Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day 92 - Seiad Valley

Friday morning I woke up inside a soaked tent; from condensation on the inside.  I think it was a combination of being at an elevation where it was much more humid than up in the mountains but still cool at night, being close to a stream, and breathing.  Some nights I'll leave my tent flaps open during the night if I think it'll be like that, but I didn't think of it for some reason.  I had done some of the descent down the valley the evening prior and got back into the jungle-like forest that was in the valley around Castella.  I'm getting close to Oregon; the past few days have been cloudy and threatening rain (I know it's rained in areas, just not on me yet) and there is Oregon Grape everywhere.  And poison oak, but thankfully I don't have to worry about that.
I rolled up my soggy tent and started hiking around 6:30, a bit earlier than usual as of late.  The days staying light until after 9:00 have lulled me into sleeping later and hiking later than I was early on in the hike.  But I had to make it to town before the cafe closed at 2:00.  Not a problem, but I don't like to risk cutting it close.  It was about 15 miles, I made it there just after noon, despite having to stop and munch on some blackberries growing along the road.  There weren't many ripe ones yet; hikers coming through in a couple weeks are going to be feasting there.

I found G-Man at an RV park that also welcomes hikers next to the store/post office/cafe, the town is primarily that one building.  I left my pack there and got lunch and a blackberry milkshake at the cafe.  The store, like most I've visited along the trail, had exactly the sort of food I've been eating the whole trip; junk food, ramen and instant potatos.  It also had some fresh produce, hardware and camping supplies.  I got fuel for my stove; I ran out for the first time when there wasn't any in Etna.  Not bad for a little store.  That's part of the reason I haven't been sending myself hardly any resupply boxes, to support the stores like this who make an effort to cater to hikers.  The trail is on the highway for a few miles when it goes through town.  It's always nice to have a town right along the trail.  I'll bet almost every hiker stops in that store.  The owner has trail registers hikers have signed dating all the way back into the mid-80s.

I loaded up my pack and left town around 2:30, just behind G-Man.  The first 6 miles after getting off the road and onto trail again are a steep hill.  The area is sometimes one of the hottest on the trail, thanks to the elevation and the time of year hikers reach it.  It was about 85 in town when we left, but G-Man and I huffed and puffed and sweated our way up to a small spring, then on a bit further to find campsites.  I literally wrung sweat out of the front of my shirt during a few breaks, but my breaks were always over before it dried out.  I cowboy camped on the only decent patch of flat ground I could find, not even big enough for my tent.  Not sure where G-Man ended up.
This is looking back at Seiad Valley as we climbed.

1 comment:

  1. Seems like even the lushness of the Cascades and the ever present sound of running water have their drawbacks. Even so, I would imagine being an Oregonian, that the presence of maidenhair ferns gives a feeling of getting close to home.