Saturday, August 5, 2017

Seiad Valley to Etna

7/24 Mon

Before taking off:

  • another shower
  • lunch at cafe
  • picked up re-supply boxes (yep, we had so much food we had to divide it up into two boxes)
  • Shipped four days of food to Etna
Left Seiad Valley 1:45 pm and it was HOT (>100*)
  • 1 mile walk on Highway 96 and 5 mile road walk to Grider Campground. 
  • Hiked another 4 miles.  Camped near wooden bridge at Grider Creek 
  • PCT mile 1642.9 started Seiad Valley to mile 1653.4 = 10.5 miles
Tues 7/25   Two Thunderstorms in the same day
Storm #1 
  • 4:00 am--I could see stars and also lightning flashes
  • Left camp 5:13 am
  • 6:00 am lots of cracking and popping of thunder
  • 6:20 am make sure pack cover and rain gear are handy
  • 6:35 am raining--put on rain gear and pack cover 
  • Thunderstorm moving away and then right on top of me
  • Raining some, then stopping
  • By 8:30 rain gear off
  • By 11:00 am no clouds and getting warm

Storm #2
  • 5:00 pm talking with Viking.  He wants to know weather report
  • 5:15 Rain, hail, hunkered under fir tree.  Hail as large as 1.5" diameter.  Ground is white with hail.  Raining hard again
  • 5:45 Rain stopped.  Hiking on toward cabin with campsite
  • 6:30 Raining hard, some hail.  I am wet.  I see green tent then yellow rainfly, maybe I can join them out of the rain.  Turns out to be a trail crew camp.  Yes, I can stay
  • They feed me hamburger--2 meat patties--hummus, veggies, Gatorade, hot tea
  • At trail camp, met a young woman in pink coat.  She asked camp cook if I could eat. 
  • Turns out gal in pink coat daughter of Mike Borman
  • Mike Borman, now retired, former Range Extension Specialist for Oregon State University
  • Mike and I are both member of the Pacific Northwest Section of the Society for Range Management.  I know Mike quite well.  Great guy

  • Mike's daughter's name is Sarah, super young woman
  • Sarah and I have a good laugh.  What are the odds of running into a connection with someone you know at a fire camp in the Marble Mountain Wilderness...Small World
Plants I know
  • I carry no plant books--too heavy
  • I spend no time doing plant identification--I gotta put in my miles
  • Marble Mountain Wilderness
    • Forest and subalpine
    • some sites--very shallow--no trees--a shrub flower rangeland plant community
  • Plants I've seen the last two days while walking

    • Fir and Pine trees--California species
    • Some bristlecone pine (I think)
    • shrubs: ceanothus, manzanita, rose, spiria
    • flowers:  Indian paintbrush fleabane--purple and yellow, lupine, collomia, buckwheat/Eriogonam
  • Grass: Idaho fescue
    • some poa/bluegrass
    • some wheatgrass
Started 1642.9  Ended 1621.2 = 21.7 miles
  • Finding the fire camp--I was cold and miserable
  • Got out of the rain, Got fed, warmed up with hot tea and a warming fire
  • Water at my camp. I was warm, dry, and toasty. 
  • The trail provides.  God is looking out for this old hiker

Before Seiad Valley I got off trail to let three people on horses get by.  Then on Monday, just before campsite, I saw horses and a mule, then two people working on the trail. Bill and Laura from Seiad Valley.  Bill has been a trail contractor for the US Forest Service for 46 years, nice folks 

Yesterday I saw several hikers

  • Group of four--two guys, two gals, all completed the Sierras, but I did not get their names
  • Saw two Brads--older from England--I saw him in the desert.  Brad #2 (trail name Lazarus--from Bible).  Is from England, he had skipped from Mojave to Belden
Wed 7/26  Started 1621.2   Ended 1600.9    21.3 miles
  • Considering how my day went, I'm quite pleased with 21 miles
  • May 30--hike from Deep Creek Hot Springs to Hwy 173, I was short of breath and dizzy on any uphills.  May 31--when I was released from hospital in Hesperia, CA, I was told, "drink more, eat more."
  • Not exactly definitive
  • Today, same symptoms happened--three things at play here
    • level of hydration
    • level of electrolytes
    • level of food/fuel

