Day: Monday, 15th August 2016
Miles: 1621.2 – 1653.2
Marble Valley Tentsite 1621.2 – Seid Valley RV Park 1653.2
Ah the joys. I had longed for new shoes for so long that I had signed myself up for a breakin period on the replacements. How I didn’t guess this would happen I really don’t know, however I awoke at 6:30am with foot pains from my arches to my Achilles that told me that I would be needing lots of stretches whilst the new brightly colored mounts blending in to my feet (or likely whilst my feet were remolded into the shape they should be). After some spirited stretch-antics, likely laughable to any passer-by, I was joined at my camp by a horseman with a horse and a pack horse spare. The wonders of the trail never cease as I still have no idea where the gentleman came from or could possibly be going as any trailhead was at least a day away, yet they had very little gear to get by. After a head scratch and a bowl of oatmeal I decided to postpone that question for another day. The morning was sunny and I was on trail a little later than normal after my late night of hiking. After a short chat with my old friend Breakaway and clear out of camp it was about 8am by the time I finally got out. It seems that many of my other friends were on the other side of the spooky abandoned ranger hut last night and I hadn’t even realized it!
It was a beautiful clear morning, especially when framed by the thick vegetation that at slightly unnerved me last night, coupled with the huge rock outcrops that bounded the trail as it wound higher and higher back to the top of the ridge. Given my shoe break-in, I was keeping a slow pace – but the undulating and interesting rock outcrops keep me happily pushing on.
Eventually the trail topped out on a dry and hot, somewhat barren hilltop, beautiful in its own way, although I was happy to stop at a spring and shady spot mentioned in my trail notes as a regular bear sighting spot that had “obnoxiously ballsy chipmunks”! Thankfully going unit iced by either population, I managed to get water and eat lunch with nary a crumb lost to the local punks.
As the trail descended further I left the marble mountain wilderness with some sadness, it was one of those places I never heard of, that was really an unexpected little pocket of paradise.
Following the trails descent into the larger Klamath River basin and valley ahead, I entered a burn area notable for how recent it occurred, just two years old. Beyond the warnings, the view of desolation with soil scorched into ash was saddening, but the resurgence of life was incredible, flowers, blooms and critters dotting the area. After a while I joined up with Girter creek and followed that pleasant alignment until I met Breakaway, we had a good chat and eventually blew through the evening miles very quickly on a descending track, ending at a closed campground (due to post-fire hazards) where the trail joins a road for a significant distance. I met my buddy Levi there but decided to roll onward and finish in Seid Valley for an easier day tomorrow given the trail was feeling a little lighter underfoot after a day on the new shoes!
Dropping in late to Saeed Valley, we missed the general store closing time by 4mins but caught up with some familiar faces at the RV park next door where I stopped for the night thanks to its inviting green grass and showers!