7/6/17 – Met a former PCT hiker at the bar last night, always nice when people know and understand what we’re up to! Slept in a bit this morning and eventually made our way out of the hotel. Relaxed in the park behind the health food store for a bit sipping on one of our favorite town luxuries, coffee. Went back to Black Bear Diner again (hiker friendly and affordable, well portioned food!). Afterwards we got a ride back to the trail from a trail angel, Tony. We met him yesterday outside the post office, but today he was dressed different – he’s a Highway Patrol officer! Thought we were about to get cited for loitering and instead got a ride to the trailhead in the back of a cop car. Strangest hitch so far for sure… Made quick work of the next ~10 miles and setup camp near Disappearing Creek at mile 1508.6.
7/7/17 – One of the most scenic days on trail yet. Endless mountains, waterfalls, spires, and forests. Twenty six miles today, 6800+ ft gain, most of it at the start of the day. Saw a ton of deer today, on trail, in our campsite… After a final push in the late afternoon we made it to the Deadfall Lakes and camped. Mile 1534.3.
7/8/17 – Easier day of hiking today terrain wise. Still tons of epic views, we hear they get even better in the Trinity Alps Wilderness coming up… Hiked in 6-7 mile pushes today with breaks in between to air out the feet – can’t wait to get our trail runners back in Etna! After about 24 miles we camped at Scott Mountain Campground, mile 1557.8.
7/9/17 – Another day of hiking. Views of the Trinity Alps Wilderness occasionally stolen by Shasta. A slightly shorter day today as we are ahead of schedule! More food than the last segment, but starting to have coffee and omlettes on my mind. I’m not sure why, but for me breakfast foods and coffee drive my hunger a little more than even burgers and beer. Hiked up and down a few more times then camped on a saddle at mile 1578.6.
7/10/17 – Short day today, but quite a bit of elevation gain and loss. About 10 miles into the day, we started seeing the smoky haze of a forest fire near Etna. Neither of us have any experience with forest fires, so it was a bit surreal, especially as we started smelling it too. As the wind picked up and the trail headed northeast, the smoke dissipated. The next several miles flew by and we ended up arriving at Sawyer Bar Road, our hitch point into Etna. Had a nice dinner with great views and a ton of people watching – Etna Summit is a busy place! Lots of noisy high schoolers gettin’ drunk… Camped by the parking area at mile 1597.2.
7/11/17 – Today Sara and I celebrate not only one thousand (techinically a little more) miles of PCT completed together, but also two years together! Easy hitch into town with a friendly county worker and a great breakfast at Bobs Ranch House. The Hotel Etna was super accommodating and let us into our room before noon! Super hiker friendly, let us do laundry there as well. After a brief stop to the post office and a trip to the grocery store, we’ve settled into a great day off!