300 Mile Hike Day 10

Saturday, July 22 2017
We started the day with 6 miles through a burned out forest. There's a big debate here in the State of Jefferson over a proposed national monument designation for some area of the forest we've been hiking through. Apparently the Obama administration was considering creating it.  I think they should name it the "Kingsford National Park" in my opinion... because so much of the forest is completely char broiled. There really isn't much left to burn. I conclude that I strongly support selective logging. It creates areas where fire can be stopped. Without logging we have created forests that are explosive. The areas we walked through where logging occurred in the 1970's appeared to be much healthier forests than the areas where we tried to preserve every pine needle. 

We passed through a lot of forest today... had lunch at a spring. Springs make make me very happy in the woods. CJ and I have a snack we prepared before the trip that is basic…

300 Mile Hike Day 9

Friday, July 21 2017
After climbing over 8300' and walking nearly 32 miles in two days, I was nearly sleep walking this morning for the first few miles. Luckily, the trail was giving easy miles. I wasn't paying attention to the trail or the sights and scenes.  I was contemplating man's search for meaning.  Or almost.  I was definitely deep in thought. Contemplating my search for meaning. I've always done long distance backpacking trips in my life and found they are like a retreat. When I come home, I have purpose and plans.  Or at least that was true when I wasn't 49 years old. In 1997, I came home with a 7 year plan and it played out perfectly. It seems the sense of purpose and subsequent planning that bounced around in my head as I walked this morning were not about what I'm going to do in life.  It was more about how I will deal with things coming up in the next phase of life.

We left our campsite thinking we could get water from a spring in 3 miles.  But i…

300 Mile Hike Day 8

Thursday, July 20 2017
I've hiked various places on the Pacific Crest Trail since I was about 13 years old.  At the end of this hike I will have laid footprints down nearly half of California. I've hiked some of the more enjoyable sections multiple times, like the 220 miles of trail between Yosemite and Truckee. But I have never felt more clearly like I was walking on the very crest of the pacific coast mountain range than I did this morning. Within a mile or so of leaving our campsite, we were looking east toward Nevada and Southern Oregon and every mountain was lower than the one we were walking on. There was an obvious inversion layer and we could see smoke in the valleys. A few miles later,  we crossed over to the west side of the ridge we were on. Looking west we could see every mountain was lower than us again and then we realized we could see the marine layer on the coast.  I was not expecting to see that on this trip.  

We came to an area where we had to negotiate acr…

300 Mile Hike Day 7

Wednesday, July 19 2017
We slept well with the creek rushing by all night.  We watched deer munch on leaves literally feet from us as we fell asleep.  When we awoke we found a girl from Norway who was hiking the entire Pacific Crest Trail had joined our campsite.  She was going north. We are going south. So we didn't have time to get to know each other. 
This day was about carrying heavy packs up to the elevation we were at before we dropped into Seiad Valley. About noon, we entered the Marble Mountain Wilderness. I've never backpacked up here before.  Partly because we have world class backpacking an hour from home and this is a days drive away.  But also because, a guy I used to backpack with,  Mark Zoulas, told me the steepness was unbelievable.  I think I forgot he told me that until I saw the Marble Mountain Wilderness sign and realized I was already exhausted just getting to the sign.  Notice Paul and CJ aren't really smiling in the photo? Our packs are super heavy…

300 Mile Hike Day 6

Tuesday, July 18 2017

(Better late than never... this entry has been delayed because it got locked up in my phone. )
I wasn't looking forward to the town stop in Seiad Valley. The trail went directly through town so we had no choice but to go there. Dropping from 6200' to 1300' elevation was the part I was most unhappy about.  We earned that 6200'and then as soon as we were at cruising altitude the trail made us give it all back.  We had been hearing from hikers going north, who were coming up out of Seiad as we were heading in,  that it was 105 degrees in the afternoons. So that, and taking on the new load for the next ten day stretch was what had me cringing.
As it turned out, the temp never really got higher than 90 and the people we interacted with from all over the world made it a good day.  We met a guy from Brazil, 36 years old, professional photographer, who had flown to California in April, spent two long days in REI in San Diego buying everything he needed f…