July 5: Hobart Peak to Howard Prairie Lake (PCT mile 1732 to 1749)

It was great to be back on the trail and I had no problem returning to trail life. I slept great and got up early. I came across a cool find: a Rubber Boa (Snake) on the trail.I also got a great view of the Mt. Ashland area that I hiked through last weekMy first water source this morning was Keene Creek that flows from the Little Hyatt Reservoir Although todays hike had very slight elevation changes, it was enough to irritate my shin. I was hiking speed was much slower than normal and downhill sections were painful. By noon it was clear to me that I needed to plan my exit strategy. The next water location was a large lake with a road. I headed for a private campground that is noted to be friendly to PCTers. I met the owners who informed me the entire site is rented out to a youth group that was arriving today. They offered me all the water I wanted and let me sit a bit. I explained my situation and asked about the best way to get to Ashland. He said the road along the lake has very little traffic, but it does connect to a busier road about 5 miles up that runs down to Ashland.I started hiking along the lake in the shade and after a mile or so it joined the road. They were quite right, there is very little traffic on this road. After a while, I finally heard a truck coming in stuck out my thumb– and the driver pulled over!As I limpingly-hurried to the truck, the driver got out and said “Are you the guy that was talking with my parents at the campground? They sent me to give you a ride!”. Wow, how cool is that! So many wonderful people!He dropped me off at the local Albertsons food market where I phoned Rob and Alice. While waiting for them a customer stopped to ask if I was a PCT hiker and if I was going to Canada. I replied that was on the PCT, but shin splints have driven me off the trail. He asked what I had been doing to treat it, and then asked if he could feel my shins. He noted the swelling and heat and suggested padding to raise the heel. It turns out he’s a Physical Therapist visiting from Washington.So now I’m back to being pampered byRob and Alice and figuring out how to best to get home so I can rest my leg and reassess my plans.I fear my PCT hike of 2018 may be over.

July 4: Ashland to Hobart Peak (PCT mile 1717 to 1732)

Happy 4th of July! I decorated my pack for the occasion with a flag Rob bought meToday I will find out how healed I am after a week of resting, icing, etc. First a breakfast wit Rob and Alice and then we said our goodbyes, or see you later’s as I do intend to return to Ashland!It did not take too long to notice a slight pain in my shin. Luckily it did not get worse, it was just letting me know I still am not over this. I started later than normal, and this part of the trail has only a few marked campsites, so I ended up walking 14 miles today. I decided that was enough for my first day back, and besides, the next marked campsite is another 6 miles ahead.I did not capture many pictures today: the views were hazy due to low clouds, but that also kept the temperature very comfy for hiking.I did finally get a decent butterfly shotThanks for reading !

June 29 and 30: Zero days in Ashland

Friday was my big resupply planning and, buying, packing and mailing day. I have to buy food and mail it ahead to locations on the trail that do not have a food market that I can count on buying meals from. So I have to acquire

  • Five days of food to carry to get me to Crater Lakes
  • Four days of food to box and send to Crater Lakes to get me to Shelter Cove
  • Five days of food to box and send to Shelter Cove to get me to the Town of Sisters
  • Three days of food to box and send to Timberline Lodge to get me to Cascade Locks
  • And three days of food to box and send to Snoqualmie Pass to get me to Stevens Pass/Skykomish

I had to visit two food stores (one didn’t have Almond Snickers) and a Mountaineering Store to get a new digging tool.Most of these boxes can be sent via the US Postal Service, but one location only accepts UPS packages, so it makes it that much more work.There are other stops on the trail or near enough to it, that have grocery stores I can buy from. That’s much easier, although I may be at risk of having to accept what’s available. Luckily, I’m still ahead of the PCT “herd” that is working their way through the Sierras and Northern CA now. All the shopping caused my foot to start hurting again. After consulting with Dr. Alice, we agreed I should visit Urgent Care on Saturday to rule out a more serious injury. In the meantime I’m taking ibuprofen and icing my leg. Saturday morning I was second in line at the local Urgent Care. X-rays showed my tibia is fine, no micro fractures, so the diagnosis is “Shin Splints”. Bad news, but could be worse, the hiking may be delayed but not over. I’ve decided that I need to take a few more days off trail to let my leg mend. Thankfully, Rob and Alice are wonderful people and have offered to let me stay the extra time I need. It’s all part of the trail: dealing what what the trail throws at you: snow, swollen rivers, hot days, big hills, injuries, etc. I’m determined to finish this trail!

