PCT Day 118 – Wednesday August 9
Marble Valley Tentsite Mile 1621.2 to Grider Creek Mile 1642.9
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 21.7
Total PCT Miles Hiked: 1255.4
Feet Ascended Today: 2803
Feet Descended Today: 6398
Current Elevation: 2317
I slept soundly last night for the first time in a while. I think I actually got over 8 hours of sleep. I had vivid dream about being back in college again and woke up feeling a little groggy. As I packed up, I noticed my tent’s rainfly was mostly dry. It must not have rained much after I fell asleep.
I was able to see the Marble Mountains more clearly from the valley floor this morning as the sky was free from clouds. The mountains had bald grey tops, smooth like marble. If I had cell reception here I could look up if that is why they are called the Marble Mountains. Sometimes it’s nice not to have internet though. Making up my own stories is more fun 🙂
I walked through an alpine slope filled with wildflowers in various colors and over a ridge to Paradise Lake on the other side. I filled up on water from the lake’s outlet creek and ate a snack before continuing.
The trail headed up and over another ridge before the long descent down to Seiad Valley. The trail loses 6,000 feet of elevation over 20 miles. It is a gentle slope, and for the most part the path is an easy walk with dirt instead of rocks covering the trail. Although the continuous downhill was hard on my knees and joints, it was a relief to walk on such a soft trail.
As the trail descended in elevation, the alpine slopes gave way to forests. I definitely felt like I was getting to more familiar territory that reminded me of home in the Pacific Northwest. The path descended towards Grider Creek and I followed the creek for several miles, crossing over several bridges.
In mid-afternoon, the sky began rumbling and soon it began to rain again. It has rained 4 of the last 5 days in the afternoon like clockwork, usually accompanied by thunder. I donned my poncho and kept hiking. Today’s squall only lasted about 45 minutes. I didn’t even get that wet.
I had cold soaked my dinner of beans and rice and sat down by one of the bridges over Grider Creek to eat. I didn’t feel that hungry but before I knew it I had eaten it all.
I planned to camp at the last “legal” established campsite before Seiad Valley at a crossing of Grider Creek about 10 miles from town. I had previously estimated today’s mileage to be about 20 miles, but when arrived at the creek I was happily surprised to discover that I had hiked 21.7 miles – my longest day yet!
There were only a couple of decent camping spots in the bushes near the bridge and they were already claimed when I arrived. Two hikers were cowboy camping on the bridge itself and they invited me to join them, but that didn’t appeal to me. I found a slanty spot and cleared out a pile of sticks and rocks before setting up my tent. I hoped to wake up early tomorrow so I could get to a Seiad Valley quickly and hitch to Ashland. I hoped to hike out of Ashland tomorrow morning.
My feet and hips throbbed as I drifted off to sleep. The long descent down the mountain today really took its toll. Hopefully sleep, the magical elixir, will make all better.