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Begins: Apr 4, 2015
Date: Tue, Jun 16th, 2015
End: Mile 1665 Seiad Valley
Trip Distance: 392.0
Entry Visits: 506
Journal Visits: 22,704
Guestbook Views: 1,087
Guestbook Entrys: 18
Pacific Crest Trail Map
M dropped me off at Sierra City, where I found a friendly but noisy crowd of hikers. Nice folks but I need some sleep, so I road hike to the trailhead on Highway 49 and camp alone in the woods. There I get a good night's sleep before starting the long uphill climb north out of civilization. On the way I encounter a rarely seen and totally harmless boa snake native to the sierra's. My plan is to hike to Etna, Seiad Valley or Ashland before coming off trail again to attend to some business.
Along the next several days I see a few through hikers and several day or section hikers. There are plenty of thru hikers out here, but as we are headed the same direction at relatively the same speed I tend not to see them so much. A southbounder would meet forty in a day. On the 18th I visit Honker Pass trail angels house and enjoy a great breakfast, do some laundry and charge my electronics. $ 20 into the donation can and I am on my way, stopping for a burger and beer in Buck's Lake before proceeding north.
On the 19th I hike into the small town of Belden, which is currently hosting a rave party. You can hear the music from a few miles away. Too crowded and noisy for my taste, but here I find and have lunch with PT and Rowan, a great young couple of hikers I first met way back in the desert. I see Gush here too, whom I met back in Devil's Postpile, and various other hikers I recognize.
On the 21st I reach Chester, a great small town near Lassen Park. I stay a night in a hotel, get cleaned up and eat and resupply before hiking out. I am doing roughly 20 miles per day, enjoying the scenery. I generally hike alone but meet and chat with people along the way. Special thanks here to Piper's Mom, who gives rides to/from town to hikers.
On the 23rd I hiked 26 miles, reaching Cave campground and my friend Ken. He is camping and fishing here. I take a double-zero, fish with Ken on Hat Creek, explore lava tube caves, eat a lot, and enjoy every second of it.My hike out on the Hat Creek Rim reminds me to do my research prior to each departure! I had forgotten that the Hat Creek Rim section is 28 miles without water, but I am carrying 3 liters and Angels stock a few water caches, so I do fine through here. A lightning storm a few miles away lights my night.Very scenic!
On the 27th I arrive and camp at Burney Falls State Park. Lots of cool hikers here, including Machine from Germany. He passes around a bottle of Jack, and I take the obligatory shot, but as always I pass on the other stuff being passed around. The water falls for which the park is named are beautiful and worth a future return visit. The hike continues until I meet again with Ken, this time joined by his wife Laura, camped at Ah Di Na campground. we visit, play board games, and do a little fishing. Due to melt-off of a glacier upstream, a byproduct of the drought, the river is cloudy and the fishing poor, but I greatly enjoy the visit.
On the 3rd of August I am in the town of Mt Shasta City. My wife and son have joined me, and so they get to see Ken and Laura for a rare visit. Food, visiting, and shopping are the order of the very relaxed and enjoyable day. The 4th finds me hiking again. Drift smoke from distant forest fires starts to obscure the view, and will do so for the next week of my hike. The next few days range from a dismal uphill 13 mile day to a better more downhill 29 mile day. On the 7th I reach pavement at Sawyer Bar Road and hitch a ride to Etna from Melissa, and really interesting habitat restoration specialist for a local conservancy. She understands the various roles and impacts of fire and logging/thinning operations on the environment, and we spend the much-too-short drive discussing fire and ecology in the northern Sierra's. I spend a night at a Hiker Haven in Etna, enjoying local food, laundry, etc before catching a ride back to the trail and continuing my journey. It takes 3 days to hike the 57 miles to Seiad Valley. Smoke greatly hampers the views of the Trinity Alps, Marble Mountain, etc. I am developing a pain problem in my left heel, and will get it looked at when I go in for this weeks business.
So there I am. M picked me up from Seiad Valley and I am off trail now till the 22nd or 23rd. I have completed about 1650-1665 miles of trail (depending on the map you read), plus side trips, for a total of about 1700 miles hiked this summer. This leaves about 1,000 miles to go, including the states of Oregon and Washington. I will be in a bit of a time crunch to beat the winter, but still look forward to a few visits from friends and family who wish to join me for short pieces of the trail.
Aside from the heel pain I am holding up well, and actually gained back a few of my lost pounds. I shaved off my beard at home, but will grow it back on the trail. Everything is great and I look forward to completing this hike!