  • First thing I did was to drink, added electrolyte drops, Skratch powder (think Gatorade with less sugar), and powdered milk
  • Drinking electrolytes had NO effect whatsoever.  Symptoms continued.
  • Throughout the day, I ate on a regular basis.  Dizzyness stopped.  As the day continued, short of breath was less.  I never hiked with power like I normally do.  
  • Some hikers I ran into today:
    • Left (a Gal) and Right (a Guy)
    • Second hiker named Strider
    • LaneToad--I know her from the desert.  Was suffering from knee and ankle problems.  She went home then skipped from Mojave to Mt Shasta
    • a couple--Pocahontas and Captain Cowboy
    • Lost and Found (a guy) and Jitterbug (a gal)
  • In the movie "True Grit," it was said that John Wayne's character had a lot of grit.  Today tool a lot of "grit" to make 20 miles--short of breath, dizzy, left knee and ankle sore.  Getting only 10-15 miles done was not an option.  Not enough food to make two full days. 
  • Brent (met him in Seiad Valley)--has a daily goal of 33 miles.  He tries to complete 10 miles by 8:00 am and 21 miles by noon.

  • I don't care what anyone says, 20 miles is a BIG day.  Think east side of Moses Lake to Ephrata, but with 3-4 hills thrown in. 
  • Only 4 miles to Etna Summit to hitch a ride to town
  • Shredded beef dinner (Mexican food) with refried beans and Spanish rice
  • The meat and rice I cooked and dehydrated.  Beans I bought.  
  • This meal will beat the heck out of most Mexican restaurants--Not bragging, it's a fact.  It would take a restaurant from New Mexico to compare. 
  • The meat is just on the verge of being too hot. 
  • I am tired, sore, and stiff after sitting a while--left knee is achy now and likely will throb when I hit the sack. 
  • Marble Mountain Wilderness is pretty darn cool--very scenic.  I wish I felt better today to enjoy it even more
  • Four hikers joined me at camp
    • Dan, Anna--from Montana--just got on the trail at Etna
    • She-shu--from Israel
    • Can't remember 4th hiker's name 
Thurs 7/27
  • 4 mile hike to Etna Summit. Arrive 7:30
  • Ride to Etna 8:00 am from a gal named Lion Heart
  • Shower, Laundry

  • Breakfast at Bob's Ranchhouse--chicken fried steak, 3 eggs, country potatoes, ice water, ice tea, chocolate/peanut butter pie
  • Resupply box is here! The one box that was late and cost me a zero day (Seiad Valley) was my mistake all the way. 
Thurs 7/27
  • 1:20 pm started trying to hitch a ride to Etna Summit
  • Guy named Steve gave me a ride.  He had a guitar and banjo in his car, so we talked bluegrass music

  • The trail has a way of providing.  By getting back on trail the same day I ran into a group I had heard about and really wanted to see.  
  • First came the black border collie (I may be wrong about the breed)
  • Next came Cowboy walking in front of saddle horse and pack horse  His name is Trent and he has come from Mexico.  The PCT has mainly hikers, but people on horses have as much right to be on the trail.  Trent said taking horses is like taking an adolescent--you must take care of their needs.  He said horseback travel like this takes knowledge and skill set that is being lost.  Trent packs a pistol and wears chaps.  He certainly looks like the real deal to me.  Nice guy.  We exchanged cards, took pictures of each other.  I would like to spend a couple of days with Trent and his animals.  I have a lot of questions for Trent. Trent is also doing a fundraiser to help a friend with Ataxia .

  • Today's hike: 1701-1697, then town.  Then 1697-1591.5 Payne Lake.  10 miles plus stop in town. 
  • Around noon today I knew I was being pulled in two different directions
    • spend the night at Hiker Hut.  My left knee could have used the rest and I was VERY tempted. 
    • get back on the trail. 
  • Glad I am back on the trail.  Both knees ache, but I got to talk with Trent.  Then at Payne Lake, I saw Chris with two pack donkeys.  Chris packed in gear and food for a family. 

