Day 117 – Etna to stream – 15 miles

Back to the trail today. My cold isn’t gone yet but I’m feeling much better than yesterday. Each additional day off is becoming more and more precious, but we made the right call this time. After a big breakfast and a slice of banana cream pie (which I’ve been craving ever since Big Bear nearly 1400 miles ago) we hit the post office to mail some things home and then started up Main Street towards the trail. We were worried it would be a tough hitch but before long someone stopped. Larry was on his way up to Etna Summit to pick up his brother and a few other hikers arriving this afternoon.

We set off on more ridgewalks, a pattern we’d follow all afternoon. The uphills weren’t too steep but I was still working harder than I should have – not quite as bad as the day we came into town but not up to my normal speed. The heat made things tougher and in a matter of moments our cleanliness was just a fond memory as we sweated up the hills. It was still very smoky. At one point we couldn’t have been more than 5 miles away from a column of smoke that was the target of many firefighting helicopters. We were glad we had a deep valley and a tall ridge between us and it. All day it smelled like campfire but thankfully my cough didn’t seem to get too much worse.

We made a solid 15 miles to a creek for the night – not too bad for the slow rate we were going. The last few miles were the toughest, filled with steep climbs, lots of rocks (painful for sore ankles) and overgrown brush. We fought through it all to reach some nice campsites. We’re overlooking a deep valley from a cliff, enjoying a chilly breeze and glad once again to be out on our own.

– Posted from the PCT

Location:Pct mile 1622

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