0 miles, currently at Mile 1606.5, Etna Summit
Aloha and I got up and head towards Etna Summit to pick up G-bird and Tears. There have been rumors that our trail north of here may close due to fires, and the road past where we came out to Etna Summit is already closed… so hikers are having a difficult time hitching into Etna because there isn’t the normal flow of traffic up there. Things are getting interesting.
On our way through Etna to get Tears and G-bird, we were stopped because there were several fire trucks blocking the road in town. Our first thought was that they officially shut the whole road down – but we still had to get Tears and G-bird! As it turns out, the road is open. Whew! The fire trucks were there for a house fire. The house that burned was only three houses down from the hiker hut where thru-hikers stay, so they all witnessed the chaos. Locals said that house was the 2nd oldest house in town – a huge, beautiful Victorian home, and a big loss to the community. It burned to a pile of ashes in 45 minutes, and the owner didn’t make it out. Etna is a small town, too, so everyone was talking about this fire and there were strange rumors floating around about its cause. Thankfully there are fire fighters and trucks all over this town because of the forest fires nearby, because locals were thinking their small volunteer crew may not have been able to keep it contained on their own. The fire was huge and may have caught the houses next to it on fire, too. There were seven trucks and a big crew there to put it out – their volunteer crew has two trucks and a handful of fire fighters. It was certainly a tragedy, but thank goodness it didn’t spread even more.
We finally got up to the summit where G-bird and Tears were waiting, and on our way back down to town we got a little animal show. We saw cows, black-tail deer and even a bear cross the road.
We stopped in at the Hiker’s Hut, which is part of the Alderbrook Inn B&B where Aloha had a reservation for us to stay. What a great place! The owners are really sweet, and their place is beautiful. Tears and G-bird stayed with the hikers, but we all hung out for most of the day. We went to Yreka (pronounced why-reek-ah) for our resupply, and I bought food and two new slips at the Walmart there. Hiker chores… done!
Back in Etna, Tears and I joined Kazu and Lionheart at the brewery for their sampler, and Aloha showed up and brought us to the soda fountain for some after-beer dessert. I had a delicious banana split. Yum! After another stop at the store, we crammed a bunch of us in the pickle jar and made our way back to Alderbrook/Hiker’s Hut.
We hung out outside a little past dark before finally retiring to our room for the night. We have a big decision to make tomorrow – hike out from where we left off and into the smoke (the trail is officially still open), or jump ahead to Siead Valley. Lots of hikers are choosing to jump, and I’m trying to base my decision on my want to hike it… but safely, and not solely on what everybody else is doing. This is hard to do… am I missing something? Am I making a poor decision? I hope to talk to the forest service and some fire crew tomorrow to get a better idea. It sounds like there is a small group that still plans on hiking, so I’m strongly leaning towards hiking out with them – and we may just all stick together until we’re well out of range of the fire.
Either way, I’ll be on the trail tomorrow and plan to kick out some miles in the next week. My parents have plane tickets booked and I hope to get close to Crater Lake for their visit. I’m so excited to see them I could pee! Yippeeeee!
Tonight I love these fire fighters and all they are doing to contain the fires and keep us all safe… while risking their own lives in the process.
Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!