.

Too hot to hike

Too hot to hike

One of them was Hawkeye from England. Another was Animal Styles from Israel. I didn’t get the other names. Several in the background were sleeping. They had deemed it too hot to hike the Hat Creek Rim and were resting till early evening. Then they planned to night hike to Burney. I gave them all a card and told them if they needed a ride into Burney the next day from the trailhead to give me a call.

Later, when I was going to move my car closer to the craft show. a hiker named Desert Steve approached and asked if I were the man from Burney. I said yes. He asked if I were going to Burney now because he could use a ride to Burney Falls.

I told him that I hadn’t planned on leaving yet because we were set up selling stuff. But then I went over and talked with Linda. She was really hot, but she said she wanted to go one more hour and then start packing up. I told her there was a man who wanted a ride to Burney Falls and asked if she minded if I gave him a ride.

“If you want to!” she replied.

I went back to the area where the hikers were resting but Desert Steve had already left to try to hitch a ride.

For more see Desert Steve goes to Burney Falls

See also Night hikers make it to Burney


1 Comment

Filed under Hiking, Old Station, Pacific Crest Trail, Volunteer fire departments

A jeep full of PCT Hikers

Driving up Main Street in Burney on Saturday, July 23, Linda and I saw a group of hikers sitting in front of Burney Lodging. I pulled over and asked if anyone needed a ride to the PCT trailhead.

Five hikers came forward. Four of them wanted to go to Burney Falls Park and one wanted to go to the 299 trailhead.

I didn’t think that we could fit everyone with packs in the Jeep, so Linda volunteered to stay behind with Troubadour, the hiker who was headed to 299, while I drove the others to Burney Falls.

Tapafla, 1 Gear, 6 tacos, and Lo Flo

Tapafla, 1 Gear, 6 tacos, and Lo Flo

The group of four consisted of one young lady whose trail name was 6 Tacos, and three young gentlemen named Tapafla, 1 Gear, and Lo Flo. After loading in their packs, 6 Tacos took shotgun while the three guys piled in the back seat.

As we drove out, I asked if any of them had any particular experiences they wanted me to share.

1 Gear, whose real-world name is Chris Juarez, reported that he “got spooked by a mom bear with two cubs.”

Apparently the bears got spooked too because they climbed a tree to let 1 Gear pass.

Lo Flo (aka Elliot Schwimmer from Oakland, California) said that he “ran 12 miles in the opposite direction (south) from the Chimney Fire.”

Running from a raging forest fire is definitely intense.

6 Tacos (Alaina Bainbridge from Durham, North Carolina) wrote, “Once I ate six tacos!”

I didn’t get a highlight from the fourth hiker Tapafla (Dexter Corning from South Bend Indiana).

All were thru-hikers. 1 Gear had been on the trail longest. He started out from Campo on March 27. Tapafla and 6 Tacos had both begun their journey on April 4, and Lo Flo had begun on April 19.

They told me that as well as the Brit Family Robinson there was another family hiking the trail this year named Swiss Family Robinson. They also told me about one other mother hiking the trail with her 9 year old son, whom I believe is the youngest thru-hiker on the trail this year.

This was the first time that I had had 4 hikers in the Jeep all at the same time. Because 6 Tacos was in the front, I got a little more of her story. She has hiked portions of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina and Virginia. This is the first time that she has hiked on the West Coast. She’s finished college and doesn’t have a fixed schedule, so she’s hoping that after she reaches Canada she will be able to visit some of the larger cities in the northwest like Seattle and Portland and maybe hitchhike down the coast. So many beautiful places and things to see! One of the places she wants to visit is the Redwoods.

6 Tacos also loves beaches. While growing up, she spent a lot of time at the beaches in North Carolina. We talked a little about Topsail Island. But the California coastline is so different with the Pacific waves thrashing against the rocks and cliffs of the Coastal Mountains. She is planning on visiting Big Sur.

From the back of the Jeep one of the guys asked if you could swim below Burney Falls. I told them that I had. The water is cold and turbulent, but a quick in and out is definitely refreshing and exhilarating. Not many people go in but some do. If you do go in, enter farther up toward the rock face where the force of the falls will push you back toward the shore. You don’t want to swim near the creek heading downstream.

I dropped them by the entrance booth and headed back to town to pick up Linda and Troubadour.



Leave a comment

Filed under Burney, Pacific Crest Trail

Gummy Bear and Hydro visit Burney on PCT Trek

After voting on the morning of June 7, Linda and I decided to treat ourselves to breakfast at McDonald’s. After ordering, I espied two young two young hikers sitting in the back booth with large 50 lb. back packs.  I approached them.

Map of PCT

Map of PCT

“Hi! How’s the trail going?” I inquired.

“Good!” replied Gummy Bear.

