Day 77, July 10th
Start: Seiad valley RV park, mile 1,662
End: camp at mile 1,677
Miles hiked: 13 (took road instead of trail, which was two miles less)
What a late night. I sleep in, until 7:30. Most all of the tents that were up last night are already packed up. People are already gone. I lay in bed quite a while before deciding to actually get up.
Sochi is here. I tell him about my big day, and that the rest of my group is not far behind. He tells me that he’s going to do the 24 hour challenge. Not a chance was telling me about this earlier. He’s going to start hiking at 8pm, and hike until 8pm the next day in hopes to reach I-5, and head into Ashland. It’s 65 miles. Sounds nuts to me, but I think he’ll do it. He’s a real motivated guy, hikes fast, and I can tell he wants it. I’ll be rooting for him.
I walk around town, which literally takes 2 minutes. Not much here. The locals call this area ‘the state of Jefferson’, the 51st state. There was once a big movement to secede in this area, or at least become a separate state. There’s still a sign on the post office reading ‘the state of Jefferson’. I think it’s more for show now, as they sell the state flags on all sorts of souvenirs.
There’s also signs on every lawn I pass stating ‘NO MONUMENT!’. I wonder what that’s all about, so I ask the man working the counter at the little convenience store. Supposedly there’s some environmental group in Ashland lobbying to have all of the area from just below Ashland, past Seiad Valley, stretching millions of acres, to become a national monument. It’s all currently protected as a national forest, Siskiyou national forest. That means that people running businesses in the area would have to keep them in direct family, or sell to the government only, for ‘fair market value’. At least that’s how the man explained it to me. I’m going to research it more on my zero in Ashland, as I’m interested to see what it’s all about. Sounds like a raw deal for the locals. They’re all up in arms about it.
Around 8:45 my crew shows up. Everyone but carrot and Guthrie, who i assumed camped about 15 miles from Seiad Valley. We hit the tiny cafe and get breakfast all together. Ham and cheese omelet, hash browns, toast, and a giant strawberry banana milk shake. Calories, baby.
The RV park manager stops me and asks if I was the one who got in late last night. Supposedly it’s 12 bucks to camp here. This includes a shower, electrical hook up to charge my electronics, and I get my box I sent to the RV park, which would have cost me five anyhow. Cool. The guy is real nice.
“I’ve got to go take care of my babies.” He tells me, and pats me on the shoulder. “I’ll be back with some for you.”
It takes me a second to understand what he’s talking about. Weed plants, must be. Too funny. I laugh and politely decline the offer.
Another few hours go by before carrot and Guthrie show up. They supposedly forded the river to save 4 miles of road walking. Sounds like a real adventure. It’s a very wide river and has a good current to it.
We spend the afternoon laying around, drinking beer, and eating to our hearts desire. The heady RV park dude turns on some sprinklers for us. It’s 106 degrees down here. The sun is intense. Sheriff, Guthrie, not a chance and I strip down to our undies and run around in them like the ferrel creatures we’ve become. The cold water feels amazing. We do a few rounds of running through the sprinklers and then laying in the sun. It feels so good to cool off.
We all talk about heading out, but it’s hard when the sun is this hot. Not a chance knows of a forest service road that intersects the trail up above. She a mac are going to take it. The trail out of town goes up into a recent burn area. Fully exposed with no water. The road parallels the trail down in the valley, next to a little creek the entire way. It’s shaded as well, and will be cooler there. The whole group decides to hike the alternate. Hiking in 106 degree heat with no shade and water sounds awful.
We all hike the 13 miles of forest road uphill. It’s actually quite pleasant, with waterfalls, swimming holes, and shaded relief from the sweltering sun. We reach camp around 8pm. We’re all pretty exhausted from the heat today. Camps are set up, some socializing, then to bed. It’s been a good day. Tomorrow we’ll enter Oregon, and pass 1,700 miles. Hard to believe we’ve come so far, as a group pretty much the entire way.