PCT Day 81: Seiad Valley

July 11

Mile 1649.1-1670.3 (31.2)

I woke when it was still dark and packed up with determination. Town breakfast was calling. 

I hiked a mile feeling really good. Yesterday’s funk was gone. I felt happy to be in the woods and excited to be so close to Oregon. Today might even be my last full day in Oregon! I could reach Oregon tomorrow!

About a mile in, on my second crossing of Grider Creek, my trekking pole slipped off a rock and I lost my balance and toppled over. I landed on my hands and knees in the water. I managed somehow to keep my pack dry but now I was pretty soaked and it was still cold out. The sun wouldn’t hit me for hours and I hiked on hoping the air would magically dry me. My only spare clothes are a pair of Pat’s old thermals with big holes in the butt and my down jacket. 

So I continued on through the dim forest, crossing Grider Creek many times, going vaguely downhill, stepping through poison oak. I ate a few more ripe blackberries and fantasizes about town breakfast.

I was happy to cross Grider Creek for the last time and hit the road. There is a long, long road walk into Seiad Valley. First gravel, then paved. I passed the time listening to podcasts. I crossed the Klamath River, which I expected to be bigger, and finally walked into town.


At the cafe I had a big table all to myself. Hot coffee and ice water and a western omelet with o’brien potatoes and sausage and a biscuit with extra butter and hot sauce. The kind folks at the cafe let me sit eating for two hours. I considered ordering lunch, since it was past noon, but wanted to hike while the weather was good. I picked up my resupply box next door, talked to Pat while I unpacked and sorted my food, then set off down the road again until I reached dirt trail.


The climb out of Seiad Valley looks imposing on the elevation profile. It was 1pm and hot, with full bright sun beating down on me. But I was fueled by many cups of coffee and a good meal and I had new podcasts and audiobooks to look forward to. And I knew it would be cooler up on the ridge. So up I went.


The climb wasn’t so bad. It felt good to be moving my body without pain or discomfort, to be excited about hiking, to be so close to completing California. The long views all around me were stunning. More than once I stopped just to ogle the mountains. What mountains!


The trail followed an open ridge for the rest of the day. I set a good pace and felt great. I guess it doesn’t get much better than this. Everything around me was beauty and majesty.


I stopped a little after 8pm when the sun disappeared behind a low cloud on the horizon. There was a little flat spot for a tent and I am hoping to get to bed early and wake up early. Time to kick this stay-up-late, wake-up-late habit. Even when “late” is 9:30pm and 6:30am, respectively.

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