June 28: just past Red Mountain to Callahan’s Lodge (Ashland) (PCT miles 1704 to 1718)

Today we have a 14-@mile hike to Callahan’s Lodge where we will meet up with my Sea Ranch neighbors for a few zero days!We woke up in the clouds and got to see them in all forms: Blowing by us,looking like snow below us,and interesting lookingWe arrived at Callahan’s Lodge, just outside of Ashland and had a nice lunch. Town food! Along the way down to Callahan’s I started noticed a growing pain in my right foot that was quite painful by the time we arrived. Good thing today is a short hiking day and that I will be taking two Zeros in Ashland. We were met by my Sea Ranch neighbors Rob and Alice Diefenbach, who will put me up for the next few days, fed me well and drive me to grocery stores, the Post Office and mountaineering stores to mail supplies further up the trail.Thank you so much Rob and Alice!

June 27: just past White Mountain in CA to just past Red Mountain in OR (PCT mile 1679 to 1704)

Today we visited an 85 year old cabin being restored by the grandson of the original builder

It looks out over a beautiful meadow

PCTers are welcome to stay overnight , but the day is young and we are nearly done with hiking in California. Just a few miles away we crossed into Oregon!

I know it is just lucky timing, but Oregon is cooler, greener and has more water than Northern CA.

Here’s one of our nice views today

We are hiking east towards Mt Ashland, the peak with the white round structure on top

I’m seeing lots more Phlox, some of it very deep purple

We initially set up camp near a steam in two tiny tent spots. I was not thrilled with my spot which had a tree blocking the entrance, so I started scouting around. I found an old logging road about 20 yards uphill that looked better, so we moved. I often find that the first campsite is not the best.

Clouds started floating over us and it is noticeably cooler than previous evenings. I even had to put my puffy jacket on to keep warm.

June 26: Seiad Valley to just past White Mountain (PCT mile 1657 to 1679)

Picasso and I got up as early as we could to get a jump on today’s climb. I was worried it would be as hot as our descent to Grider Creek a few days before. We had shade for the majority of the hill and then a cool breeze afterwards. We completed the big hill by 10am and found that we can still see Mt Shasta.

We hiked past more Limestone and volcanic ridges

And a picturesque Lilly Pad lake

There were a new type of flower

And a yellow Iris

It was hot again in the afternoon as we hiked through a recent burn area: you can see the trail we had recently hiked from:

I dragged myself into camp and took a 15 minute rest before setting up camp and eating dinner. I was beat and we were in bed by 7 pm.

Soon after, I was awoken by Phoenix, who had slept in, ate a big breakfast at the Cafe, then hiked up to our spot. He plans to log another 4-5 miles before bed. Oh, to be young again and have that stamina!

June 25: Grider Creek Campground to Seiad Valley RV Park (PCT mile 1650 to 1757)

We slept in knowing we only have a 7 mile road walk to Seiad Valley where we will enjoy a Nearo (Near-Zero) day. The road was pleasant enough, no traffic and lots of morning shade.

In no time we found ourselves crossing the Klamath River Bridge and entertaining Seiad Valley

Seiad Valley is a tiny town, but it has a Cafe, Store and RV Park. We hit the Cafe first for breakfast. One of the breakfast menu items is “The 5 lb Pancake Challenge: if you can eat 5 lbs of pancakes in 2 hours, your meal is free. Not feeling heroic, I chose the bacon and eggs.

Spikes joined our table. She ordered an avocado cheeseburger and after that a normal pancake breakfast and finished both! Not only that, but she and Austin then left Seiad Valley to tackle the 5,000 foot elevation gain over 8 miles that awaits us all. Amazing!

Picasso and I hung out in the shay lawn of the RV park chatting with Grandma (whose not a Grandma, and is only 26 yrs old), Peter Pan & Bigfoot (a couple in their seventies) and Phoenix, a young guy from Switzerland

We returned to the Cafe for lunch and then back to the lawn to sit again until it was time to sleep. A very lazy day!