PCT – CA Section R . . . as in Relishing the Rewards

Dates Hiked: June 3-6, 2015
Direction: Northbound
Section P: Seiad Valley to Ashland
-Miles: 63
-Elevation: Low Point 1,362′, High Point 7,091′, Gain 11,887′, Loss 8,989′My overnight in Happy Camp was exactly what I needed to physically and emotionally prepare for what I’d been warned would be hell day. The climb out of Seiad Valley has a reputation of brutality much like the one leaving Sierra City. My friend Ron had encouraged me to hike it southbound, but for some reason I was compelled to continue my footsteps north. Ascending 4,547 feet in 7.4 miles while fighting through overgrown trail, being taunted by poison oak, attacked by fox tails and burrs, and blasted by the unrelenting sun will most certainly equate to more of that Type II fun. After arriving on the Stage bus around 8:30am, I lollygagged a bit by savoring breakfast by Chanda at the Siead Valley Cafe, home of the infamous pancake challenge. Might as well enjoy my sufferfest!

My day shall not be ruined by those fish hook dry grasses darning themselves into my shoes, nor the burrs taking ownership of my Dirty Girl Gaiters, nor those down blackened trees providing early morning callanetics. I shall smile and enjoy life’s little pleasures – a little puff of cool breeze, brightly colored flowers, views of the hills and valleys, fresh cold water, shade, wonderment, bird song . . .

Aptly named Fern Springs, this was a wonderful stop just a couple miles from town where I could gather water for the next 4 miles and most importantly take advantage of the “shower” to wet my hair, buff and shirt. Not only is it refreshing, but nature’s air conditioning wards off heat exhaustion.

These are interesting seed pods or ?? Love the shapes and dimensions.

Flowers along the trail make for a stark contrast.

The fire opened up VIEWS . . . as I climbed ever up, Seiad Valley grew ever distant.

Sections of clear trail were to be celebrated.

Storm clouds and bear grass added plenty of drama.

This snake gave me quite a fright. I was looking for a campsite in the Kangaroo Springs area. He quickly retreated to his hole but then stuck his head back up to keep an eye on me. Thankfully it was most likely a non-poisonous gopher snake.

It had been a cold windy night, one in which I used my umbrella inside my tent as a wind break. First time using this technique and it worked great (thanks Wired for the suggestion). I was quite surprised to awake to fog and mist. While I missed out on some views, I found the mystic walk quite enjoyable.

Life is good, right?

Such an inviting sign, the prettiest I’ve seen. If the visibility had been better I would have explored, but since I was walking in a cloud . . .

These bright sunflowers made my day!

Photographing bleeding hearts has been such a challenge. I was happy to finally fine an acceptable capture.

Size perspective!

I was intrigued by these clear cuts. The ground appears tilled, all signs of trees are gone, and the fields are now filled with little puffball flowers, often Dr. Seuss flowers, occasionally grasses or ferns. I learned from my brother that these are private swatches purchased by mills after they’ve been logged; they’ll replant with appropriate timber and harvest many years from now. By the way, that’s Mt Shasta in the background with the multiple layers of mountains keeping her company.

Gotta love this sign

Another favorite

Several miles previous, I began hearing what sounded like chimes. Listening closely I recognized the sound from several years ago when I was backpacking in the Marble Mountains Wilderness . . . oh no it’s cow bells . . . deja vu . . . especially as I’m headed for a spring and that time we found it stampeded by these bovine friends. The clanging was so loud I tried unsuccessfully to record the sound. I had several sightings of the beasts as I proceeded down the trail . . . thankfully they seemed to prefer the road.

I found this box in the middle of this stream interesting. Not sure of the purpose. It had a tiny amount of water in the bottom but doesn’t seem like it would fill adequately for use by stock. Any enlightenment?

I found these dirt road intersections most interesting. I believe this one had 5 roads coming together.

The Oregon border was my original goal, so each step as I closed the gap, I felt my heart leap with joy. I’d walked from Burney! I know not as impressive as those who’ve walked from Mexico, but for me quite an achievement . . .

