Cowboying on the tread of the old PCT (near new PCT mi 1673.2), walked 17.6 miles today
Woke up around 6:15 and ate only a bar for breakfast, supplementing with blackberries from the ditches next to the road, as I walked with Halfway down the 6-mile roadwalk to the Seiad Valley Cafe. Got there around 8:40 and sat down with him and Otter for a fantastic breakfast ... None of us tried the 5lb pancake challenge, and I'm glad, because something tells me the rest of the menu is better than their pancakes. Had a solid omelette with potatoes and washed it down with a ginormous blackberry milkshake. Didn't have to eat anything besides a Snickers bar the rest of the day until setting up camp.
The cafe seemed especially devoid of local intelligent life--the main threads of conversation we kept overhearing were a) how many loads of crushed rock Bill hauled yesterday and b) tricks and tips for removing the bed of a pickup truck. All of this conversation had to be conducted at a shouting level for some reason. I thought about what my life would be like if I lived somewhere where these were the only types of things people ever talked about, and I began to feel more thankful for Eugene than I usually am. After breakfast and a short resupply trip at the adjacent store, took off around 11 for one of the worst climbs on the whole PCT, the 8-mile, 4500-footer up from the valley floor. It was hot, but not as hot as I gather it can be in Seiad, which was a blessing ... All in all the climb was indeed steep, but it basically took care of business and with a big break thrown in the middle I was up at Lookout Spring near the top in as much comfort as could be expected.
Took another long break, elongated by the discovery of cell phone service, there, then kept going up some more. It became even more clear that we are now in the heart of the whitebread, stuck-in-a-time-warp Northwest when after a few more miles I passed the junction with the Darkey Creek Trail. The climb finally over, the trail descended a bit to Kangaroo Spring, which had repulsive water that I didn't even bother with, then about a mile after that I was flagging--still feeling my 36-mile sprint to Etna, I think--so around 6pm I turned off the PCT onto a disused trail tread to look for a bivy site. Found a good spot, then later noticed a big old PCT sign nailed to a tree, meaning I'm on some part of the old route. Still in good shape to get to Ashland in 2 days, but I need to do a 30 tomorrow to make it happen.