Day 84: Nero Into Etna 

July 10, 2017

Total daily miles: 5.6 miles

Total PCT miles: 1190.3

Start: Paynes Lake (mile 1591.5)

End: Etna (mile 1597.2)

Total elevation gain/loss: 910.8/1432.4 ft

With less than six miles to go until we got to town (or at least the hitch to town), we were ready to get out quickly this morning. The morning light on Paynes Lake was rich and stunning!

After a couple miles of incline and a bit of descent we actually ran into some more snow! But after a couple mild traverses it was gone. It didn’t even last long enough to pull out the microspikes I’ve been carrying along!

I hit the road at about 8am. Valley Girl was already there and Jessica arrived shortly behind me. The road into town gets very little traffic, but we’d heard that the chance that any given car will pull over for hikers is high. After a few minutes a truck pulled up and Valley and Jessica hopped in while I stayed behind to wait for Michael.  

Lots of smoke in the distance. Looks like the PCT is still in the clear though!

Shortly after Michael arrived at the road, a vehicle pulled up dropping off hikers from Etna. We asked if they were heading back to town and were able to score a ride. The funny part is that we still waited about 30 minutes with them because they were dropping off a friend who was just getting on trail to hike the section between Etna and Canada. Soon enough though we were on our way and headed to town. We drove past the motel in town hoping to get a room, but they were full. We had them drop us off at the library while we figured out what to do. They’d mentioned an inexpensive Airbnb nearby, so we sent a request and waited for a response.  

In the meantime, we took advantage of the library’s wifi and shaded porch (they were closed). A local driving by stopped to see if we needed a ride back to the trailhead. Such a nice town! With our hunger increasing, we headed over to Dotty’s — a diner known for its burgers and milkshakes… neither of which we got.  

Sadly, the Airbnb didn’t work out, so after eating we headed to the city park for its $5 camping. The park was very spacious with lots of trees for shade. And it had bathrooms, a shower, and wifi! We spent the afternoon lounging around, doing hand wash laundry in the bathroom sink, showering (I had to walk back to the grocery store for tokens and towels), and figuring out our resupply strategy. 

Etna is one of the few locations that we opted not to send a box to because they seem to be going out of their way to help hikers (the shower is new) and we wanted to support the community. I have to say that resupplying was a struggle. Not so much because of lack of selection (it was fine), but because figuring out what we needed and how to purchase the proper quantities was tiring. And we barely needed any food — we’ll be in Seiad Valley in a couple of days! The process was tiring and ended up being much more expensive than I expected. It gives me renewed appreciation for the effort that we put into making our resupply boxes ahead of time.

Purely me!

We attempted to visit Etna’s brewery for dinner, but sadly they were closed for the day. Back to Dotty’s for us! Again, no burgers or milkshakes for us (I’d already had ice cream thinking I wasn’t going back to Dotty’s).

I’m absolutely exhausted. I’d been hoping to get a bunch of blog updates up today, but the wifi hasn’t been particularly great and our priority has been trying to get the Oregon maps for the Guthooks app to load (they are refusing). Hopefully we’ll have better luck at the library in the morning.

On a separate note, it seems like only recently have I run into hikers that are leaving the trail. There was an older couple in Castella leaving the trail and today we talked with two separate guys who were planning to call it quits. No one was injured or sick, just tired of walking or interested in pursuing other activities. Just seems weird since I know that tons of people drop out at the beginning, but I never talked to anyone planning to leave until now. Maybe the halfway-point blues are striking later this year because of the skips? Luckily, we’re still going strong and excited to be so close to Oregon!

Current ailments:

Elizabeth: sore right foot.

Michael: sore left foot.

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