Date: Thursday, 06 July 2017
Start: Sawyers Bar Road crossing (Etna Summit) at Mile 1597.2, 5980 ft
Finish: Camped by the trail at Mile 1612.6, 6516 ft
Daily Miles: 15.4 PCT, + 1.0 in town
Total PCT Miles: 1072.3
Weather: Warm and sunny
Breakfast: Ham & cheese omelette, country-fried potatoes, and toast & jam.
Dinner: Rehydrated chicken and mashed potatoes
Aches: None worth mentioning
Highlight: Beautiful campsite beside a small alpine lake, surrounded by snow, not as many bugs as usual (but still wearing all my rain gear for protection), overlooked by rocky crags and catching the last rays of the sun as I ate my dinner.
Lowlight: Had a clumsy time at dinner, knocking over an uncapped water bottle, spilling boiling water on one hand (not badly) while making my hot chocolate, and breaking one of my plastic spoons (I have four to replace my lost spork) trying to cut through my rehydrated chicken. None of them a big deal, but a reminder to take more care. I remember Barb’s father, who enjoyed camping trips with a bushwalking group, severely scalding one of his feet when he accidentally tipped boiling water into one of his shoes. I try to keep such things in the back of my mind when handling boiling water in camp.
Pictures: Click here
After a good breakfast at the nearby diner, I picked up my gear from the motel, said farewell to the very nice manageress, and walked to the other side of town for what I expected to be a difficult hitch back to the trail given it is on a minor road. Within a minute or two I was picked up by a young girl who is in charge of monitoring fish stocks in the surrounding rivers, and also a keen mountain bike rider, and given a lift to the trailhead. Very lucky!
As always, motivation was a little low leaving the comforts of town, but it was a beautiful day and not as warm at altitude as it had been below. To top it off, the trail wasn’t too arduous, and I had set myself a conservative goal of covering about 16 miles.
As has been the case for much of the last week, the trail followed a long ridge northwards, sometimes meeting gaps that gave good views to the east over the Scott Valley, but often following the contours over alternately bare rocky stretches or dark forest. Providing some extra interest was a wildfire, or at least the smoke from a wildfire, that could be seen emanating from a high valley about five miles away. There was no sign of official activity, so I’m guessing the fire was being left to burn itself out. It did mean, however, that for much of the afternoon when the trail was downwind of the fire, there was the smell of smoke in the air and the mountains were somewhat obscured by haze.
For the last part of the afternoon, I began to encounter increasing amounts of snow, and was lucky to find a bare patch of earth to camp on when I reached my target spot. I suspect I’m going to see a lot more snow tomorrow.