Thursday, July 09, 2009

Seiad Valley

I thought I had slept in way down in the deep valley. But it was hard to tell. The light started very early and lasted very long at night so far north. It turned out I hadn't slept in at all. I was on the trail by 6 as usual.

The trail descended along a creek through thick forest. It was like Middle Earth and I was a Hobbit wit big hairy feet.

I stopped at the first footbridge over Grider Creek and ate breakfast. I was quite hungry even after stuffing myself for dinner the night before.

The trail finally ended at a campground where I saw a man and his truck. I realized that I had seen no one this entire section until now.

After the campground, the whole rest of the trail to Seiad Valley was on dirt and paved roads. The reason for this was the Klamath river. Apparently there was no way to build a trail and a horse/footbridge for it. According to the guide book, some hikers had attempted fording the river. As I walked painfully along the road, I watched the river trying to see where you could walk across. I saw a spot that looked like ducks were fording. That's where I would try, I thought to myself. But no way was I going to try it!

I finally stumbled into the Post Office, the US Post Office of the State of Jefferson, at about 11:30 during their lunch break. I went to the RV park next door to rest. I got a spot in the little "horse corral" they set aside for PCT hikers, a small area fenced off and lined with straw. There was a TV, refrigerator and microwave and a sink. I washed my feet in the sink and laid out my foam pad and promptly fell asleep exhausted.

Two little boys woke me up talking about stinky farts and wanting dirt bikes. I went to the Post Office to get my food and my mom had sent me a surprise tube of Arnica gel for my achey feet and sore muscles. I tried it out on my tired feet and walked over to the cafe.

I did not feel hungry, only tired, but I thought maybe a salad might bring me back to life, so I got a chef's salad. It was cold, crispy and huge. I felt a lot better about 2/3 of the way through it. I ate the whole thing, of course.

Reading the guide book I had gotten the impression that Seiad Valle was bigger than Etna, but the opposite was true. I had sent a full resupply to Etna and only a couple of items to Seiad Valley. So I made do the best I could with the items in the small store. They had a pretty decent selection of things I could hike with, but it did look a little empty. Crow, a PCT hiker whose blog I have read, said that you can resupply almost anywhere as long as you think creatively. So I loaded up my basket with bread and jelly so I could make peanut butter sandwiches, little danish pastries for breakfast, candy and fruit jelly supposedly non-candy things (but I know candy when I see it) and a pasta side for dinner. I now needed a lighter container for my jelly and some more peanut butter. I planned to ask the cafe to sell me some peanut butter and put my peanut butter in a baggie and my jelly in the peanut butter jar.

The climb out of Seiad Valley looked like it would be tough. Something like a 4400 foot climb in 8 miles. The guide book had said that Sections P and Q, from Castle Crags to Seiad Valley, could be done in 10+ days by a strong backpacker. I had done it in 6 days with nearly 24 hours spent in Etna. The only think I wanted to do now was rest and try to decide if late afternoon or early morning was the best time to begin the climb.

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