Date: Saturday, 08 July 2017
Start: Camped by the trail at Cold Spring Creek at Mile 1639.0, 3244 ft
Finish: Camped at Seiad Valley RV Park, at Mile 1653.4, 1375 ft
Daily Miles: 14.4 PCT
Total PCT Miles: 1113.1
Weather: Hot and sunny.
Lunch: Toasted turkey, avocado and bacon on sourdough with fries.
Dinner: Two small microwaved pizzas from the store, and ice cream.
Highlight: Getting to the very small community of Seiad Valley in plenty of time to have lunch at the cafe, which closed at 2:00pm, and then having a relaxed afternoon replenishing my supplies (including a spork!), showering and doing my laundry. But it was hot, even sitting in the shade.
Lowlight: I didn’t enjoy the trail today. The first 8 miles was following Grider Creek downstream through a forested gorge along a frequently overgrown trail. Apparently much of the overgrowth was poison oak, but I wasn’t conscious of getting “poisoned”, though crashing through undergrowth gets “old” very quickly. Then there was about 6 miles of roadwalking under a hot sun with little shade.
Pictures: Click here
The drive to get to Seiad Valley in time for lunch had me on the trail by 5:50am on tired legs after a short night’s sleep. I knew the trail was going to be mostly downhill or flat, but was irked to find that it continued to be overgrown making progress slower and more unpleasant than it might otherwise have been. The scenery was good with the raging Grider Creek in the valley below being joined by numerous streams along the way. There had been a fire through the area a few years ago and most of the trees were burnt, perhaps accounting for the burgeoning undergrowth.
I took my only break after about eight miles, just before the trail joined a road, then, having worked out I had just under seven miles to go, decided I would walk it without another break. I managed that (rejecting, with thanks, the offer of a lift from the only car that came along), but it was a chore on a hot morning, especially when the objective could have been reached quite quickly by swimming across the Klammath River, instead of a long road walk around to a bridge.
At Seiad Valley (store, cafe, post office and RV park), I enjoyed a delicious lunch before checking into the RV park, having a shower and doing my laundry, then restocking my supplies from the store for the next few days to Ashland. The RV park is pretty run down and a bit seedy, but it’s OK, and I will camp the night.
There were about eight other PCT hikers hanging around the RV park during the afternoon, and I learnt that the trail north out of town is also thick with poison ivy undergrowth. A popular strategy to avoid the overgrown trail is apparently to take a forest road that intersects with the PCT after about 12 miles (and it’s a mile or two shorter). In keeping with my policy of sticking to the official PCT unless there is a sensible reason not to, I think I will take the road to avoid the unpleasant trail. I think all of the hikers at the RV park are going to do the same, though I was quite surprised when four of them accepted the offer of a lift to the trail intersection instead of hiking the road. I guess we all have different standards, and many would argue that by following the forest road tomorrow, I am also “cheating”.
In the morning I will have breakfast at the cafe and then head off. Hopefully, it will be a bit cooler. I have booked myself a room in Ashland for two nights from Tuesday and should get there comfortably.