Day 108: Hiking into the smoke

Wed. 8/7/13
13.5 miles (Miles 1606.5 – 1620.0)
Etna Summit – Creeklet at Mile 1620

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This isn't a sunset... it's 4pm and the sun was high shining through the smoke. Eerie.

I decided to hike. But guess what? It was tough getting out of town when we hoped to. Not a big surprise, but I’m totally cool with it since we were mostly visiting and eating, which is fun and important.

Since Aloha and I had a room at the Alderbrook Inn, owners Dave and Vicki treated us to a delicious breakfast. We had fresh fruit, potatoes, cinnamon-raisin toast, coffee, orange juice and a giant omelette with mushrooms, onions, cheese, tomato and avocado. It was a great start to the day. I really enjoyed staying there, and being able to hang out with the hikers downstairs last night was fun, too.

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A great place to stay in Etna, CA.

After checking out of our room, we hung around, packed the car up, visited, and eventually head to the brewpub for lunch. It was a pretty big group of us that kept growing as more hikers strolled in. We met up with Cuddles (the cello player) again, and that’s pretty darn exciting! It was really good to see him! Pacman from Crest Blessings also showed up yesterday. He had to get off trail earlier, but he’s back with his Jeep and is going to meet up with Aloha to do some trail magic! I look forward to that!

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Aloha, Pacman, T-coZee, Cuddles, G-bird, Tears and Kazu

It took a while to get our lunch, but we were having fun, discussing the fires, and enjoying each other’s company. We can’t all hike the same pace on the trail, but in towns we can all sit around at the same speed and catch up. This makes town stops so special.

After the best BLT on the PCT so far, Aloha and I walked to the soda fountain for an ice cream cone. I love that place, and the girl scooping the ice cream was awesome. I really have been enjoying Etna.

After a lot of consideration and talking with forestry personnel, we decided not to skip ahead to Siead Valley. We felt pretty safe continuing where we left off at Etna Summit, and we finally hit the trail there around 3pm. I started hiking with G-bird and Tears, and Kazu wasn’t far behind. The smoke wasn’t too bad. I could tell it was there because I could smell it, and it was floating in light clouds in the valleys. The sky above was filled with smoke, and the hills across the valley were really hazy. After a while I could actually see where the fire was. I never saw flames, but I could see where the smoke was billowing out of the trees a few valleys over. The sound of helicopters was nearly constant. One would fly over our heads, and just as it would fade off in the distance another would be on its way. Those guys are sure working hard. We should be completely out of any danger tomorrow after about 10 more miles. I guess those fires can move really fast in just the right conditions. I hope it stays where it’s at and just goes out!

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Light smoke hanging in the valley

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Heavier smoke with the sun illuminating it an eerie color.

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Fire chopper

So I am a little bummed tonight. About six miles into the hike this afternoon, G-bird twisted her ankle and irritated her tendon, which she’s tore in the past. She was in a bit of pain, but she braced it and hiked a couple more miles while trying to decide what to do. She opted for stopping early to camp so she can elevate it and rest a bit, then see how it is in the morning. Tears stayed with her, which was super-awesome of her to do, but I trucked on. I can’t help but feel a little bad. I’m trying to push some big days to allow me some more off-time when my parents arrive. I just really hope her ankle feels good tomorrow and I’ll see them both in a couple of days. I’m sad, though… I was looking forward to camping with them tonight, and hiking with Tears for a few days.  Sigh… we’ll meet up again soon. Kazu is camped next to me, so I do have some camp company, and that’s nice.

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Tears and G-bird hiking into the hazy abyss.


Tonight I love the beauty God shines through something tragic. There are forest fires nearby, and that’s sad, but the smokey skies that were displayed above me today were absolutely heavenly.

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Far views might be behind walls of smoke, but the close views are still great!

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Silver linings

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Smokey, beautiful, colorful sky

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Whoa...

Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!

With love,
Toots Magoots
(Robin Grapa)

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