Day 112: Seiad Valley

August 4, 2017: Hiked Miles 1639.1 to 1665.8 (26.7 total)

We woke up before the sun this morning bright and early at 5:30. Radio was already out of camp and everyone else got up when we did and took off quickly. So we had the place to ourselves for breakfast. Well us and the mosquitoes. 

After breakfast we had a seven mile hike down along the creek. We crossed over the creek a few times on some cool bridges.

I wasn’t feeling too great in the morning. My head and throat were hurting and I didn’t have much energy. I think all the smoke might be getting to me. The morning was pretty, but still smokey. 

We made our way down to our final creek crossing and took a quick snack break at an abandoned campground. And then we started our road walk. 

We started off on a dirt road and started passing tons of blackberry bushes. We stopped to eat a few and decided they were so good we had to pick some to bring with us. 

We each filled up a ziplock bag and feasted until our mouths were purple. Surprisingly the blackberries seemed to help my headache go away. Whatever works I guess.

Our dirt road turned into a paved road and we started passing houses and walked along the Klamath River. 

And then we hit Highway 96 and walked along that all the way into the tiny town of Seiad Valley, population 350. I don’t even think there’s that many people that live there. 

When we got into town we stopped at the store to get a Gatorade and pick up our packages. My new phone luckily arrived and we also had a care package from Jeff, from back home. We wandered outside to some picnic tables and tore into our boxes. Our resupply box from Jeff was awesome. Mountain House meals, a couple other dehydrated meals, Sport Beans, and some kind of Dutch waffle energy cookie thing called Stroopwafels. It was perfect, exactly what we needed. Colton was so excited to find three lasagna meals. They are definitely his favorite. Thanks Jeff, you saved us from the outrageous food prices at the store!

For lunch I made a blackberry, chocolate peanut butter, Oreo tortilla wrap. I couldn’t take a picture because it was gone in about two seconds. But it was amazing. Go do yourself a favor and make one. I opened my phone box and spent the next 30 minutes unsuccessfully trying to activate my new phone. Finally I just took the SIM card out of my old phone and put it in my new one. I’ll figure the rest out when we get to Ashland.

Seiad Valley has two establishments: the store and the cafe. 

The cafe is known for its pancake challenge. If you can eat five pounds of pancakes, they’re free. You get five huge pancakes, each one is a pound. A couple of the guys we camped with last night decided to try it and joined us while we were eating lunch to tell us about it. One guy only ate one, one ate two, and one ate two and a half. They were all stuffed, but happy to have enough pancakes leftover to feed themselves until Oregon. 

Eventually about 20 hikers all ended up in Seiad and we had a funny afternoon waiting out the heat of the day, telling trail stories, and watching people try to stuff dry pancakes down their throats. I learned some new stuff today. I realized our packs are probably the heaviest ones out of everyone we’re hiking with right now. Even double the weight of some people. I learned how to save money by raiding the hiker box in every town. Radio said he’s been doing it since the beginning of the Sierras and basically hasn’t had to buy any food since then. I learned that Vagisil works good for chafing. Who knew. And I was reminded how much fun a bunch of dirty, sweaty hikers can have just sitting around enjoying life.

Around 3:30 we finally decided it was time to start the dreaded climb out of Seiad. The sky was smokey which was keeping all the heat trapped in the valley and it was hot and humid, but there was just a little bit of a breeze to give us hope. We set off with Radio and started the long climb.

The climb was long and at some points pretty stinking steep. 

The first six miles were the steepest and we were instantly drenched in sweat. But our long break and all those blackberries helped and we moved up the hill at a fast pace. So fast that I didn’t even see the horses coming down the trail until they were right in front of us.

I let one lick all the salt off my hands and then we continued on until we finally got to water and chugged as much as we could and ate our waffles and Sport Beans. 

Thanks Jeff, we might not have finished that climb today without those. Perfect energy booster. 

After a quick break we kept hiking through the smoke and after a couple more miles the trail crested a peak and started to level out a bit. 

We finally had some better views above the smoke too. 

We switchbacked up some more and then rounded a bend and ended up in the most gorgeous green valley. 

Such a drastic change from the burned areas we had been hiking in all afternoon. Radio had got ahead of us and he scared the crap out of Colton when we came out of the bushes growling like a bear. We hiked with him until we found a spring to fill up at and then hiked another half mile to the ridge we had planned to camp at and showed up just in time to catch the most beautiful sunset.

It was the perfect way to end our grueling day and our last night in California. Yeap, that’s right, tomorrow we’ll be in Oregon. It seems like we’ve been waiting forever to get there and now it’s less than a day away. We’re a little excited to say the least.
We set up our tent and were surprised how cold it was getting. We cooked our meals from Jeff. Colton did lasagna and I tried a new one. It’s a Backpacker Pantry meal, a different brand of freeze dried meals, and my dinner was Jamaican style chicken, rice, and black beans. It was awesome. Actually tasted like real food. I stuffed some in a tortilla and made a tasty burrito out of it. We snacked on cookies and then crawled in bed and watched the almost full moon light up all the clouds in the sky. 

Hard climbs, hot days, sweating your butt off, awesome views, good food, and fun people. All the components of a great day and a great end to California. I couldn’t help but hum the Red Hot Chili Peppers song, Dani California as I was going to bed. See ya Cali, we’re coming for ya Oregon. 


4 thoughts on “Day 112: Seiad Valley

  1. Glad you enjoyed the energy food and the new meals. If. You and Colton are both happy, I met my goal. Let me know how the deserts and the breakfast meals go🍳🥓

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Breakfasts are great especially when you turn them into breakfast burritos. We haven’t tried the apple crisp yet. Saving it for a special day. 😁


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