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

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