7/11/17 7.6 miles PCT Mile 1604.8
I woke this morning to the sound of a chicken cooing and a dog barking nonstop. Oh and we slept next to a road and despite Etnas small population a lot of cars were driving by at 5am. At 6am I gave up the dream of sleeping in and got up. Even though I only got a little over 6 hours I didn’t feel too tired as we are in town so a warm breakfast and coffee awaited. Matt was also awake as the birds woke him up. We pitched our tent in the yard of a bed and breakfast that lets hikers stay there. We did our laundry, showered, and charged our electronics in a small room they call the hiker hut. There are also many bikes for hikers or guests to use to ride to town. Matt and I hopped on bikes each with their own issues and rode to Bob’s Ranch Restaurant about 3/4 of a mile away. My bikes handle bars were crooked and the brakes a bit to touchy. The crank on Matt’s bike was almost broken in two. Off we went though, despite the difficulty in pedaling it was much faster than walking. The waitress at the restaurant helped us find an outlet to charge Matt’s phone and even found an extension cord for us. After breakfast we biked over to the Dollar General to buy some uninspiring junk food for our next stretch to Ashland. We also went to Rays Food Place where I wandered the aisles complaining about the food. Even Matt was bemoaning the food and nothing sounded good to him. I knew we should have went grocery shopping before breakfast as shopping is a lot easier when you are hungry. After we bought and packed up our groceries there was no way we could ride our bikes home as our bags would surely tip our bikes over.
After repackaging all our food we rode bikes back to “downtown” to have iced lattes and sandwiches. Shades and Commando were there and they were heading into Yreka to resupply.
We then returned to the hiker hut to laze about and prolong our departure. We were to leave with Joe Dirt at 2:30. The time came and went and we all still sat around as the temp rised. Biline arrived and we talked to him for a good hour. We finally decided it was time to leave. I tried hitching for awhile but there was just no traffic. We paid the woman at the hiker hut a past PCT hiker for a ride back to the trail for $5. Matt also posed for his werewolf senior photo.
We got on the trail a little after 4pm and decided we would hike until 7. Joe dirt was aiming for a campsite 14 miles down the trail. I knew we couldn’t make it that far so we said goodbye as he quickly hiked past us. We had actually only planned to do a few miles as this was sort of a rest day, so anything over 2 miles was a bonus.
We immediately started climbing as the sun began to be less intense. As we rounded a corner we could see the smoke filling the sky and valley. There is a low intensity forest fire burning a few miles away from the PCT that was caused by lightening. The forest service is letting it burn as the threat is low. Meanwhile the smoke makes my throat and lungs hurt a bit and I hope our campsite is on the other side of this ridge.
Matt began to fart as we climbed. Yes that’s right, Matt farts too, a lot. He lets me pass him because he is a gentleman, or so he says. The smell is so bad I stop and look at him to make sure he is ok. Unfortunately, my legs are still sore and so I’m slow and tired and the fart machine can’t bear to be behind me so I let him pass me.
After 7 miles we make it to a ridge where we find 3 open campsites. We take one and I do some stretching on our tarp. I suggest we cowboy camp as it is a nice night and I don’t see any mosquitoes. As I was laying there waiting for the sun to set I was thinking how nice it is to camp under the stars. Then just as if Matt cued the mosquitoes a bunch showed up to buzz about our faces. Matt was frantically trying to kill them with each clap. Some bats also started to fly over head to join in on the fun. Matt then says, “lets never cowboy camp again.” I thought Matt was gonna be all about the cowboy camping as we mostly did that last summer on a raft trip. I knew Matt would complain tomorrow so I asked if he wanted to set the tent up. I also couldn’t help but think about this story I just read where a bunch of camp counselors were sleeping outside and one of the kids got drug off by a bear. Matt said yes and we set up the tent just as the sun was setting. Three other hikers showed up and cowboy camped near us. They were fine. I also spotted this tree with three tops!