Gummy Bear is a young man from St. Cloud, Minnesota who is hiking the PCT trail from Mexico to Canada. He has been hiking with his friend Hydro, a young woman from Fargo, North Dakota.

“Are you just getting into town or are you on your way out?” I asked.

“We’re just about to leave.”

“Would you like a ride?”


“Okay, as soon as Linda I finish our breakfast we’ll drive you out.”

As we ate, Gummy Bear and Hydro told us that they had experienced many amazing things on the trail. They had begun their  hike on March 28 at the Mexican border. They had hiked hundreds of miles through the desert of Southern California and then had ascended the high Sierra’s.

“There’s still a lot of snow, but it’s starting to melt,” said Gummy Bear. “In a few places, hiking through the snow fields, we lost the trail, but fortunately we have a GPS so it wasn’t too bad.”

Hydro said that she had had quite a battle with blisters in the early part of the hike. She had found a powder that helped to ease the friction and alleviate the pain. Blisters form more easily when the feet are moist so the hot hiking through the desert can be a problem. As she continued on the blisters went away. Gummy Bear said with a smile that he had been “blister free.”

This was Hydro’s first major hike and her first visit to California.

Gummy Bear said that in the early part of the hike in the South they had met people on the trail almost every day, but as they got farther north with the vast stretches they would sometimes go three or four days without encountering anyone.

I told them that I had been following a blog named Tandem Trekking where a young writer named Lindsay and a photographer named Kyle were detailing their daily experiences on the PCT.

Pacific Crest Trail Sign in Burney Falls State Park

We talked about Poodle Dog bush, a mountain shrub that grows in places and secretes a skin irritant that is worse that poison oak. Gummy Bear and Hydro had hiked through several areas where it was abundant but fortunately had not been affected.

One of the most unsettling things for the young hikers had been coming across rattlesnakes. Apparently, this is a good year for snakes. They encountered a number of them in Hat Creek area. Each of them had separate encounters within the past few days. Gummy Bear had come across one in high grass, coiled, tail rattling, ready to strike, only a foot away. He quickly bolted away without being struck. Hikers, be aware!

Well, we finished breakfast and all piled into the jeep. Our young hiker friends opted for me to take them to Burney Falls Park. They had actually stopped in Burney because a family member had shipped them a package. They thought the package would be at the Burney Post Office. It wasn’t. When they checked the tracking number they found out that it was at Burney Falls. So off we went.

Linda and I drove them to the park and dropped them off at the entrance. They made it over 14oo miles in a little over two months. They’ve got another 1200 miles to go. God bless them.

See also:

First PCT hikers visit Burney

Burney is friendly to PCT Hikers


Leave a comment

Filed under Burney, Pacific Crest Trail

Hiking the Burney Falls Loop with Grant Carrington

On Tuesday February 23, 2016. Grant Carrington came to Burney, California to visit. Two days later, my wife Linda and I took Grant to Burney Falls.

Grant taking in the falls

Grant taking in the falls

I met Grant around the turn of the century at the Year of the Rabbit Coffee shop in Bowie Maryland when we both used to play the open mic there. It was a wonderful venue and we became friends. We sometimes met at other open mics such as the Wagonshed in New Freedom Pennsylvania. Here’s me playing at Wagonshed.

Since then, Linda and I have settled here in Burney. Grant retired from his government job and moved to Massachusetts. We have stayed in touch. About five months ago, Grant decided to travel around the country. He vacated his apartment in Massachusetts and started driving around the country visiting friends and playing at open mics.

Here’s a video of Grant playing and being interviewed on February 4, 2014 at FCAT’s Studios in South Deerfield, MA:

When Grant arrived he had been on the road for five months. Apparently he brings sunshine with him wherever he goes. Traveling down the East Coast, through the South, around the Southwest and California, he only experienced five rainy days.

In Arizona, he visited another of our friends from the Year of the Rabbit, JR Robusto. On Christmas Day he was at the Grand Canyon. The week before coming to Burney he was in Berkeley and San Francisco. On his way here, he stopped in Muir Woods.

At 77 years of age, Grant is an avid hiker and lover of nature. Linda and I thought Grant might enjoy Burney Falls. We entered the park from Clark’s Creek Road. It was a beautiful, Spring-like February day.

Linda ready for a photoshoot

Linda ready for a photoshoot

Grant has hiked portions of the Appalachian Trail, but had never hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. When we came to the PCT sign I had him take a few steps and told him that now he could say that he had hiked on the PCT.

PCT sign

PCT sign

Linda went one direction on the loop to take photos. Grant and I headed down to the bridge over Burney Creek.

Grant taking a picture

Grant taking a picture

We got a few pictures of the creek and I showed Grant where my cousin Ray had carved his initials into the wood railing when we had hiked the trail 46 years ago.

