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Half-and-Half - Pacific Crest Trail Journal - 2016

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City: Apple Valley
State: CA
Country: USA
Begins: Aug 10, 2016
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Sat, Aug 27th, 2016
Start: Etna Zero Day
End: Hyatt Lake Lodge
Daily Distance: 0
Trip Distance: 39.0

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 746
Journal Visits: 1,967
Guestbook Views: 7
Guestbook Entrys: 1

Pacific Crest Trail Map

Zero Day then on to Hyatt Lake avoiding the current fire

Journal # 4 August 23 to Sep 3, 2016

Saturday, Aug 27 - Etna, CA: zero day. I could get used to these zero days. My body feels refreshed and my left foot pain and swelling has decreased a lot. There is a hiker box here where hikers going north or south leave items they no longer need or want. There may be food, shoes, old packs, toiletries, or cooking fuels and such. Someone had left a bag of Epson salts so I snagged that and have been periodically soaking my feet in the hot water/Epson salt solution in the sink since there is no bathtub. (from Bonnie: I cannot ever remember when Craig used a bathtub at our home yet on this hike, he is disappointed if one is not in the room). Went to Bobs Ranch House Restaurant this morning for breakfast pastrami hash with scrambled eggs with biscuits and gravy. Very tasty!! Then went to the PO to mail postcards to the grandchildren and then to Rays Market to buy AAA batteries, ibuprofen, and a huge fresh peach. I washed my shirt again with some Irish Spring soap I purchased at the Dollar General store. It was a two-bar set for $ 1, so I donated one to the hiker box. Even more dirt came out of the shirt and then I hung it up to dry for the day. I did the same for the cargo shorts. I will spend the rest of the day watching sports on TV and fussing around with my equipment.

Sunday, August 28th Trail 7 pm (1900) and at mile 1620. Slept well again last night and got up about 6 am. Three nights and two days in Etna seems decadent, but I had to rest my feet and legs. Ate breakfast of a huge delicious peach, three bananas, one avocado, and a cup of Qia cereal. Then took a hot shower, dressed and walked to the market. I bought a package of organic Bunny-Luv baby carrots and a six pack of string cheese. Had 62 cents left and asked the saleslady what I could buy for that. Not much, but maybe a cup of coffee. It usually costs 90 cents for one cup and then 30 cents for a refill. She let me split the cost, and I left with a cup of coffee and went back to my hotel room. At a few minutes before nine, the caretaker lady had me put my pack and poles in the truck of her Altima. Her name is Sharon, and she is a respiratory therapist at a hospital in Yreka which is 28 miles away. She is older than Ryan, and they have been together for eight years. She has worked at Mercy Hospital in San Diego and done some teaching, so she knows her stuff. She works three, twelve hour shifts now and makes better salary than when in San Diego. She dropped me off where the PCT starts in Etna Summit Road. I gave her some money for gas expenses and got on the trail about 9:30 am. Right away, one of my trekking poles failed, so Ive got it duct taped together. It did well for the rest of the day. The trail was mostly gentle ups and downs with a few steep uphill. The tread was about 70% crushed rocks or otherwise rocky and about 30% nice soft dirt. I saw about ten southbound hikers today and actually passed Tan Man, a northbound hiker, and Germit, a fellow from Belgium about 5:30 pm. I got off the trail at 6:30 pm so Tan Man will probably pass me soon. I found a nice campsite alongside the trail. I ate dinner and prepped my foot for tomorrow. Its getting cold quickly, so I hope to sleep well. There are some gnats and flies but no mosquitos so far. My feet did okay today, but my left calf gave out a couple sharp pain signals. I was hoping the two zero days would solve that issue, but it seems to persist. Will see how it behaves tomorrow. The temperature today was only in the high 70s or low 80s with some wind at times.

Monday, August 29th Trail now about 7 pm. Actually stopped at 6 pm at Paradise. Not the prettiest lake Ive seen but several campsites available. Im not too far from a fellow whos hiking from Ashland, OR, to Castle Crags (Dunsmir). Slept well last night and didnt get up until daybreak at 6 am. I packed up, ate a dark chocolate slab I bought in Etna and got on the trail at 6:30 am. There were some very steep climbs today along with long descents. The difference is that the tread today was 60 to 70% dirt and 30 to 40% rock. Saw one southbound hiker early in the morning but none the rest of the day. There is apparently a fire near Seiad Valley which may affect the trail. During the day, I would pass Tan Man and Germit and a fellow called Rattlesnake who is from Vancouver, BC, then they would pass me. They hike fast and take long breaks while I hike slow and take shorter breaks. The feet, calves, and shoulders all did okay today. Kept fiddling with my pack adjustment straps, and now I think Ive got it just right. I had a bit of bad fortune when I got to this campsite. The other hiker said there was a spring about one hundred feet away and to just follow around the lake. Well, I got stuck in a black bog and completely soaked my shoes and socks. I think its the same thing our daughter, Cyndi, did once when we were hiking in the Grand Canyon. I washed everything off as best I could and put them out to dry overnight. Ive got some dry socks but doubt if the shoes will dry out. Temps today were high 60s and low 70s.

