Mile 1597.3 Etna to mile 1716.2 Callahan’s Siskiyou Lodge
Sweet sweet nero.
Day Seventy-six: 17 July 2015
Start: HM 1597.3
End: HM 1604.7 campsite on Cub Spring Trail
GPS Point: 41.452447, -123.034360
Day Total: 7.6 miles
Water at mile Etna, mile 1604.7 Cub Spring
After the coma-like sleep from last night, I woke up feeling pretty rested. My body acknowledged the rocky ground jabbing into it as uncomfortable, and I took that to be a good sign. Especially since last night that ground felt quite comfortable. My legs feel wobbly, like they had forgotten what to do. Or maybe it’s that they are silently refusing to do anything. Either way I had a stagger today. I gave them several good rub downs and rested luxuriously, but they tightened up repeatedly.
I hadn’t thought about this at all, but from the trailhead, Etna is about eleven miles away and during a weekday the road is a very quiet one. I woke at 6:30 AM and saw only one vehicle pass by going towards Etna. There were however, multiple trucks and work vehicles headed the opposite way. We had one empty SUV pass and just wave as the driver continued towards Etna. Considering that had been 45 minutes of waiting at the road, we thought we might have a hard time even making it to Etna. Shortly after though, two trucks pulled up and the front guy said they would give us a ride, one to a truck. Score! I hopped into the front truck and Endless to the back one. These were old cabs that only seated two. I unfortunately forget the name of my generous driver, but the following truck with Endless was a guy named Wes. Both locals, they are driving truckloads of rock to the forest area on the opposite direction where last summer a 150,000 sq. ft. forest fire devastated this area. My driver told me all sorts of interesting things about the rivers, forest, and fires for this area. In particular, I liked the story about Man Eaten Lake. It’s one of his favorites and right off trail. The name is from lore about an Indian group camped at the lake and a giant salamander coming out and eating someone. Also a few years ago a hiker supposedly fell off the trail down into the lake and died. His body was found in the Klamath River six months later, despite that there is no connection between lake and river, as if an underground tunnel, like a Blue Hole, exists or something. It was a great hitch and he assured me that the ride back to trail is much easier to acquire than waiting for someone to drive by the trailhead.
Endless and I went straight to Bob’s Ranch House and ate two breakfasts a piece. Endless then ate a cream filled chocolate donut from the bakery. They were running low on supplies by that time for my tastes. We walked back to the main town area and spent many hours relaxing at the Wildwood Crossing Coffeehouse and Cafe. A really great hangout! Etna is a town of maybe 700 people, everyone was super friendly and PCT conscious. Every single person in the cafe took time to chat with us. So nice and very amicable! We went to the grocery and I bought way too much food for the 56 miles to Seiad Valley. I also ran over to the thrift shop to look for a dress (no luck!), stopped by the library to print a paper, and cut the corners off my current dress for patch material. While loitering in front of the grocery, a guy named Matt offered us a ride back to the trailhead. He is super cool! In the past he has run a trail magic setup just before the trailhead, but currently he had a two month old baby occupying his interests. Said he hadn’t been up to the trail in over a month and was glad for the excuse to drive up. He does a lot of hiking around the area, and it sounded quite extensive. One of many generous and outdoor loving locals.
We had a late start tonight, like 6 PM sort of late, so only hiked about eight miles to the first water source. We are cowboy camped near Lindsey and Happy Baby.
In town, we saw Hoots, Legs, Super Classy, Phoenix, Lone Wolf, Lebowski, and Beetlejuice. Endless said he saw Haymaker, Spills, and Cheetah heading to the brewery. There were numerous others who I didn’t exchange conversation with. This might be the most hikers in one place that I have seen since Sierra City. I am still incredulous by how many hikers can be hiking parallel to each other without ever crossing paths. At least until the town stops. An incredible time in town! Definitely one of the most hiker friendly places.
Taking it easy.
Day Seventy-seven: 18 July 2015
Start: HM 1604.7
End: HM 1636.1 rocky turnaround point on unpaved road
GPS Point: 41.700319, -123.244424
Day Total: 31.6 miles
Water at mile 1611 small creek, mile 1621.2 creek near Marble Valley Cabin, mile 1626.5 inlet to Paradise Lake, mile 1632 Buckhorn Spring
I am getting worse at wanting to list all the people I’ve crossed each day. First I passed Super Classy. She also wears a dress. I have been mistaken for her a few times in the past. The only other woman in a dress that I have met. She started at the beginning of April and has done a lot of crazy flipping around to avoid bad weather. That is likely why my appearance in a dress is mistaken for her. Then I saw Lindsey and Happy Baby. They are moving along well! I like them. Next was Legs. After that I saw Hoots and two day hikers on a trail junction. Down by the stream in front of the Marble Valley cabin, I saw two day hikers with two dogs (Buck and Mika), two climbers, and a day hiker. Two trail crew guys also came down the trail to get supplies from the cabin. They let us look inside. It was pretty cool! A ranger used to be stationed out of there each summer. Hoots had gone by while we were getting water and the same couple from earlier also came down and got water. Later at Paradise Lake, I met three section hikers named Scout Master, Melissa, and Michelle. They were cool. Then at camp we found Hoots and another section hiker named TK, or The Kid. I really like TK. A really genuinely nice guy. He is between his first and second years in undergrad, and I am excited for his future.
