Shortly after reaching Burney Falls State Park, we crossed a bridge over a rocky, dry riverbed. "So much for the side trip to see Burney Falls," I thought. But as we neared the junction to the camp store, I heard water. A lot of water.
Crossing a second bridge, we marveled at the large volume of water where less than one mile upstream there had been none. We soon learned that the river starts as an underground spring and is pushed above ground by solid underground rock formations that block its path. Then, less than a mile downstream, it cascades over a rocky cliff into a deep pool of water, creating a wide, mossy waterfall. As we watched the waterfall, two spotted fawns watched with us for a moment, then scampered out of view.
"We haven't sold waffles for three years!" the camp store employee informed us. So much for our guidebook. Disappointed, we carried our resupply out to the picnic tables where we sorted it while eating another cold breakfast.
The trail continued through the forest to Lake Britton Dam. Climbing up after crossing the dam, we passed a dense tangle of thorny blackberry vines. Most of the berries were still green, and even the black ones were not yet fully ripe and tasted sour.
We stopped for lunch at Rock Creek, hiding under the bridge for shade. After the creek the trail passed through thick, overgrown brush and manzanita, then back into the forest.
We climbed out of the forest onto the ridge just in time to watch the sun set behind mountains. Mount Shasta, to the northwest, was bathed in alpenglow. We put down our tarp to cowgirl camp, then enjoyed the final orange glow of sunset before drifting off to sleep.