Tuesday, August 30th Seiad Valley RV campground on Hwy 96 (mile 1662.1). Fair sleep last night. Nice and cool and quiet with no mosquitos. I stopped early (about 6 pm) yesterday at Paradise Lake. As I was setting up my site, Tan Man, Germit, Rattlesnake and a fellow from San Diego called Hardway passed by. They like to walk later in the evening than I do. I just find that my legs and feet need the extra rest. Got up about 6 am and got on the trail at 6:30 am. I hoped to get close to Seiad Valley for an easy walk tomorrow morning. There is a big fire burning NE of there, so Im not sure what to expect. Todays trail was the best Ive been on so far in Northern CA. There were a couple of short, steep climbs early and the rest of the day was level or downhill. At about 10 am, I came upon the four north bound hikers that passed me last evening. Tan Man had called his dad and found out there was some containment of the fire. I went on, and they caught up with me between two and three pm in the afternoon. I passed them an hour later while they were putting their feet in Gridder Creek. They caught me at the Gridder Creek campground while I was having dinner. Hardway and I began the five mile road walk to Hwy 96. He got there way before me, and, when I finally got to Hwy 96, I didnt see him, so I assumed he had hitched a ride. I started the one and half mile walk to town and had gotten about half a mile when these two wonderful elderly ladies gave me a ride to town in the back of their covered p/u truck. I thanked them profusely when, who should walk up but Hardway. They gave him a can of Pepsi because the store was closed and off they went. I found out from one of the campground tenants where the manager put PCT hikers. It is a nice lawn area but close to the highway, so its very noisy with all the fire trucks going back and forth. I saw an orange helicopter with a water bag fly over several times today. When I arrived at Hwy 96, I talked to several Forest Service staff. I introduced myself as being from Apple Valley and one man had a daughter born in Apple Valley. Another small world incident. They said the PCT was closed northbound for several miles. During the hike today (before I knew about the extent of this fire), an idea came to me to skip ahead to Ashland if I could get a ride. It would probably be in two parts. First would be the 42 miles east to the Interstate 5 and then the 30 or so miles to Ashland. There was a time in my younger days when I thought it was important to walk every step of the PCT. Now Ive got to listen to my aching body and just hike what I am capable of doing. The climb out of here is terrible, and I figured if I could save four days of waking (even if I wait here until the trail is open again whenever), it would be worth it. The restaurant opens at 7 am, then I hope to do laundry and get a hot shower. I will then try to hitch a ride toward Ashland, OR, and pick up the trail there. So I may still be here tomorrow night or I could be in Oregon. Quite an adventure and one that forces adjustments on even the die hard stay on the trail hikers.

Wednesday, Aug 31st - Hyatt Lake Resort: Wow! I got two to three hours sleep last night with lots of fire vehicle traffic on the road where we PCT hikers (three of us) were cowboy camping (no tent). The lawn was not that cushiony, and I could not dig a hip hole in the lawn. Got up a little after 6 a.m., packed my stuff, and walked maybe 100 feet to the restaurant which opened at 7 a.m. Enjoyed a California omelet with avocado and bacon, with OBrien potatoes which I smothered in Sriracha sauce. Three cups of coffee also. The cook/waitress said I could have my best luck hitching a ride in the morning, so I got my stuff and went roadside. After twenty minutes, a local fellow named Kyle stopped and said he could take to twenty miles up the road past the fire and to a roadside store called Quigleys. I hopped into his old Ford Ranger and off we went. Could see the flames on the hillside at one point. Traffic was being escortedthrough that one area in one direction at a time. We only had about a ten minute wait. He dropped me off and went on his way. After another twenty to thirty minutes, a fellow named Lenin in a much newer Ford F250 diesel stopped and gave me a ride all the way to one of the I 5 exits just a little south of Ashland, OR. It was the crossing of OR 66 and the I 5, and there was a lot of traffic. After waiting awhile, a lady named Cyndi (I asked her how she spelled it and told her that our youngest daughter spells it the same way) offered me a ride all the way to the Hyatt Lake area as that was where she was headed for some acrylic painting lessons. She said she had been watching me from a nearby service station and her gut instinct was that I was okay. We had a great visit about our families and before long we were at the lodge. She is originally from St. Louis and her husband is a hospice minister. They have one son who lives in the area who legally grows marijuana. I am definitely in Oregon now! We said our good-byes, and I went in to see if lodging was available. There was and Cabin 11 became mine. They have a restaurant here also that serves lunch from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., and I noticed there is fish and chips on the menu. Just might give that a try later this afternoon. I first need to take a hot shower and once again wash my clothes in the sink. I am overjoyed and consider it a divine blessing for all that has happened today. The lake is very pretty, and the surrounding forest is like a postcard picture. Ill head back out on the trail tomorrow, Sept 2nd, but I wanted to get this days adventure written down before mailing this part of the journal home. Love to all the family.

Entry 7 of 7
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