tiffany's pct journal

California Section Q: Seiad Valley to Etna Summit - Part I.

Days: 55 - 56.
Dates: August 27 - 28.
Trail mileage: 997.2 - 1029.4.
Distance: 32.2 miles.

We finally left Seiad Valley in the evening because it wasn't getting any cooler; by the time we left, it had gone down to 104°F. That's right, an entire 2 degrees.

on the way out of Seiad Valley
On our way out of Seiad Valley

I had a fun conversation with Blue that evening. Do you remember back in Washington how my trail family had encountered a helicopter, because a man I had passed by on the trail had sent out messages to his family using my Garmin, as well as another hiker's Garmin named Kevin? Well, I found out that night that Kevin was Blue, and that he didn't even realize a helicopter had been dispatched for the guy! It's funny how much time we spend together as thru-hikers, and we rarely even learn each others' real names.

Oh, we also officially finished 1000 miles of the PCT that day. Making great progress!

1000 mile marker
Quadruple digits -- finally!

The two of us set up camp that night at an old campground at the bottom of the very long 16-mile climb out of Seiad Valley. It was dark by the time we got there.

A little while later, a headlamp walked up to us, and it was Yahtzee! And it was a stroke of good luck for me, because if you recall, I lost a vital part of my water filter the previous day and decided to complain to her about it. It just so happened she had an extra that she gave me. I was back in business!

We all woke up early to try and take on this climb because, if you'll recall, it gets real hot in these parts, and we had a ways to go. Thank goodness it was that day though, because there was a small thunderstorm passing through, so it was pretty cool outside. I cannot even imagine what the climb would have been like the previous day when it was over 100°F in the valley.

early start
Getting an early start

It didn't rain much, but I took a break with an everything bagel at one point because the lightning worried me just a little and it was starting to rain. On the hike up, I met another hiker named Goose, who I would run into a few more times on my hike.

Near the top of the climb was a great campsite that many other hikers had decided was a nice place to take a break (it was), so I got to meet and hang out with some cool people, including Blue and a couple other hikers, like Pavlov, Breaking Bad, and Ross (whom I would later learn was literally the previous name in the trail register at Hart's Pass at the very beginning).

taking a break
Taking a break after a grueling climb

One of these people was a guy who was section hiking part of California. He had set up a campfire for some reason (it was still really hot outside, even with the minor storm), and while some of us were there, he had just up and left without us even noticing he had, and without putting out this fire.

The storm cleared when we reached the top of the climb

Pavlov, Ross, Breaking Bad, Yahtzee, and I spent at least an hour doing our best to put out this fire. It was a good thing there was a water source nearby, although water didn't flow all that quickly from it, and it was still a couple hundred yards away. We pulled out our trowels and all of our water storage containers to put this thing out.

Came across a few pretty cool saddles around this area

It was an awesome group effort, and quite a bonding experience. By the end of the hour, the firepit was cool. I don't think the hiker who made the fire meant any harm by it, but don't leave your fire when you're leaving camp, kids. Especially when it's hot and dry out.

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