Beginning Elevation = 1,700
Ending Elevation = 5,850
Elevation Range = 1,400 – 5,900
Weather: Sunny, low-mid 80’s
Part 1 – The Lead Up
“And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
And I’ll rise up
High like the waves
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again”
– Andra Day
The mornings hike consisted of a 6.4 mile road walk into the very small town of Seiad Valley. It started out as a small gravel road and gradually became more and more developed and maintained. Road walks aren’t usually my favorite, but at least it was pretty much flat the whole way in!
No sign, I will not slow down…food lies ahead! I had pictured in my mind that Seiad Valley was going to be this dry, dusty little place but was quite incorrect in my prediction. The Klamath River runs through the valley and makes for what I thought to be a very picturesque scene.
As I approached closer to the town I came across a field with cows and goats that had the spirit moving within, causing them to break out in song creating a cow/goat ensemble!
Another interesting feature I observed walking through town were numerous signs saying ” no monument” and also a symbol for the State of Jefferson. I later found out that the monument signs refer to the proposal to turn this area into a National Monument. Well, a good portion of folks in this town seem to be against the idea. The State of Jefferson, I later learned, is a portion of Northern California and Southern Oregon that would like to separate and form there own state. Both of these things seemed familiar in my mind after hearing about them. It was interesting to walk right into it and see first hand.
As mentioned before, this is just a itty bitty town, popolation 350 according to the sign. It had a fire department and then the main other feature was the store/cafe/post office building. This was where I wanted to be and where I spent the 2.5 ish hours of my visit.
That double “x” on the sign is part of the State of Jefferson Seal I believe. I arrived to the cafe around 8:30am, washed up, and then sat at the little breakfast bar area enjoying a delicious ham and cheddar cheese omelette along with potatoes and an English muffin. It was a nice little place complete with many red, white and blue decorations as well as a giant Heddon top-water-action Torpedo fishing lure hanging. This cafe also has a PCT claim to fame as being the place for the infamous 5lb pancake challenge or something like that. Afterwards, I talked to the owner and he said something like two people in the last 10 years have succeeded.
After eating my full and finishing up using the WiFi, I switched to resupply mode and walked through the door that led to the store. It was certainly geared towards hikers, which was nice. It didn’t take me long since everything was right there in one little spot. Once I had it all, I took it outside to some picnic tables and began removing packaging and packing everything away while enjoying an ice cold Dr. pepper.
I had 3 goals for today:. 1. Enjoy a lovely breakfast at the cafe ✓, 2. Get food to last me until my next stop – Ashland, Oregon ✓, and 3. Get up the dang climb out of town!
Part II – Mega Hill
“There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb…
– The very wise, Miley Cyrus
I parted ways with Seiad Valley a little before 11:00am. I had about 3/4 mile of road walking still and then the trail resumed, jutting off of the right side of the road. As my elevation profile foretold, it did so at an angle so as to gain in elevation. The trail went up, in other words. I took many a break and not too long into the hike turned to wave goodbye to the town…
All was going well…until I ran out of water. About a mile up after the trail has started up again, there was a little piped spring. I filled up a half liter to add to what I had already, so maybe a liter in total. With the heat and the uphill, I was guzzling it down. It wasn’t enough and about half way up, still with a few miles til the next water source, I was dry.
I overcame all obstacles however and got to water around 2:00pm. I drank a liter right there and then loaded up 2 more. A bit further up, I found a place for lunch. After lunch things got a little easier, but there was still about a mile to go and nearly 1,000 feet. Success though! Goal number 3 ✓
Still lizards by the way…
Part III – Basking in the Glory
“Yes I will rise
Out of these ashes rise
From this trouble I have found
And this rubble on the ground
I will rise”
– Shawn McDonald
Once up near the high 6,000 feet range, the trail became rather nice, mostly traversing gradually along the mountainside. I’d looked ahead for tentsites and wasn’t seeing much. There were two lakes, Lily Pad Lake and Echo Lake, so I shot for the first hoping it would have a nice flat spot.
Both ended up being a ways below the PCT,so rather than hike down to them, I ended up cowboy camping up above looking down on Echo Lake far down below.
Quite the day!