Burney Creek above the Falls

Burney Creek above the Falls

Then we hiked up toward the main entrance and the visitor’s center. As we went we caught several views of the falls through the woods.

View of Burney Falls through the trees from above

View of Burney Falls through the trees from above

The amenities were closed so we headed down to the falls overlook.

Grant Carrington at Burney Falls

Grant Carrington at Burney Falls

We didn’t see many animals on our journey, but one little squirrel did come out to say “Hello!”

Squirrel Checking us out

Squirrel checking us out

As we paused going down the hatchback trail at one of several places where we stopped to take in the falls, Grant smiled and said, “Well, you certainly do have a well-kept secret here.” Grant had never heard of our precious local treasure.

Burney Falls as we descend the trail

Burney Falls as we descend the trail

One of the things that Grant enjoyed was the small falls emerging from the wall of the canyon.

Mini falls emerging across the creek from the trail

Mini falls emerging across the creek from the trail

After enjoying the falls from the base, we hiked downtrail along Burney Creek marveling at the old-growth Douglas fir. As we approached the lower bridge, we met Linda.

Lower Bridge on Burney Falls Loop

Where’s Linda?

Linda wanted to continue on to the Falls and then hike back with us so Grant I sat for a spell  on the bench by the bridge.

Brief Break on the Trail

Brief Break on the Trail

As well as being a singer songwriter, Grant also writes science fiction. He also is a bit of a philosopher. During his 3-day stay we had numerous interesting conversations. We enjoyed chatting while we waited for Linda.

After she arrived we proceeded up the hill. Grant’s was commenting on the lichens, the reeds, and the various interesting colors that were beginning to emerge. This small red orange shoot over the creek aroused his interest.

Red twig over the water

Red twig over the water

Proceeding on, we came to another view of the falls from this side of the creek.

View of the falls coming up the trail

View of the falls coming up the trail

Linda, Grant, and I made our way back to the car. We had to be home by 3 p.m. because some ladies from the Word of Life Assembly of God were stopping by to deliver some cookies. We didn’t want to miss that!

When we had arrived at the park I realized that I had forgotten to bring my walking stick. Fortunately, I happened upon a nice small branch on our hike. Filing off a few nobs at the top where I wanted to put my hand, I had made use of this fine staff.

As we exited the park we met a group from McCloud entering the park. I asked if any of them would like my walking stick and one nice lady gratefully received it. There weren’t a lot of hikers on the trail on this lovely February day. However, in addition to these merry McClouders we did also meet a nice family from Ashland and a young Irish trio from Placerville.

Meeting and chatting with visitors from other places is one of the things I love about hiking the Burney Falls Loop.

I think Grant enjoyed his visit to Burney and our park. He treated Linda and me to a wonderful steak dinner at Pit River Casino.  I hope Burney and Burney Falls make their way into one of his songs or books.

If you would like, you can read more about Grant Carrington and his “Farewell tour of the country.”




Leave a comment

Filed under Burney, Burney Falls

May 7 Ham Run to benefit Burney Basin Days Parade

Fun Run in the Park

Fun Run in the Park

The 15th annual “Ham Run in the Park” sponsored by the Burney Chamber of Commerce will take place on May 7, 2016 in McArthur-Burney Falls State Park. Runners can compete in two different races. A 4-mile run will begin at 8 a. m. and the 2-mile “Run for a Ham” will begin at 9 a.m.

The Burney Chamber has announced that revenue raised from this event will to help cover expenses for the Burney Basin Days Parade. The Chamber is inviting runners, sponsors, and volunteers to participate. It is an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Burney Falls Park while at the same time helping to make this year’s Burney Basin Days a great success.

As of now, the Chamber is expecting about 65 participants. Some of the local high school track teams may participate.

Pre-registration for both races is $30. Registration for one race is $25. Runners who pre-register will receive a Ham Run t-shirt and a coupon that will refund the park entry fee. Click here for registration form.

Ham run start

Ham run start

Onsite registration on the day of the race will be $30 for one race and $35 for two races.

Individuals, businesses, and organizations are invited to become sponsors. Gold sponsors who donate $100 will receive a t-shirt and their name will be printed on the back or the t-shirt. Silver sponsors who donate $65 will have their name also have their name printed on the back of the t-shirt.

Local businesses are also encouraged to provide items promoting their business for “goody bags” that will given to participating racers. The Chamber is planning to make up 65 goody bags.

If you would like to enter the run, become a sponsor, or volunteer to help at the event, contact Anne Kerns at burneychamber@frontiernet.net or 530-335-2111.

Of course, everyone is welcome to come enjoy the race and a beautiful day at the park. The more the merrier!


Leave a comment

Filed under Burney, Burney Basin Days, Burney Falls, Pit River Country Events