Day 104: Seiad Valley

Day 104
July 31
mile 1651.4-appr. 1670
18.6 miles

Somehow, I was able to get up early. I boiled water for my coffee, ate breakfast, and packed up, all before Elk got up! Miraculously, I didn’t even need to find a place to run off to!
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I had about four miles to walk before I reached a campground and saw nowhere to camp within that part of the trail. Cookie must have done a lot of walking in the dark last night! When I reached the campground, I saw the three Germans (Ranch, Beer, and Viking) sitting at a picnic table, smoking. They had slept there the night before and said someone had arrived late last night and got up very early this morning, but didn’t know who it was. They pointed out the way to the road and said they would see me in Seiad Valley.
I turned onto the road and as I rounded the corner, saw a disturbing stuffed animal rabbit on a log. I have no idea what that was about!
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I began to lose energy as I walked along the dusty dirt road and decided to sit down for a snack break. Several minutes later, a huge logging truck came towards me, kicking up great amounts of dust! Perhaps that wasn’t the best place to sit down… Later, a big truck that was dripping water onto the road came by and passed me twice. Eventually, I turned onto a paved road and began the walk into the tiny community of Seiad Valley.
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I listened to some music to help me along. A lot of people complain about road-walking, but I didn’t think it was too awful. There had been less of it on this hike than I had originally expected.
I walked by a few farms and then came to the center of town. Everything that was of interest to us was essentially in the same building. Next door, was an RV park with a shower. My first order of business was getting breakfast! I entered the cafe and sat down next to Cookie at the counter. She was engaged in conversation with some locals and didn’t even notice me for awhile! Immediately after she finished her eggs, she headed out, wanting to start the big climb before it got too hot out. Last year, a huge fire had burned this section of trail, making the climb even hotter than it had typically been. This section of trail is notorious for the heat, but after the untypically hot and humid past couple of weeks, it was nothing to new to us.
I ordered an omelet and while I ate, learned that Shyshinka had been brought to the doctor yesterday and given antibiotics for giardia! I felt so bad for him! And now his whole plan of getting to Ashland had been thrown off. Just as they were switching from breakfast to lunch, I got in the last order for french toast. Several hikers had come in to eat in the back room in the meantime, including Slack and his group. SunDog and Giggles did not arrive in time for breakfast.
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After I ate, I went to the post office to pick up my packages and then sat outside to sort through my things in the hot sun. The Germans were hovering around, wanting my extras, but I let Slack take what he wanted first. I had given him my extras in Etna and he had been really appreciative.
Then, I headed over to the RV park to take a coin shower. I made it back to the cafe just before they were about to close and got a chicken sandwich, which didn’t turn out to be at all what I was expecting. I should have just stopped with breakfast. My stomach was hurting anyway and I wasn’t able to eat much of it. However, Shyshinka came in while I was there and I got to catch up with him about what had happened! The hikers gathered around the shaded picnic tables outside to sort and then head out or hang around until the sun started to go down to avoid the heat of the day. I headed out around 3, wanting to get in a decent number of miles. I walked along the paved road, not knowing where the PCT branched of. Re-finding the trail always took so much energy for me! Finally, I found the path and started the climb.
In a couple of miles, I came to a piped spring and trough and decided to stop and re-fill my water bottles. I spotted a deer and then saw two fawns and a second adult! They were so cute!
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I took the climb slowly and didn’t find it as tough as I had heard. I felt happy with the progress I was making and the higher I climbed, the more beautiful the terrain got.
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As night approached, I found myself on an open ridge with no obvious place to set up. I checked out a couple of places, but nothing seemed suitable. Above me, I saw what might look to have a semi-flat space, but the wind had really picked up and I felt that it was too unprotected and cold in that gravelly area. I headed back down to the trail and walked on.
A little later, I decided to stop just above the trail in a very sooty area. What remained of the trees were blackened stumps. The ash was still dark and fresh. It probably wasn’t the healthiest decision to sleep here, but I did not have much of a choice. Because I had eaten so much regular food in Seiad Valley, I didn’t feel like I needed to cook a pasta dinner. Instead, I enjoyed a chocolate feast! I bundled up as the temperatures quickly dropped and the wind swirled around me.
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The sunset was gorgeous, and overnight, the most unbelievable stars appeared over my head, revealing the Milky Way. What an incredible place I had found myself in!

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