Day Seventy Seven

Today's miles: 2
Total miles: 1663

I slept very well; there was something to be said about a soft inflatable mattress lying on a bed of grass. Katie, Wocka Wocka, Giddyup, Sneaks, Sunshine, Treekiller and I got up at 7:00, packed up, and walked downtown to the local coffee shop to get breakfast and wait for the bus to Seiad Valley. It was a popular choice, to skip these 60 miles of wildfire-covered trail, and soon there were 20 other hikers waiting at the same bus stop. In such a small town, the presence of so many people in one spot was almost overwhelming. The bus didn't come until 9:30 and while we waited we laughed and told jokes amongst ourselves.

Left to right: Sunshine, Sneaks, Giddyup, Wocka, Honey Bunny, Watson

The bus itself only had seats for 30 people, and the three locals who were already on the bus looked particularly stunned that twenty hikers were suddenly filling up all the seats. The bus took us first to the town of Yreka, an hour and a half from Etna. As we rode, we took videos of each other and joked about how many miles we were covering in so short a time.
"Man, this is a big hill; I'm exhausted..." Watson sighed as the bus climbed. "Can someone turn down the air conditioning? I'm getting a little chilly...."
We laughed at these jokes which were only hilarious to us.

In Yreka we had a few hours to wait until the next bus that would take us to Seiad Valley. We were dropped off in the middle of a shopping center, so we amused ourselves at Walmart and McDonalds until 3:00, overindulging in hamburgers and whole half-gallons of ice cream. When the bus for Seiad arrived, we once again filled it to the brim. This time there were more locals who were trying to get on board, and we had to make extra room for all the riders, hikers, and our packs. It was a tight squeeze to get everyone aboard, and then a two hour drive to Seiad Valley.

Seiad Valley itself was a very tiny one-horse town, with not much to its name besides an old RV park and the infamous "PCT pancake eating contest" (five pounds of pancakes) which was closed for the day. It was already 5pm when we arrived and we debated whether we wanted to stay the night before hiking out - Seiad Valley had a very rough climb out of town, to the tune of 6,000 feet of elevation in seven miles - but the RV park creeped everyone out, so we ultimately decided to go two miles and then camp for the night.

This turned out to be the best option, for the hike out was so steep and so hot and humid that everyone was pouring sweat and covered in mosquitoes by the time we went two miles. It made us all cranky, and we decided that we were going to get up really early and conquer the rest of the climb before the day got too hot. We set up tents very close to each other, trying to avoid patches of poison oak, and talked from tent to tent until we fell asleep.