Friday, July 27, 2012

27 July - Day 97 - Russian Wilderness & Klamath National Forest

From ridge above Wolford Gulch at 7156 ft elevation (Mile 1580.2) to Sawyer's Bar Rd (Mile 1606.5)

Total PCT Miles Hiked Today: 26.3

Pan here.

Yet another marathon. Uff.

We hiked into the Russian Wilderness today. Very impressive! We have turned north now -- our westward movement almost done. Oregon isn't far away.

We saw a new tree -- Weeping Spruce -- today. Wow! What a peculiar beauty! We've been seeing Grand Fir for the past week or so -- its needles smell like freshly sliced grapefruit. Now that we are in the Klamath National Forest, we keep alert to the ways the flora is Pacific Northwest in its articulation. Flowers are in full blossom now -- the summer in high heat. We are grateful for the elevation, since even up here the heat gets oppressive as we lug backpacks up and down ridges.

The views in the late afternoon and evening to the west are always of rank upon rank of mountains made blue by moisture haze in the air. Gorgeous atmospheric perspective!

At the end of the day we came down to a mountain road.

Ten miles away north along this road is the remote little town of Etna. By all accounts it is hiker-friendly and worth a visit. We also need to resupply our food (we find we can no longer carry many days of food since our caloric needs have so steadily increased).

We wait about an hour for a lift. Just about zero traffic on this mountain road.

Then a pickup with three dogs in back stopped and we hopped in back. What a tongue-licking we got with our salty, sweaty, schmutzy faces. But joyous fun for us! Dog therapy.

The little white dog was so excited, he just kept humping the big brown & white in a non-targeted, dizzily absent-minded, but tenacious manner. That, with the wind whipping around, and the truck zooming zigzag down the mountain road at speed, and the young Lab licking everyone in the face, the big brown & white absolutely covering our faces with her huge tongue,  and all stumbling and bounding around, made for a tumbling, messy, and chaotic ride --  hilarious, actually, though this photo catches Pan at a particularly vivid moment.
At the Hiker Hut and Alderbrook B&B, we check in for B&B bedrooms (having phoned ahead for reservations), then head quickly down stinky and dirty on bikes and down through town to the brew pub to get supper. It was going to close in a half hour! Ooooh, did our legs object to cycling! Cute town.

Live music. Big outdoor patio filled to capacity. Brewpub overflowing. Great service from the New York waitresses. The place was crowded to the max (it's apparently the only show in town ... and the only one for miles around), but we got in -- sat at the bar at first, then a table opened up and the waitress got us seated and our orders zipped into the kitchen just in time. We ate heartily. And what impressive beer offerings!

Our good hosts at Alderbrook B&B took good care of us -- gave us a great deal. We got our showers, and tucked ourselves into big comfy beds. Outside, the Hiker Hut was filled up and overflowing. But we were insensible now ... aches & pains at the end of a long day, and deliriously happy over the texture of, oooooh, pillow cases!!!!

We watched some of the Olympics opening ceremony on TV, then it was off to sleep. Tomorrow morning, after breakfast, we must get groceries.


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