Disclaimer: We are not on the PCT again. This was our final post from June 2015 when we went back to northern California to pick up missed miles.
Day 167 was a loooong day. We were about 31 miles from the little town of Seiad Valley and camping options were slim. It was either hike 18, 24, or the full 31 miles. We opted for the 24 since it was all downhill at the end (5000 ft of elevation loss). The morning was beautiful. Blue skies and cool temps. We hiked by Paradise Lake and it looked like a mirror. The ridge walk from there was full of amazing views. Then we hit the next section of burn as we started the long downhill. And it was long. We forgot how tough downhill can be. The downhill took its toll on Janel’s knee. Throughout the day, she developed pain and swelling that was pretty unbearable by the end of the day. In this section, the burn from last year had taken out some key bridges. The first bridge had a detour that took us through a heavily overgrown bushwhack. The Optimist fell in on the first stream crossing. We were getting really tired and Janel’s knee was really bothering her by the second bridge, which was now just a log. Right after that is when the Optimist had his closest encounter with a rattlesnake. By the time it rattled, it was almost under his right foot. Luckily, it just wanted to get away. With a few miles left to get to camp, we were exhausted. Janel’s knee wasn’t looking good and we made a decision to end the hike tomorrow when we got to Seiad Valley. We had limited time to get to Ashland and we couldn’t afford to wait it out in Seiad Valley. Instead of sitting an unknown amount of time in the tiny town, and then rushing through the last 60 miles in order to catch our flight home, we made the decision to hitch hike up to Ashland, Oregon. We could then rent a car and drive the coast to Redwoods National Park. It seemed like an easy decision, but once we made it, there was a flood of emotions. Once we hiked out the 6.5 miles from camp in the morning, the PCT chapter of our lives would be over. It felt more final than when we got to the Canadian Border. We said our good-byes to the PCT as we walked to camp. The next day was a fairly uneventful road walk into Seiad Valley. We passed a couple of bear cubs as we walked down a deserted road, but they paid no attention to us. So, good-bye PCT for now. Hopefully, we will be back for some more miles in the future.
The Optimist and Janel