Today there was so much going on scenery-wise. The weather was perfect! I ate lunch at the cabin in the valley below the Marble Mountains. A beautiful spot. We walked around the grand Marble Mountains and Black Marble Mountain. I was really enjoying the marble peaks. I thought the white peaks were the same granite plutons from Cassel Crags, instead I was surprised with really nice marble structures. I have always been very fond of marble. Metamorphosed limestone. It intrigues me in its simplicity. Then Endless and I stopped at the not so Paradise Lake. We wanted to swim, but ended up just rinsing off in the outlet stream. Anyways, there were basically just so many stunning views today. I loved it all! And we hiked it pretty casually. There wasn’t a rush. Breaks were relaxing and frequent. I had a great day.
Bugs were out with a vengeance tonight. We started the hike down into Seiad Valley and are camped on this not so camp-like area at the end of a road. Hoots and TK are here. Because of the rocky ground, the four of us are spread out across a huge area, into small nooks of the least rockiness.
Feeling the strain of the trail.
Day Seventy-eight: 19 July 2015
Start: HM 1636.1
End: HM 1657.7 small campsite on ridge
GPS Point: 41.86162, -123.21345
Day Total: 21.6 miles
Water at mile Seiad Valley
These past few days I have been feeling extra exhausted and dealing with fever-like night sweats. As per usual, I was ignoring these side effects of thru hiking. Today I was at strings end though. The heat creeping up on the valley as we dropped down to 1300 feet and the 6.2 mile exposed road walk into town, both took their toll. I was cranky, tired, and dehydrated. Never before had I so badly wanted an ice cold Arnold Palmer, giant Oreo milkshake, side salad, BLT (both made with the biggest and freshest tomato slices!!!), and crispy hot fries. I have a worry that my worn body is struggling with an immune response. I picked up some ibuprofen and gave myself a one over to look for other ailments. All I can find is feet issues, and I finally removed the last two darkened toenails that have been hanging on a bit too long. In all, I have lost six toe nails. Hoping this is just a temporary hurdle.
The hike this morning, everything prior to the road walk section, was incredibly relaxing and easy. All downhill, not too steep, walking along a beautiful river valley. Endless and I met Lizard, Pie, and Marisa on the way to town. In town was Robo Doc with Roadrunner at the cafe. Hoots, TK, and Aloha all showed up too. We all hung out in the shade for the afternoon heat. I finally started sewing up my dress. I still have a ways to go, but I think the patches will work swimmingly. Way later than we intended, Endless and I started the 4500 foot climb out of the valley. We didn’t go far. There really isn’t a need to rush as we are planning to stay at Callahan’s Siskiyou Lodge in two days’ time. But we made it halfway up and are camped on a nice ledge with a view back down at Seiad Valley, a view of the setting sun, and a view of the starry sky above. A perfect camp site.
Day Seventy-nine: 20 July 2015
Start: HM 1657.7
End: HM 1693.6 Sheep Camp Spring
GPS Point: 42.03220, -122.87345
Day Total: 35.9 miles
Water at mile 1659.4 Lookout Spring, mile 1668.2 Piped Cook and Green Pass Spring, mile 1684.7 spring, mile 1693.6 Sheep Camp Spring
I have done a lot thinking recently. Mostly about my post trail life. There were many things I wanted to do before moving to California, but with extending my hike, I chose to alter those plans. I also thought about how lonely my hike would have been if I had hiked at my expected pace instead of adjusting to my various companions. I am so thankful to have hiked with good people this whole trek so far.
Today I passed the California and Oregon border. How incredible! It is strange to think about finally being in Oregon. Seems like I have been trying to get out of California for so long, I don’t know how to think about Oregon and Washington. Seiad Valley marked the less than 1000 miles to go mark. That means I am not quite 2/3 finished. Oregon and Washington will breeze by, and then what? Do I begin planning my next thru hike? Or a change of direction? I have been wanting to get into cycling, so maybe the transamerican bike ride? Or Southeast Asia? So many interests, how to choose? Especially since my next five years are fairly tied to Santa Barbara.
Today I met Emma, or Lil’ Trucker, then Gary, a older man out for his first thru hike of a week, and Juke Box, a nobo section hiker.
An S&M surprise!
Day Eighty: 21 July 2015
Start: HM 1693.6
End: HM 1716.2 Callahan’s Siskiyou Lodge grass yard
GPS Point: 42.07382, -122.60261
Day Total: 22.6 miles
Water at mile
Last night we had service and checked in with our beloved S&M. After some discussion, it was put out there that maybe S&M could join us to finish Washington.
Endless flies home the 4th and back the 9th for his little brother’s wedding. I could take a few days in Portland to see my friend Jen, then start out leisurely for the border and let Endless catch up and S&M join whenever she is free. It may not work, but it would be awesome if a whole group of us could finish together.
Callahan’s and today showed a fair amount of hikers. Roadrunner went to Ashland and came back to stay at Callahan’s. Met Marathon John, Crunchmaster and Face, a woman with her dog who is doing a section, an older man, and I met Nomad and Rattles on my way to Callahan’s as they were leaving. I also had the opportunity to run into Terry and Marg, Cheetah’s parents. Nice people!
Callahan’s is fantastic! The day desk man, Brandon, was so friendly as I walked in. He immediately sat me down at a table to relax, grabbing my free first beer. I then told him I would be staying for the Hiker Special, that is camping, shower, laundry, supper, and breakfast. A deal! They gave me towel, tag, and robe! They had soap and a hiker bathroom. Plus detergent for the laundry. So wonderful! Supper was spaghetti and warm bread! Endless and I added some supplemental milkshakes, fries, and desserts to our meals. Very relaxing and friendly. Definitely the hiker friendly place they claim to be!