California Oregon border
to Beldon 410 miles
border to Etna Our way led south from the
Oregon border sign post on 17th August along broad ridges through
vibrant flower meadows with our main obstacle being limited water
sources. We saw very few other walkers in this area but met a fellow
European PCT hiker called Svein at 'Cook and Green Pass'. Svein was
from Norway and we kind-of hit off as our sense of humour matched
as we all had a bit of rant about how weird but also wonderful the
people are here compared to Europe.
From a ridge
top past hot Kangaroo Mountain at near 6,000 feet we looked
down at a long, long descent into the Klamath river valley
at 1,400 feet where we knew there was a cafe, grocery store
and a post office, hopefully holding our resupply box. My
feet hurt horribly on this descent, I think from the heat
Our hiking feet- we owed them a lot. Don't look closer if
you are squeamish!
building humidity but mostly from the general continual pounding of
stumbled into Seiad on the evening of 19th August and found
the staff friendly in the small store where we had a huge evening
meal with Svein and also Sideshow who turned up. The milk shakes and
pancakes at the store were something else and Seiad store holds a
and milk shakes at Seiad Valley - perfect!
Seiad Valley store L-R Martina, Svein, Ron
I think six of their HUGE pancakes have to be eaten in one go. Of
course this gauntlet must have been taken up by most long distance
hikers passing through but I am afraid to say that Martina and I only
made it through one and a half pancakes each. Quite a feeble effort
really. We later heard that Josh,
a northbound PCT hiker, had completed the challenge, but only after
semi starving himself on the days before arriving at Seiad!
start the next morning was a bit slow after another large breakfast
at the cafe and sorting food to do us to our next stop at Etna. The
post office held a 'hiker box' which contained food and bits of equipment
that hikers had left behind. Since our resupply parcel hadn't arrived
we were able to scrounge our way through the 'hiker box' and, after
swapping a pancake for some dehydrated meals with Ron, were able to
make up our supplies. The 'hiker boxes' became a major source of supply
for some as food was often left by hikers who had dropped away from
the trail or their tastes had changed and they couldn't stand the
food they had faithfully packaged in the spring before setting out.
dragged ourselves away around noon with Buzz, a local teenager in
tow, who managed to show us a shortcut across the valley saving half
a mile of road walking. The next stretch involved a long gradual climb
of nearly 6,000 feet up into the Marble Mountains and the promise
of some more dramatic glaciated scenery to look forward to.
our second camp at Cold Springs we noticed a slight mistake with our
food. What we thought was a pasta sauce packet which we duly cooked
our pasta, turned out to be orange drink mix. It was a tribute to
our hunger that we still managed to eat the results! So much for our
scavenged food from the 'hiker box'.
scenery was splendid, bright and open without being overly dramatic
and reminded me of the Pyrenees in France/Spain. 60 miles south of
Seiad Valley we hit the Etna road on 22nd August travelling
over a high pass and we decided to hitch down into town for the night
as we had heard good stories about Etna.
waited for a while at the pass with very few cars passing until one
eventually stopped for us. It was only once we were in that we both
realised that the Indian driver and his white pal were both high on
a mix of beer and drugs. The journey downhill via steep hairpin bends
was a nightmare as we swayed across the road and hurtled around each
bend. We finally staggered out the car feeling happy to be alive into
Etna and vowing to check the driver next time before we excepted a
lift. I suppose we had been extremely fortunate up until then and
had always had helpful people offering us lifts who usually went out
of their way to help us out. Maybe this, added to the fact that we
were tired and just wanted to get into town had made us a bit complacent
on this occasion.
liked Etna, it was small, old fashioned with big white-painted wooden
houses and none of the usual chain stores like McDonalds and Taco-Bell
to be seen. The Alderbrook B&B was delightful and we had a clean
up then headed into town for a big supper. Martina had two large fruit
pies - so her appetite had now officially returned! On departing the
diner we met Ron and Svein and we all agreed to pay $5 each for a
lift back up to the road pass the next morning.
up in northern California ........from Etna to Castella