Fri 7/28  1591.5 to 1566.27 = 25 miles
  • I'm pooped, tired.  Left knee swollen, left ankle sore
  • A few hikers I saw:
    • Mega Man
    • DQ
    • Peaks and Rocky (newlyweds) 
    • Tani and Scott
  • Mt Shasta

  • Trinity Alps Wilderness--scenic
  • A gal whose name I can't remember, said, "We're so gifted, with a little work and we get all these great views."  Every day on the trail is a gift
  • At the last spring, I got water without treating it.  At camp, I just started drinking.  I hope I don't get sick.  
Sat 7/29

  •  I am sad to report that the body of a young Japanese woman was found.  Very likely I met her in Lone Pine the day before I caught the bus for home.  
  • Last few days AND nights have been hot.  I'd like the nights to be cooler so I can sleep better. 
  • Today's hike: started PCT mile 1566 ended PCT mile 1541=25 miles
  • Camping on Cemant Ridge is the only spot without rock (gravels to boulders)

  • Some of the hikers I met today
    • David--a section hiker
    • Hawkeye
    • Easy
    • The Ambassador (from Sweden) and Surf-n-Turf
    • Skittles--can't remember his wife's name--both thru-hikers--AND Skittles' mother
    • Janine--a section hiker
    • Freckles (from Australia) and Pandora (from New Zealand)
    • Sancho and Catalyst
    • Thomas from France
  • Day before getting to Seiad Valley, I did 27 miles.  The next day I pushed for four hours just to get to Seiad Valley Cafe in time (it closes at 2:00 pm)
  • Since then, left knee is terribly swollen by the end of the day. 
  • Left foot and ankle are also sore
  • Here's is someone's short version of a day hiking the PCT
    • I hike, I eat, I sleep.  Ditto for yesterday and tomorrow. 
  • End of the day after I sit, rigor mortis sets in.  Very stiff knees throb.
  • I sleep with my knees on top of my pack.  Helps with overnight recovery

Sun 7/30 Today's hike:  Started 1541  Ended 1518.6 = 23 miles
  • Fairly easy hiking today
  • Cleaned up in Deadfall Lake.  Wish I could dip again, but this is a day camp. 
  • Hikers I met today: 
    • Pauline (girl) and Vivian (guy) both from France
    • Lunch and Bubba
    • Hobbles
    • Do So 
    • Snickers
    • Dutch
    • Chun Kwy (fro Korea)
    • Mark from Tacoma, WA.  Made it through Sierras early May, before snow melt with a group of five.  He is still physically, mentally, and emotionally spent from the experience. Navigation was a constant issue, uneasy about about having enough fuel to melt snow.  He's not having fun. I tried to encourage him.  I hope he hangs in there. 

  • Came on a running club around mile 1523 on an unpaved road.  I followed them 0.7 mile to a paved road.  They gave me three liters of water, orange slices, watermelon, and homemade bars--whole wheat flour, nuts, chocolate--very good. 


  1. A few thoughts:

    1. After seeing Dad stop on the side of the road too many times to count to identify a plant, I'm impressed that he hasn't done much plant identification.

    2. At least one person Dad met had the Northern California Blues. You can get it either from a let down after the Sierras into much more mundane scenery or from coming out of the Sierras shell-shocked. A lot of people quit in Northern California or at Ashland just after finishing California. By the time you make it to Crater Lake, you don't see anyone who quits willingly.

    3. Hopefully Dad finally starts eating enough. A doctor/nurse told him they thought it was electrolytes for the first dizzy spell, but now we know it's food. You have to eat an insane amount of food on a long distance hike and because you run out of reserves, your body can't handle not eating enough.

    4. It's easy to get used to 30+ mile days and think of 20 mile days as light and easy. Every so often you need someone to remind you that 20 miles is still a big day. Dairy Queen did that for me last year as we both came close to completing the Oregon Challenge (requires averaging 33 mpd for Oregon to complete it in less than 14 days).

    5. There were a lot of different approaches to treating water. Some didn't treat anything. Others would treat unless they could see the source and the source looked good (springs). Some treated only if it wasn't clear and flowing. I fell into the group of treating everything. I know of at least a couple people who got sick and at least one who dropped out because of that. I decided that it wasn't worth the risk to not treat water. Dad should be fine as springs are great sources of water that almost always can be trusted.

    6. Until last year, nobody had died attempting a thru hike of the PCT until last year (still haven't found the body). If I'm not mistaken, the Japanese lady is the third thru hiker to die on the trail this year. That should give you an idea of how extremely different the trail is this year.

  2. I am so inspired by you!! I love reading your blog posts! Thanks for sharing Becky!!

  3. I am so motivated by you!! I cherish perusing your blog entries! A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing Becky!! Keep it up