Each day is a roller coaster. This morning was sullen. We said goodbye to Dave! ;-(. He had told us last night that he was going to get off trail for a bit. But he still slept with us next to Sawyers Bar Road. We all had some whisky the night before and been annoyed my the amount of mosquitos. This morning we all hugged and bid fair well and Dave aka 6 Strings hitched down the mountain. We had met Dave for the first time on the second day of the PCT near a stream where him and his friend had made fun of our Australian accents. Meg had walked into a Creek saying ‘good flow ere’ and Dave and his pal Danny had joked about it ever since. It will be strange not to walk with Dave everyday but we are happy he is doing what he wants to do.
We decided our mental patience for the snow has ended so we take an alternate route down and around Mt Etna to dodge the snow on the Summit. On Quiz’s recommendation from someone in town, we head down to Taylor Lakes trail head. When we get to the Lake we decide to eat breakfast. I am feeling so lack lustre about hiking, and I’m not looking forward to the day ahead. It’s difficult flipping around, walking south feels wrong mentally speeking and now our trail family has disintegrated. I’m feeling like there is no more adventure just miles that have to be walked in a certain time whilst regular folk are getting on with their lives. Iv never felt this way about the trail before.
After breakfast we all walk round the east side of the lake and find a trail that heads up to a high saddle. It’s a total half mile of rock scramble and really get our hearts pumping in the morning and our 7 days worth of food makes it feel like we are salmon swimming upstream. At the top of this scramble we are back on the PCT just south of Mt Etna. At the first water we stop and filter and refill. We all decide that if we are going to feel more invested in keeping on going we needed to push out a few more miles than we have been. We aim for a campsite 20 miles away and walk ambitiously.
Before lunch we pass some quaint lakes, cute streams and we pump into a lovely older couple heading north. They tell us how sublime it is to walk in Oregon and Washington in mid/late summer and we share tales from the Sierras. Already my spirits are lifted and the hike feels like a journey again. We pass through a saddle and follow the west side of the next ridge. That takes us into a valley that has sandstone coloured rocks and has mostly been burnt out. We cross a number of streams keeping an eye out for a shady lunch spot. It’s hard to find and reminds me of walking in SoCal. We find a spot on the path and sprawl out. We are 12 miles through our day, 10 miles to go!
On our way up to the next pass we bump into Beat and Michelle, the awesome Swiss couple. We haven’t seen them since Lone Pine and before that the Acton KOA. It’s so nice to bump into what feels like old friends! We realise we are now passing all the people who flipped to Sierra City or Beldan when we stayed in the Sierra from Lone Pine.
Over the next Pass we hit the second patch of difficult snow. There are so many hikers going north, they tell us exactly how we can dodge it. We take the high rocky snowless ridge next to the bank and manage to speedily bypass the whole thing! Woohoo!!
It’s a long and slightly tedious walk down to Scott River, but with lots of great views and travelling through beautiful meadows. Only made tedious by our new foot pain, our bodies not used to doing 20+ mile days and carrying packs this heavy. We get to South Fork Scott River and pitch on well made tentsites for the night. I think we passed 15 NOBO hikers today which is a heap, so many more than near Ashland. It’s a bit lonely walking south but I think NOBO hikers are experiencing this too, with everyone flipping to different points.
Overall the scenery today and our renewed attitude to walking I’m feeling way more positive about the trail and sticking to it.