Day 109: Etna

August 1, 2017: Hiked Miles 1591.5 to 1599.6 + 2.4 back to Sawyer Bar Road (10.5 total)

We were in our tents and ready for bed by 9:00 last night. Unfortunately the big group of kids next to us were not. They weren’t too loud or crazy, just being typical high schoolers, having fun. I put my ear plugs in and they turned into background noise and it lulled me right to sleep. I don’t think Jeanine and Colton were quite so lucky, but eventually we all fell asleep. 

I woke up around 5:30 and was greeted with the prettiest skyline. 

The horizon was just starting to turn colors and light up the clouds above it. 

I snuck out of the tent and found a rock right at the water to sit on and watch the sunrise. First it hit the treeline and then the rays started shooting their way between the trees onto the still lake. Then the sun illuminated the back wall behind the lake, and then the whole lake itself.

It was gorgeous. The fish were quietly jumping all over the lake and everything was so peaceful.

After the sun popped up in the sky, I pulled myself away from the view and we packed up camp and ate breakfast. 

Jeanine was sitting down by the water eating her breakfast, when she found a bunch of salamanders in the water. We had fun watching them float up to the surface to get water. It was amazing how long they could hold their breath under water before having to surface.

We finally pulled ourselves away from our lake oasis and started hiking. We started the morning with a long uphill climb, like always. We were sweating in no time and of course had some amazing views to make it all worth while. 

We passed the usual mountain lakes and beautiful meadows.

Just an every day occurrence now. It’s a rough life out here ya know. 

We finally made it down to Sawyer’s Bar Road which is where you hitch into Etna from, the town we were going to resupply in.

But since today is Jeanine’s last day on the trail with us, we decided to push on past the road so that she could get to her 100 mile mark on the PCT. It was already hot by this point in the day and the hike from here was uphill and decently exposed. We sweated and pushed and went 101 miles instead of 100 so that she could make it up to her very first trail register to sign in. 

It was a happy moment and we sat on top and reflected on the past week and her experience. For a few minutes at least. And then our stomachs started growling so we took off back down the mountain. 

We had a relaxing and peaceful walk back down to the road and only had to wait around for about 20 minutes before we got picked up by a local who told us to pile into the bed of her pickup along with her trash bags, which Colton said smelled like steak. Somebody is hungry.

She said she was in a hurry so we loaded up fast and held on for our lives as she zoomed through the mountain curves and down the mountain. 

At one point we had to stop because there was a little trash cleanup going on and a group of volunteers and forest service employees were hauling junk up from the side of the road. We waited while they used a little pickup to hoist a washing machine up a couple hundred foot hill. 

Gotta love small towns.

She dropped us off in town unscathed, and we made a beeline for Dotty’s, the local burger joint. We were starving and hot as heck by the time we got there so we chowed down, chugged our drinks, and relaxed for as long as possible. 
We finally made ourselves get up and brave the heat and made our way down to the dollar store to buy some more cold drinks, candy, and soap and shampoo. From the recommendation of one of the store employees, we walked down to the RV park where we paid $9.00 per person to camp, have free wifi and water, and access to the cleanest bathrooms and showers I have seen yet at an RV park. 

We set up our tents, and took full advantage of endless showers. Not that the showers helped since once you got out, you started sweating bullets again. Oh well, at least we’re sweating clean bullets now.

We relaxed for a bit and when our tummies started talking again we walked down to the only other restaurant in town that was open on a Tuesday night, Bob’s Ranchhouse. It turned out to be an awesome restaurant. They had our favorite beer on tap, awesome, filling food, and the best pie. Just what a hiker needs.

We took our pie to go, waddled back to the RV park, and watched the sun set as we ate our dessert and enjoyed each other’s company.

Now it’s 10:00, waaay past our bed time. Colton is knocked out as always, Jeanine is tossing and turning, trying to get used to hearing cars again, and I’m finishing my blog. On Colton’s phone of course. Tomorrow morning my mom is coming to pick Jeanine up to take her home and is going to take us into Yreka first so that I can get a new phone and we can grab some more supplies. And maybe even hit up Starbucks. I’m a little excited.


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