An afternoon in Etna

PCT miles 1613.9 to 1606.3 – Cub Bear Spring to Etna Summit at Somes Bar Etna Road – Total PCT miles 910.2

After six-plus days roaming the snowy Siskiyous and Marbled Mountains Wilderness, we made it to the charming town of Etna, CA. Our goal had been to make it to Etna Summit and allow for ample time to make it to town so we could pay a visit to the local brewery and take a partial day of rest (having only walked 7.6 miles today).

Okay, maybe I was fixated on this goal, but since we were arriving in town on a Sunday and the brewery was closed on Monday… I didn’t want to miss out on local beer or the chance for pub grub. Gabriel was willing to go along with the idea and safely and persistently kicked the steps to get us to our destination in good time, those 7.6 miles had a lot more snow and icy slopes than we’d thought we’d see.

We got to Etna Summit mid-morning and were soon waiting for the opportunity to hitch. Thirty-some minutes and one full car later (they kindly stopped to explain they didn’t have room for us), miners Bill and Janice gave us an adventurous ride to town. Many thanks to these kind souls for the lift! And thank you guardian angels for making the ride to town a safe one.

We checked into our motel and promptly went to the Etna Brewery! Great beers, salads and hearty food to satisfy hungry hikers. It was a popular spot for PCTers as we met Jayhawk and his parents Marmite and Sher and were soon joined by the Three Bears. So fun to be around other hikers after the last few days of snowy traverses.

Going SOBO in northern CA while most hikers are in the Sierras has been quite a change from the social scene of trail life in the PCT pack. While we miss our friends, we are loving the gorgeous mountains, hanging valleys, waterfalls, marbled rock and wildflowers of the Rogue and Klamath National Forests.

We’ve also been having fun with the snow. Lots of it above 6,000-6,500 feet on north facing slopes, NE slopes and forested NW slopes. The snow makes for slower traveling when you have to traverse with ice ax in hand and kick steps above steep slopes (again, thank you Gabriel and here here to your stiffer soled shoes). But both of us have found this to be fun! A little more challenging than walking dry trail, but not scary like the creeks in the Sierra. If need be, we will enjoy using our mountaineering skills for a little while longer.

Based on what we’ve heard in the PCT rumor mill and what we’ve seen from the snow analyses on Half-Mile’s website, there should be snow over the next 100 miles from Etna to Mt. Shasta. After that we hope to be on much drier trail and able to make up miles/time due to our slow snow travel and previous time off.

Headed back to the trail now, still much to update about our road trip and hiking AND the pancake challenge. May we find a computer in Mt Shasta to load photos too.

Happy trails!

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