Twig Adventures

PCBCRT Day 28: Bigfoot Trail…Into the Shadow of the Titans

Tuesday, Aug 1st, 2023, 1500-1830
Crescent City center to Little Bald Hills Trailhead, BFT mm 9.8
9 miles, Gain 800′, Loss 680′, elevation 125′

I wish I could say that my first night in a real bed in almost 3 weeks was restful but it was only so so. The bed, room and everything else was fine, I was just troubled by all that I wanted to get done the next morning. More than anything, I think I was just anxious to get back on track, to be making forward progress on a trail. It just gave me so much satisfaction to be moving with a clear goal in mind. I don’t know where this urge came from and whether it was healthy, but I guess it’s a trait that made me well suited for thru hiking.

At least I took full advantage of my hotel time, not checking out until the very last minute. I visited both grocery stores in the morning, spending way too much time acquiring breakfast and some extra items to cram into my pack. Story of my life, I had too much food. I also cooked up a crazy plan to take advantage of the ridiculously cheap price of the Tony’s Chocolate bars at the Grocery Outlet. At $1 a bar, I could send a flat-rate box filled with them and still save money with the shipping added in.

After checking out if the hotel, I fell on my trusty friend Sarah to store my pack in her car while I got a box from the PO, went to the grocery to see how many chocolate bars I could cram inside, then back to the PO to mail them home. I fit 32 bars, plus my old ratty Patagonia R1, and a few other small items. I bought 2 additional bars to gift to Sarah, turning her into a new Tony’s chocolate addict. Was this the sign of problem? Maybe so. Does chocolate go bad after the expiration? Guess I’ll find out. With a long history of mailing food to myself on trail, this was the first time I ever mailed a box of chocolate home to myself. Ridiculous, I know.

I also got rid of the R1 because it was starting to really fall apart, plus was no longer very warm. Sarah gifted me her sweater that I’d been wearing the night before, which I took as a sign of the trail providing when I needed it yet again. The sweater had already become sentimental, a happy reminder of Sarah and all the magic of Crescent City. I had no idea what it was made from or its technical capabilities…it could be cotton for all I know. But it just felt right, snuggly and warm, reminding me of my alpaca pullover. What a lovely token to take along, a reminder of our friendship.

I said goodbye to Sarah as she was leaving for her lunch break, then spent a few more hours in the library. Finally I started moving but was stopped short by a Thai place…of course there was time for a late lunch \ early dinner of Pad Thai, why not? It would be 120 miles before I came to the Seiad valley cafe, by far the longest stretch between towns yet this trip. Additionally, you can’t really call Seiad Valley much of a town, so really it’s a lot longer. Such a distance was nothing on the CDT but a big change from the OCT. I was back to some real thru-hiking!

This was my beginning photo for the Bigfoot Trail, taken days earlier at the Battery Point Lighthouse when I first arrived Crescent City
My first sighting of Bigfoot, appropriately on the beach at the terminus of my OCT and BFT hikes.
The last of my lighthouse tour hike

The road walk out of town went by fast, something I’d become pretty accustomed to. I made some last minute phone calls and shortly I was hiking up a quiet road among the big trees, first the Sitka spruce and hemlocks, then the redwoods. The route went up Howland Hill road, which was a bit dusty with some cars, but at least they were all going slow. I even ran into Jim, one of Sarah’s coworkers at the visitor center, who was very knowledgeable about hiking the area. He was also a tour guide, showing a group around when I bumped into him. He seemed so happy to see me. We’d talked the day before at length about my hike, but I wasn’t sure he believed me or really grasped the extent of it. “Wow, you’re really doing it!” he exclaimed it as he pulled up with his tour van. He then gave his clients a mini tour about me and my travels, which was funny.

I guess it’s one thing to talk to a thru-hiker in a town, surrounded by the usual trappings of society and reminders of normal things. My stories and descriptions always seemed far removed, almost a fantasy. I got a slightly different reaction when people actually caught me in the act, out in the middle of nowhere, doing the thing. It seemed like such a basic and simple past-time to be walking through the country in this way, so I took it for granted that it’s not easily understood by others… inconceivable to many.

This fancy boardwalk was built to protect the roots of the big trees.

I turned off on Mill Creek trail and a short spur to the Grove of Titans…I liked that name and it was a nice grove of redwoods, though not all that different from the many I’d seen over the past 4 days. There’s no point in comparing them. They’re all equally grand and special and precious. Each grove is named after a person or group that donated money to protect them…a nice gesture. Though I found it kind of sad that their fate now lay in our hands. Who were we to be the keepers of such grand and ancient beings? They outlived us by thousands of years and had survived through so much. It really made me think.

In the late afternoon, I came to the Smith river. Less than a week before, I’d kayaked across its mouth at the Pacific Ocean. Now I was following it inland, to head into the mountains. The trail went upriver a short ways, arriving at a spur road that led to my next trailhead and an 1800′ climb…the perfect place to stop for the night. I really wanted camp along the river but there weren’t any good sites. I also really wanted camp under a redwood, so finally I got my chance. The trailhead had a closed-off area, remnants of an old parking lot. I found a flat spot behind and under a titan, just what I was hoping for. My tent looked like an ant hill next to it. Plus, being so camouflaged, you’d have to know what you’re looking for to even notice it. Trailheads can be a sketchy place to camp but the absence of cars was a good sign… otherwise I probably wouldn’t have stopped. Only one car drove up just after dusk, but quickly turned around and speed off. All was quiet the rest of the night.

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