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!

June 24: Marble Mountain Campground to Grider Creek Campground (PCT mile 1624 to 1650)

We awoke to the sunrise on one peak of the Marble Mountains

We hiked completely up and around these peaks and came upon… snow! That’s Picaso in the first photo

Today I learned that I am not allergic to bee stings. While hiking up a hill in a slight breeze, one blew onto my wrist and without hesitation stung me. I was kinda pissed at that bee: such a waste of his life!

The mountains look very different to me than what I’ve been seeing the last few weeks- very green and the peaks are more flattened.

The day kept getting hotter and hotter as we descended out of the mountains down towards the Klamath River. I had to stop often and drink water, dunk my head and rest often- and this is going downhill! At one bridge crossing of the Grider Creek the allure of the shallow pools was too strong and I took a dip. That helped a lot, but we still had 7 miles to go. Ugh!

The last few miles of this hot, humid trudge was made bearable by fining Blackberries, Raspberries and Salmon Berries! They tasted fantastic- sweet and fruity. Most of all they kept my mind off the heat.

When we reached the campground, we crossed the bridge one last time and I saw kids splashing and swimming and laughing. I quickly dumped my pack and took a long soak. All cooled and cleaned I joined Picasso at our campsite for dinner. Halfway through dinner a nice breeze started blowing and all of a sudden we heard a loud crack and boom! A dead tree had snapped and fallen by the river. We quickly assessed our campsite for deadfall risks and felt OK with our choice, finished dinner and retreated to our tents to sleep.

I fell asleep quickly but did not use my sleeping bag until about 11PM.

Tomorrow is a short hike to Saiad Valley where we’ll take a Nearo (Near-Zero day).

June 23: Sawyers Bar Rd (and the town of Etna) to Marble Valley Campground (PCT mile 1600 to 1624)

Picasso hikes a bit faster than me, especially uphill, but doesn’t seem to mind waiting.

A new flower

And more beautiful views

It was a dry, hot day with water sources rather spread out.

We passed through a very long stretch of area that burned last year

At one place we hiked around to the north side of a peak that still had lots of snow clinging to its high faces. There were streams of water flowing down all along that section and I found one that resembled the flow from a garden hose. I removed my hat and plunged my head in — it was so refreshing!

We arrived at the rural Marble Mountain Campsite, complete with unused (abandoned?) ranger hut.

The Marble Mountains are a limestone outcropping from an ancient coral reef, I am told. This is the first non granite/non-volcanic rock I’ve seen. I was told that the mix of igneous and metamorphic rocks in the mountains in the Klamath area perplexed geologists for a long time until the developed the theory of Plate Tectonics that explained how they migrated from different places and are currently here. Or so I was told by an Entomologist we met on the trail.

The Marble Mountain Campground is Home to a group of young deer that have no fear of humans and have learned that can get salt by licking human owned objects. We had to scare them off several times to prevent them from messing with our stuff. I think this area needs a few more deer hunters.

Thanks for reading!

June 22: Zero Day in Etna!

Today I get to kick back, purchase resupply food, eat, drink and chat with fellow hikers and Etna-ians. Nice!

I spent the morning and early afternoon updating this blog site. I was way, way behind!

I met up with a hiker my age from Bavaria, Germany, trail named Picasso (so-named for his colorful head bandana), and we agreed to hike out together. We’ll be shooting for getting up early, hiking 20-25 mile days, and finding a camping spot by 5-6pm.

After inspecting my clothes after laundry, I have to say that I’m very with my pants this year– the are holding up very well. In years past the seat and rear pocket stitching was worn through by sitting on rocks and trees. I’ve had to use duct tape my pants together to not moon the hikers behind me!

The pants I’m using are the Kühl Renegade Convertible. The only complaint I have, and I think I’ll post this on the REI product comments, is the front cargo pockets. They are nice looking, not too bulgy to make me look like a photographer or that scary person that hands out at the local 7-11, but the right one is nearly impossible to use. I am impressed that Kühl has created a pocket that resists inserting items into it almost as much as it resists releasing them.

There is a small divider in the pocket that effectively repulses any item that one tries to insert. Once you get it in, that same divider is extremely good at preventing getting anything out. Kinda like BofA.

That said, there is one stronger force: the attraction of an IPhone towards a water source easily allows it to escape the fabric confines of the Renegade.

I’m still loving the replacement shoes, Merrell Moab’s, if anybody cares.

I’ve worn out two pairs of socks so far, and have a third pair on the way out.

I’m also still doing fine with my no-stove plan. I’m not hot tired of the salami, cheese, Frito, cookie diet, but I really do enjoy town food!

Tomorrow I’ll go out for one more fresh breakfast then catch a lift to the trailhead and started hiking with Picasso.

Thanks for reading!

June 21: just past Carter Meadows Summit on Hwy 93 to Sawyers Bar Rd and the town of Etna (PCT miles 1581 to 1600)

I got up early in anticipation of having fresh food and beer in the PCT friendly town of Etna. Today is both the Solstice and Hike Naked Day. As a service to mankind (and especially womankind) I chose to only observe the former!

I have three equally spaced ridges to ascend then descend to get to the road today. There are no signs of clouds but I have the early morning shade to keep me cool as I ascend the first ridge.

The trail today is much steeper than other parts of this section, but my feet are still enjoying the new shoes, so I am a happy hiker.

I hiked along the east side of ridges that drop to a valley about 3,000 feet below where Etna and other small towns are.

It’s supposed be near 100 degrees down there, but it’s pleasant up here.

My second hill passed through a large burn area that was filled with standing but dead trees. I got the impression that this burned last year, but was later informed it burned about 5 years ago. A few shrubs are returning, but not much else just yet.

I found yet another new flower: a type of rockwort, I think:

After ascending the last big ridge and crossing over to the northern side I was surprised to find…. snow!

There were som surprisingly large patches but at least the trails on either side were not streams or puddles.

When I was a bit over a mile from the road, and wondering how long it will take to hitch a ride, a young woman running by with her dog. She asked if I was PCT Hiker (as if my smell and looks did not give it away) and asked if I needed a ride to Etna. I enthusiastically said “yes” to both. She told me that she was going to continue her run, but that I should wait for her by her truck at the trailhead. I only had to wait about 30 minutes for her and in that time zero cars passed going towards Etna.

She introduced herself as Melanie and she has been working for the Forest Service. She dropped me off at the Hiker Hut, a residence that has converted a shop into a bunkhouse. I walked in to find both Men’s Shoes and Cloud Rider here. They left Dunsmuir the same day I did and arrived a day before me.

I bicycled down the street a few blocks to check out one of the two Breweries in Etna. The beer was good. As I was returning I saw a pop-up Bakery on the sidewalk! It seems a local bakes bread (somewhere) and on Thursdays sets up a table on the sidewalk in front of a vacant building and sells loaves of Sourdough Bread, cookies and pastries. A line was forming, so I got in it and scored a Parmesan-Black Pepper Sourdough loaf. It was awesome!

We went out to dinner together and met up with Tikka, whom we had all met on the trail.

Tikka, on the left, is a self-proclaimed “citizen of the world”. He’s not only a Triple-Crowner (completed the Appalachian Trail, the PCT and the Central Divide Trail) but also two other National Scenic Trails. He claims to live off less than $4,000 per year for the past 10 years. Pretty amazing if true!

It was nice to have clean clothes, a hot shower, fresh veggies and food, good IPA and a soft bed!

Thanks for reading