Day 94, 24 miles
Seiad Valley Klamath National Forest
I want to always remember tonight’s hike. This is so amazing!
Blowout was up and ready to hike before 6am. I hustled to pack up, and we were off to hike the 14 miles in for breakfast at the Saied Valley Cafe. The morning’s hike followed Grider Creek down further into the hot, hot valley.
I’m not as famished any more. I am slowly recuperating from the Sierras. Those High Sierras really kicked my butt. I notice my calves are looking thicker and I can see muscles on my thighs and arms again. I am feeling a bit stronger hiking up hills.
At the cafe was Cheesburger, Irish, Trailhacker, and Blowout. After a delicious breakfast, eggs, potatoes, bacon, toast, pancakes, coffee, and house special blackberry milkshake, we all went outside to a small shaded picnic table. Rabbit, Rafiki, and Pillow talk soon joined us. There was a secluded swimming hole in the river nearby so I went over and stripped down for a dip.
I headed out at 5pm even though it was still so hot. It was such a difficult hike up 8 miles in the heat. I drank 4 liters of water, stopping to fill up at a spring on the side of the rock mountain. I was soaked with sweat. I looked down at the valley and the river where I had gone for a dip a few hours earlier. I wondered where my trail friends were. I later found out Rabbit hiked up and camped at around 8 miles, Rafiki and Pillow talk found shelter somewhere as well. Irish, Cheesburger, and Blowout started drinking beer. In that heat, it was game and day over for them. No way could I have hiked if I had a beer before this hot climb.
The hike went from 1,200 feet to 6,000 feet. It was a big change at the top. So windy. So beautiful. It was dusk and I was still up on the high, windy rock mountain for another 2 miles. At 9:15pm I had 1/2 a mile to go. The trail finally switch-backed down 200 feet to a bit of shelter. I found Kangaroo Spring, a murky puddle, in the dark. I used my pot to scoop up water to pour into my water filter bag. It was too windy at the spring to set up my tent. I used my phone flashlight and headed back toward the mountain to find shelter from the wind. After searching through the bush for 15 minutes, I found a spot between two large rocks. I placed my tent down and filled it up with all my equipment before erecting it, so it wouldn’t blow away. The moon was not out yet. It was very dark. It was quiet except for the wind I could hear up in the mountain and over at the spring in the meadow. I was alone. I felt so calm. So peaceful. It was magic. At 11:30 I was still awake, maybe from the exertion of the hot evening climb. I got out of my tent and stretched up to the sky. The moon and stars illuminated my surroundings. Wow. I am so lucky to have this experience. Tonight was another fun adventure I will remember with joy.
The tent photos are of my magical camping spot the next morning.