Daily Journal Week 16

Day 106 (11/07/2018): Sawyers Bar Road to Tentsite at Mile 1607.3 (7.6 Miles)

I chilled out super hard all morning at the Etna public park. Drank a few beers, took a shower, then went and watched the world cup match between England and Croatia. Took a little nap in the afternoon, then got a sandwich to go from the Brewpub “Paystreak” (turkey and feta on sourdough bread, amazing!) While ordering the sandwich I met a kind local named Chris who offered to take me back to the trailhead. What a nice and informative gentleman. He is originally from Washington D.C. but visited Etna in 1990 and never left. I can see why, it’s an intriguing and quaint little town. Back on the trail and it is once again littered with jagged fist sized rocks which poke your feet and make certain sections really uncomfortable. My tentsite tonight is pretty banging, pink and orange sunset colors are covering the distant mountains. The sunrise ought to be good as well. High of 106°F tomorrow, joy.

Day 107 (12/07/2018): Tentsite at Mile 1607.3 to Kelsey Creek and Tentsite at Mile 1629 (21.7 Miles)

Man, I think I got some pretty solid milky way photos last night. That campsite was really cool. A deer woke me up around 2am and I sat up to see the stars and milky way looking just spectacular. The trail was really pretty with lakes on either side of the ridge all morning long. Jagged rocks once again filling the trail. “Man Eaten Lake” appeared like a sapphire gem in the morning sunlight, I wish the trail went closer to it. The flowers are blooming everywhere, and the scenery is once again changing all around me.

Day 108 (13/07/2018): Tentsite at Mile 1629 to Seiad Valley RV Park at Mile 1655.9 (26.9 Miles)

Today was the hottest, most stagnant day so far. It was wonderful up on the ridge (where I got three caramels as trail magic from section hikers) but as soon as I descended the breeze stopped and the bushwhacking began. Saw a Coral-bellied Ring-necked Snake that I almost stepped on. Striking orange and grey colors that contrasted sharply with the green and brown of the trail. Got everything sorted in Seiad Valley within two hours and got a free bottle of whiskey from an anonymous stranger at the general store (I think it was the postal worker lady from next door). This place is pretty cool for being directly on the PCT. Big climb out early tomorrow morning, but first it’s nacho cheese and microwave burritos for dinner!

Day 109 (14/07/2018): Seiad Valley RV Park to Tentsite at Mile 1679.3 (23.3 Miles)

Holy Shit it was so hot today! From the very start up the mountain outside Seiad Valley the sun was blazing. I did gorge myself on blackberries near the road on the way out though which was a treat! Roughly 4,500 feet up through burned area and overgrown bushes on the trail. Not a breath of wind until the very top. I caught up to Peckerino (Peck) near the turn around Upper Devil’s Peak and convinced him to hike up it with me. There was some kind of insect turf war raging amongst the rocks on the peak. Bees and Flys were attacking one another and made a photo at the peak nearly impossible. Weird, but either way another peak in the books! Ate lunch at a beautiful piped spring and watched three hikers get dropped off by ATV’s then passed them shortly after. I do believe I have poison oak or some other irritating skin rash on both legs. I have rash on my left hip and back due to sweating so much and the pack rubbing on me. No leg chafe though so that’s awesome. Tomorrow I finally leave California and enter Oregon!

Day 110 (15/07/2018): Tentsite at Mile 1679.3 to Grouse Gap Shelter at Mile 1708.2 (28.9 Miles)

The Milky Way last night was unbelievable. Mars is super bright and I finally nailed the long exposure shot I’ve been going for. A deer woke me up and it reminded me to get up and take some photos. Thunderstorms were popping off around me all morning. I watched lightning start two fires while eating lunch. Crossing into Oregon was hot and stagnant. No breeze and lots of dense foliage over the trail. It didn’t really hit me that I’d finally finished California until night fell. Sipping on the last of my gifted whisky from the kind postal worker in Seiad I finally felt as though I had accomplished something big, gargantuan even. I had just hiked across the entire State of California, my birthplace, and it felt great! Grouse Gap Shelter was super cool, unfortunately I didn’t get the greatest sleep. My mind just wouldn’t relax. Tomorrow I go into Ashland, Oregon to resupply and chill for the day. Hopefully the Klamathon Fire closure is opening soon.

Day 111 (16/07/2018): Grouse Gap Shelter to Hwy 99 and Ashland at Mile 1718.7 (10.5 Miles)

Well, this morning was exceptional. The flies were out, but it wasn’t too hot and I made great time over to the road. I listened to a bit of music and started to get emotional for the first time since I started the PCT. I was lost in my own mind, not even seeing the trail, just thinking about my friends and family, how far I’ve walked, and what I’m actually doing. It hit hard. Shortly after my mini breakdown I met Peck and we road walked over to the junction at Interstate 5 where Mike (Half Fast), a section hiker picked us up without even trying to hitch into town. Brilliant! Then at Safeway we resupplied for four days food to get up to Crater Lake. While in line at the deli I was approached by a lady asking if I was doing the PCT. When I told her I was she invited both Peck and myself to come and stay at her house for the night! MJ and her partner Rick are so incredibly gracious and accommodating. They let us stay in their downstairs rooms which are super nice and air conditioned. MJ cooked up a serious feast of grilled steaks and potatoes along with a few beers and I must say it was the best BBQ I’ve had in a long long time! So grateful to them for their hospitality.

Day 112 (17/07/2018): Zero Day in Ashland, OR

Great day at The Growler Guys bar drinking beers, eating pizza, using WiFi and chilling out. MJ and Rick dropped us back at Highway 66 after the Klamathon Fire closure and we slept near the trail/road. We decided to just skip the fire closure. I kinda regret it, but whatever. 16.8 miles that I’ll have to come back and hike after I reach Canada!

DAN01472Shasta peeking out from amongst the treesDAN01477First solid Milky Way long exposure of the trip!DAN01480Alpine lakes are so pretty when they’re not frozen solidDAN01482Man-Eaten Lake was gorgeous, but too far down off trail to visit DAN01489Green meadows everywhereDAN01495Smoke permeates the valleysDAN01502Upper Devil’s Peak with an insect dive bombing me (I look sweaty haha!)DAN01508Best Milky Way shot of the entire trip!DAN01512Rays of light shine down amongst the storm cloudsDAN01515SoBos get this signDAN01516NoBos get this oneDAN01518Finally out of California!!!DAN01520And the fires begin…DAN01524Ashland, OR is such a gorgeous town


Here’s a link to next week’s journal!

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