Today definitely had the slowest miles so far. I didn’t go for the pre-dawn dip I had planned last night, instead just washing my face before starting the 6.5 mile road walk to the township of Seiad Valley. Along the quiet gravel road were numerous patches of great blackberries and luckily I had already selected a large zip-lock (note: I used Hefty brand and it leaked) and set about collecting my breakfast. Blue Sky caught up quickly as did Troll and Oblivious so we all walked to the highway together eating juicy fruit the whole way.
The Seiad Valley diner is famous for its pancake challenge which is to eat five 1 pound pancakes in two hours. It’s been done a dozen times in as many years and the first non-through hiker to do it was just a few weeks ago. Panther is going to try tomorrow. I had really wanted to have a go when I started this trip but I came to the realisation that even if I did complete it, which is unlikely, I wouldn’t enjoy it. So instead I bought almost half a gallon of ice-cream and ate it all myself, along with almost a pound of blackberries and the freeze-dried fruit Troll was giving away. Yes I felt pretty close to exploding afterwards, but you can’t argue with 2240+ calories in one sitting!
More hikers came in and some from last night left. Dr. Bug and Stud were the first to go at what seemed to be totally the wrong time. There’s a 4000ft ascent north of Seiad Valley and it was crazy hot today.
Blue Sky and I got the diner to make milkshakes with the rest of the blackberries and filled up on huge sandwiches before closing time. That’s something I really like about American cuisine, great sandwiches.
We were now below 2000ft and throughout the day it got hotter and more humid which just made it harder to leave. Even by 6pm it was still a lot hotter than I’d have liked but we had to get some miles in if we’re going to reach Ashland on Saturday. So we did and now we’re on a thin saddle halfway to the top of our climb. Mosquitoes are swarming but a head-net and deet should see me through.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that last night at Grider Creek Campground I had less than 1000 miles to reach the Canadian border. I’m trying not to get too numbers oriented but that one is worth noting.
More photos of this day’s journey can be found at Etna to AshlandDistance today: 11.2 miles. Total distance: 1665.8 miles