Date: Sunday, 09 July 2017
Start: Camped at Seiad Valley RV Park, at Mile 1653.4, 1375 ft
Finish: Camped by the trail near Alex Hole Spring at Mile 1680.7, 6588 ft
Daily Miles: 27.3 PCT (less the 2.4 miles saved using alternative roadwalk, therefore 24.9 actual miles for the day)
Total PCT Miles: 1140.4
Weather: Very warm and sunny
Breakfast: Spinach & fetta cheese omelette with O’Brien potatoes, toast & jam
Dinner: Fettucine Alfredo with tuna
Aches: None in particular
Highlight: The late afternoon walking along the top of a ridge passing through sunlit meadows covered in pale yellow wildflowers with a backdrop of hazy blue mountains stretching into the far distance.
Lowlight: None really
Pictures: Click here
In the hour before going to bed last night, I chatted with a small, somewhat sorry, group of PCT hikers who were staying in the RV park for the night. Two, a young German guy who had hurt his knee in a fall in the High Sierras and a middle-aged Californian guy who was still dealing with blisters all over his feet after two months on the trail, were giving up on the PCT and going home. A third guy, “Mountain” (6’9″ with a woodsman’s beard ……… says he has trouble getting lifts when hitch-hiking!), was having a few days off and “regrouping” after his four hiking companions had all quit the PCT for good in Mt Shasta, and he was having motivation issues. A fourth guy, a retired lawyer, had decided he was also giving up on his PCT thru-hike, but was going to hike a few sections he did not want to miss before going home. Not very encouraging!
Anyway, despite the sombre previous evening, my morning went to plan with an excellent breakfast at the cafe as soon as it opened at 7:00am, and a departure soon after 8:00am. I hiked the alternative forest road route to avoid the unpleasant poison oak on the PCT, and quite enjoyed the roadwalk. The first few miles passed widely-spaced houses, weekend cottages and summer getaways hidden on forested blocks (a guy in the cafe said the population was roughly 50% rednecks and 50% retired hippies) and then after that it was just a gravel forest road with the trees providing welcome shade on a warming day. The 12.5 miles of roadwalk climbed continuously, gaining 3400 ft, but the grade was gentle and I had it all to myself apart from one car (who offered me a lift … politely declined).
At Green Pass, which I reached about 1:00pm, I met the PCT and then followed it east and north along the ridge of a mountain range. Early on there was a lot of climbing under a very warm sun, but later the going was better. It’s easy on the PCT to become blase about the scenery because it is so good most of the time. Today, for example, the trail climbed to nearly 7000 ft, but for much of the time was passing through alpine meadows with views offered in most directions to forested valleys thousands of feet below and to mountains rolling away into the distance for scores of miles. It was fantastic.
My strategy for the three days hiking to the I-5, and the hitch to Ashland, was to do long days today and tomorrow, and then hopefully to only need half a day’s hiking on Tuesday. With that in mind, I set a stretch target today, and didn’t reach my goal until nearly 7:30pm, and then had to hike a short distance down a steep hill to get water. Despite the long day, I quite enjoyed the hiking. The trail has been easier going and generally the temperatures a little lower. In fact, it got very chilly while having dinner.
There have been quite a lot of bear droppings along the trail today, but I still haven’t seen one. While writing up my journal, there was a strange and growing tinkling of bells, and I was visited by a small herd of cattle in tbe dark!