What a ridiculously good stretch of hiking.
This last week reunited the team, but also brought cooler weather and views that were far better than advertised. Leaving Shasta, we did not really have the motivation to hike, so we grabbed a ride at the local market and headed 6 miles into the trail at the base of a large climb. That evening we relaxed next to a creek and started a fire to keep the mosquitos at bay.
The next day we wanted to ease T-Rex into hiking so we did a bit over 24 miles to Porcupine Lake.
That morning, we decided to do about 30 miles, as we had a nice, flat bit of ridgewalking to do. The weather was perfect and provided ideal weather all day.
We have been hiking around a group that has been slack-packing recently. That is, someone drives gear they don’t need for the day to a future location so they only need to take food, water, rain gear, etc. and you can make more miles as you save weight. We were 40 miles out of Etna and we decided to slack-pack the next day to do it in one shot.
We got started on the trail at 5:45, knowing we had a full day of heavy climbing ahead of us.
The weather stayed perfect, but the terrain was very difficult. Views also stayed top notch as we knocked out 20 miles by noon.
We had a bit of a navigational detour that wasn’t planned and added 1.5 miles to our long day.
We came to the road and our friend was waiting for us just before 8PM and took a ride I to the tiny town of Etna. After grabbing couple items at the store before closing, we spent the night, sleeping in the local park (hobo level = 10). The next day we resupplied, grabbed breakfast and actually hit up a quick spa. 15 bucks to use a sauna, shower and salted tubs for two hours…awesome idea. After eating some more, we headed back to the trailhead to sleep for the night.
We don’t want to get to Ashland too soon, so the following day we opted to go 21 miles to Shadow Lake, which is a bit off the trail.
Marble Mountain Wilderness continued the trend of beauty we have seen the last week.
The following day would start with a large amount of climbing, but end with a massive descent to Seiad Valley through a recent burn area. 29 miles down the trail is a campground where we would stay before heading into town.
After fording Grider Creek due to a bridge being destroyed, we slept in the campground before a 6.5 mile road walk to town the following morning.
After walking into town, we stopped first at the cafe, where we watched, but did not partake, in the 5lb Pancake challenge.
We have resupplied and are currently waiting out weather before climbing the steepest ascent on the trail this evening (it’s 106 degrees right now and is supposed to be for 3 days), but the next time we post, it should be from Oregon, home of Portland Hipsters and half the people currently hiking the trail!