August 2, 2017
Mile 1639.16 – Mile 1658.03
The 5am alarm goes off, and I struggle to shake off the brain fog caused by only sleeping for 6 hours after hiking over 26 miles. Eventually, thoughts of lemonade and ice cream convinced me to start getting ready and face the day. We spent the first half of the day winding through the forest, crossing Grider Creek several times on wooden and metal bridges. Eventually we arrived at Grider Creek Campground and began the 6.5 mile road walk into Seiad Valley.
As the morning wore on and we continued to descend in elevation, the temperature steadily rose higher and higher. Our progress was slowed significantly by the fact that we kept stopping every few minutes to pick and eat handfuls of wild blackberries. Time seemed to drag and slow as our weary feet pounded the pavement. At last, we saw the light at the end of the tunnel: the Seiad Valley Cafe and store!! We had lunch in the cafe immediately upon our arrival, and they were able to make me a “chicken bacon” avocado melt with meat substitutes. I also finally got the lemonade I’ve been craving for the past couple of days.
After we had eaten, we made our way over to a nearby patch of shade where some other hikers were hanging out. The locals had told us there was a forecasted high of 117 degrees today, and that it was being advised for people to stay indoors, so we had no intentions of moving any time soon (especially considering there’s a 5000 foot climb right out of town). We sat in the shade for the next 5 or 6 hours with Rocket Man, Scrappy, Non Stop, and Sinatra/Calzone. It feels like we’re finally getting into another bubble of hikers that we see frequently, which is really nice because the trail hasn’t really felt that way since we left the desert. It was a really fun afternoon of just sitting around, talking, laughing, playing cards, and trying not to sweat to death in the heat. We would periodically pop into the store to buy a cold drink or some snacks.
Fake meats sandwich
Eventually, the sun started to set and the temperature finally dropped to a level where you felt like you could maybe move around a bit without instantly dying of heat exhaustion. We packed up our stuff and got ready to start hiking. There was a short road walk out of town, and then the climb began. It really wasn’t that horrible (much less steep than some of the other climbs of the past few days), although you totally would have died if you tried to do it during the heat of the day. The light slowly faded, the air hazy and smelling of smoke from nearby wildfires. We got to camp and started setting up, joined after not too long by Non Stop and Sinatra. It’s now almost midnight somehow (real midnight, not hiker midnight), so I really, really need to get some sleep. We’ll probably be getting up early tomorrow so we can finish the climb before the sun really gets going. Only 31 miles left of California!!