Donomore Meadow was so green and lush, the creek flowing nicely.

The Donomore’s had a nice spread, even a peak named after them, and I bet spectacular hunting. About 10 miles earlier I’d seen a lot of fresh elk scat and finally my first elk in the wilderness. And, about 5 miles before that I’d seen lots of fresh bear scat, but with the poor visibility I didn’t see any bear. Near where the cows were grazing my map is marked “bearground.” I didn’t see any scat in that area . . . maybe the bears found those cowbells downright irritating too 🙂

WooHoo!!!!!!! Sadly the border register was in shambles with just scraps of paper littering the box. I’m thrilled to report after posting a request online, a beautiful new logbook has been added for the Class of 2015!

Logbook and photo credit to Mark A.

A few patches of snow remaining near Observation Peak (mile 1692).

Welcome to OREGON!

Piped spring water is the best!

I found myself on the section of trail near the Mt Ashland Ski Area Road on a Saturday. It encourages easy access to a beautiful section of trail and I found myself overwhelmed by the 20-30 people I encountered. Most in a hurry, but others wanting to chat and find out more about my adventure. The previous day, I’d met a 79-year old guy out training for a 50k race on this section of the PCT in late July when he’ll be 80. AMAZING!

Interesting erosion pattern . . . that’s pilot rock far in the distance.

Yep, Oregon has tree jungle gyms also . . . after my days with charcoal-covered trees, clean ones were a nice change of pace.

This is a nice place to add a bit of water for the last 5-6 miles (typically HOT and DRY) down to I-5.

My friend Johanna hiked up the trail carrying her little guy, Dane. He and the carrier weighed more than my pack, and she was hiking UP while I was traveling mostly downhill on this very hot afternoon. It was great to see her and have company for the last few miles. THANK YOU Johanna!

What an adventure this has been. So proud of my accomplishment of hiking from Burney to Ashland, 300 miles! When I arrived home, I was surprised by the generosity of my neighbors. One left me the food on the top shelf, another the second shelf. They take care of things for me at home while I’m adventuring . . . I’m ever appreciative! I was definitely feeling loved and spoiled 🙂

I’ll post my gear list in the near future. Until then, please join me in saying goodbye to my beloved pink shirt . . .

Related Posts:

Jan’s Tips:

  • Backcountry permits are not required to backpack within Section R
  • Campfire and camp stove permit is required (online link)
  • Bear canisters are not required. It is recommended that you hang your food. I use an Ursack and Opsak.
  • Cell signal and internet service are VERY limited.
  • Spring trips mean unreliable weather forecasts and unpredictable weather.
  • Once in Seiad Valley, if you’d prefer a room to camping at the RV park or elsewhere, there is lodging in Happy Camp. There is a bus (Stage) that travels between Seiad Valley and Happy Camp on Monday, Wednesday & Friday (Schedule). I stayed at the Bigfoot Cabins. It was clean and reasonably priced, has a laundry room on site, with grocery store and post office across the street, pizza down the road.
  • Sections O-R have poison oak, some places such as near water and around Seiad Valley are much worse than others.
  • PCT resources
  • Sections of Section R (reference Day Hikes on the Pacific Crest Trail by George & Patricia Semb)
    • Seiad Valley to Cook & Green Pass (15.1 miles)
    • Cook & Green Pass to Wards Fork Gap (18.8 miles)
    • Wards Fork Gap to Siskiyou Gap (13.3 miles)
    • Siskiyou Gap to I-5 (17.3 miles)

3 thoughts on “PCT – CA Section R . . . as in Relishing the Rewards

  1. Pingback: PCT – CA Section H . . . as in Happily Humbled | Jan's Jaunts and Jabberings

  2. Pingback: 2015 -Where did Jan Jaunt? | Jan's Jaunts and Jabberings

  3. Pingback: 2020 – A Decade of Section Hiking Long Distance Trails . . . my podcast debut and resume – Jan's Jaunts and Jabberings

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