On the Crest

Day 15. Sunday, August 5, 2007

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Start: Statue Creek

Miles Hiked: 9.2

Stop: Town of Etna

(N 41 27.592, W 122 53.697)

Audio Journal

We got to the town of Etna today.

On the trial at 7:00. The trail never got easy, like in the first part of our hike this year. Up and down with views of huge valleys. Kept climbing even after it seemed like the trail should take us down to the highway to Etna.

At one point, high on the mountains, I could count four different mountain ranges, one after another, stretching for as far as you can imagine. What it must have been like for the early settlers. It must have been very discouraging to get to the top of a ridge just to see and endless number of ridges to the West still to cross.

A one point we heard hundreds of bells below us. At first I thought it was a mule train. It turned out to be cowbells: a completely new sound for me.

At the end of the morning, I was really running out of energy. I was dragging to the end. This was the first time in five days that that happened. But I didn’t want to stop because the highway to Etna was supposed to be close. And it did come up fast – the highway appeared out of nowhere. I was so happy to see it.

There was some trail magic (a cold soda). Also, next to the highway was a PCTer named Wilderness Bob, who really encouraged us.

At the highway, we had to thumb for a ride. As we talked to Wilderness Bob, for 20 minutes, no cars came by. I was prepared for long wait. We got down to the highway and “reconfigured” (that is put on our cleanest clothes) for thumbing. In the next five minutes, two cars quickly drove by, and the second car stopped! Wow. It was a high-end car, like a Mercedes, which I would have never expected to stop for us. The driver was a very nice guy, who was in the medical profession, and knew nothing about the PCT or PCT hikers.

We got dumped out in the middle of Etna. Etna looked like a ghost town. But after walking round a little, it turned out to be a great place. We got a room in a nice little hotel. Turned out Slo Joe had arrived at the same hotel about two hours before us, and had the room next to ours. We agreed to eat dinner together, which we did.

The rest of the day was a great near-zero day. Did some of our chores and relaxed. Etna turned out to be a cute, comfortable, enjoyable, small town.

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On our way into town. But first, some trail to cover.
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The trail continues to be beautiful.
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The highway to the town of Etna is down there somewhere.
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One of the many lakes that we get to see but not go near.
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On the crest.
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A morning break. Shasta in the distance. The highway is near.
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Another Lake.
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Still on the crest.
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Lakes everywhere today.
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The end of this segment gets closer, but still seems far away.
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The beauty continues.
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We are still on the crest as we approach our highway.
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Even more crest walking. What a trail.
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We got to a Hotel in the town of Etna before noon.