Monday, Aug 7th to Tuesday Aug 8th, 2023
I didn’t plan to double zero in Seiad Valley, I didn’t even plan to zero at all. Truth be told, there’s not much going on in the town. Last time it was only worthy of an in-and-out. But the RV park had good wifi and a comfortable porch, so I was able to get some work done. Aside from the monumental task of keeping up with this blog, I needed to send some texts, emails, update socials, and most importantly, order new shoes. I bought a pair on Ebay for $65 total, which is actually a bit more than I normally pay. I had several pairs at home but didn’t want to bother my partner with more shipping requests…he’d already sent stuff to Crescent City and Seiad Valley. I save a lot of money buying “used” shoes on Ebay. After over 15 pairs, I know every stage of tread wear on the Altra Superiors. I can tell when the shoes are basically brand new… someone tried them on once, they didn’t fit, and they were returned as used. There’s a huge market for reselling shoes on Ebay.
I got so immersed in my tasks that I didn’t notice the clock creep right up to 1:30 pm. I intended to go for brunch at the diner, no here I was almost missing it again. I walked in just 10 minutes before closing and Heather once again served me. At least I got to chat with her a little after it died down, plus meet her boyfriend. He made a smoothie and gave me the leftovers, so I guess it worked out for me. I bought a few items at the general store and raided their hiker box, which had some decent snacks. The owner throws expired things in from time to time. I hated to add more weight to my already heavy pack. I envied so many of the PCT hikers with their tiny packs and 2 or 3 day food carries. I was toting almost 6 days but was still light on lunch items. The upcoming leg was about 130 miles, but there was a resort along the way that sold a few snacks. I hoped to be able to boost my supply there.
The heat was oppressive, in the high 90s, and of course the Bigfoot Trail joined the one part of the PCT with the longest road walk. Having already walked it once, I wasn’t against getting a ride. Just my luck, there was a trail angel, offering rides. I actually only skipped 2 miles, since I had Gma Bubs drop me at a trail angels place. I’d heard about Brian from the very first hikers I met once I joined the PCT. So I had to at least say hi, but boy did I feel guilty about getting a ride to arrive there…in my game book that’s a big no no. Two miles…blame it on the heat. Brian’s place already had a good collection of hikers sitting on the porch, along with him. He was most recently from Colorado and had only been at his beautiful cabin for less than a year. Ironically, his place sits just a quarter mile past the 1000 mile mark for the PCT going southbound (SOBO)…what a perfect opportunity to celebrate such a milestone!
His adorable Australian shepard\poodle Nova greeted me (and everyone) with her guard dog bluff, then quickly melted into a sweetheart. Brian had a well stocked mini fridge on the porch, hikerbox, chairs galore, and all the hospitality of a newly-hatched trail angel. Seiad valley had gotten so much better since last I passed through. My plan had been to drink a soda or beer, then walk another 4 miles on the road to the campground, so I could get an early start on the climb the next morning. It wasn’t long before I was invited to dinner and to sleep in a bed up in the loft. How could I pass on that? It was just Brian, me and an injured hiker, Jet, for dinner. I helped make some potatoes, which actually turned out really good. Jordan from France arrived just in time to demolish the leftovers, and reported that there was a bear in the river. We walked down to see it, and sure enough, there it was, foraging. We watched it for a few minutes before it finally noticed us and slunk away. It was my second bear this trip.
The night wasn’t over. Spliffy from the Czech Republic rolled in well past dark. Brian had a motion detector in his driveway and the ding always sent Luna into fits of barking. He thought it must be the bear but I could see the headlamp beam…just a hiker. Brian said it was unusual to have someone come so late but Spliffy was a unique and entertaining character, marching to his own beat. They stayed up late laughing and drinking, while Jet and I retired to the loft for a great night’s sleep.
Day 2: I woke early, prepared to start hiking, but I kind of just melted back into the bed. The vortex had taken hold. I felt like I was taking advantage of Brian’s hospitality but also relished the idea of letting my body rest more, plus finish work on the blog. Also, the forecast predicted a high of 98. I vowed to clean or organize something later, just to earn my keep. I washed some dishes was all. The rest of the day was spent lounging and greeting hikers as they came and went. Jordan finally escaped the vortex late in the day, but Spliffy stayed for another night. Three new hikers arrived to cowboy camp on the porch. I enjoyed talking to 2 women closer to my age, Frogma and Cookie.
What a laid-back guy Brian is to allow, rather invite, all us hikers to invade his beautiful space in the woods. It blows my mind how people can be so open and giving. I especially loved seeing the reactions from European hikers…they all see Americans as the friendliest people in the world now, which I used to think was mostly reserved for the Kiwis. It makes me so proud. A huge thanks to Brian for providing his space of refuse and celebration to hikers. It generates so much love and appreciation.