Mile reached: 1744.3 (+26.2)
High: I maintained my continuous footpath and made it through the fire closure without issue.
Low: There was more official activity in the closure than expected. So, I felt bad that some other hikers that followed me may have felt stressed.
How can you have a bad day when it starts with an all you can eat Continental breakfast? You can’t, so it was a good morning. Though, I discovered that the hotel shuttle did not run on Mondays, which forced me to take the bus downtown.
Traveling to the post office was actually pretty painless, and the clerk found my package quickly. By chance, I ran into another thru-hiker, a SoBo named “Keto Doc”. (It’s pretty easy to spot people that named themselves, but being a SoBo this early is quite lonely.) Right as I walked outside “Redbeard” and a few other thru-hikers from Seiad Valley arrived. They also knew where “Poseidon” was. Instead of zeroing in town, he stayed at Callahan’s, which is a lodge a few hundred feet away from where I hitched into Ashland.
The big question was where were you getting back on trail. The Klamathon Fire had closed 20 miles of trail the previous week, but the fire was now 100% contained. CalFire had lifted the evacuation order, but the BLM had not lifted the trail closure. The locals seemed to think that it would be ok to hike though the closure and that the BLM would remove the trail closure that day. I figured I’d try my luck with the closure, and a few others decided they’d follow me. After striking out with trail angels to get a ride back up to Siskiyou Summit, “Keto Doc” and I hired a cab. Disconcertingly, we could see several new fires on the drive up.
Once back on trail, I set off into the closure, which was posted but with old information. After a few minutes, I even encountered a dayhiker. All was quiet and uneventful until I ran across a newly bulldozed road. A few minutes later, I ran into two firefighters. They were very friendly, and we talked for a few minutes about the fire. They explained that they were closing up the new road, since the fire was now contained. I thanked them and took off down the trail hoping that I wouldn’t be in someone’s and create a problem. Unfortunately, this new road paralleled the trail for a few miles, and I could hear heavy machinery operating on it. However, I managed to avoid running into anyone else, and a few hours later I was officially out of the closure!
The day ended meandering though BLM land surrounding a few reservoirs. Due to a paucity of campsites, I had to travel down a spur trail a short distance toward a horse camp. I happened to find a cairned flat spot just a little before and was satisfied with it for the evening.