Monday, August 4, 2014

Day 74 Fire! Fire! Eiler Fire!

Day 74 
August 2nd
16.5 miles
Redding via Old Station via PCT mile 1378
Are you bored with the of the monotony of your life? Are you tired of the same old routine day in and day out? Are you ready for some excitement in your life? If so...then perhaps you should consider becoming a PCT hiker. I guarantee you no day will ever be the same and 90% of the time no day will ever go as planned or predicted.

I told Guy on a Buffalo last night I wanted to be hiking by 7am (early for me) so I could get to Old Station by mail out my extra weight (my old sleeping bag and some other things I needed to send home) that I was hauling around for the past 24 miles. Today is Saturday and the post office hours are from only 1pm to 3pm. Buffalo assured me he could help make that happen and if I wasn't out of my tent by 6:40 by his time. I would get a bucket of water over my tent and new down sleeping bag.

At 6:34 this morning I was given a 6 minute warning. I believe Buffalo is a man of his word and didn't want to test him otherwise, so I was up and out packing it up by my deadline. The extra encouragement got me hiking by 7:26, which I was grateful for, one because I was going to get a whole lot of miles in with this early start and two it was getting hot fast today.

As I was getting closer to Old Station you could see a huge puffy white cloud of smoke from a fire in the distance, but in the direction I was heading. I got to Old Station at 1:20pm. Not bad 16.5 miles shortly after 1pm. Pilsbury, Buffalo and 2 other hikers were there to give me some news. Old Station had no power, the fire had hit the power lines. Further more the fire had jumped Highway 89 and the PCT was officially closed going North as of noon today. Due to road closures one could not easily get through going North. Luckily the post office was still open, they would send out flat rate priority boxes only since they did not have power to weigh anything, I smushed it all in a large priority box and sent it on its way.

Our plan of action was to go to Redding, the closest large town/city, to get cell service and internet and research our options of where to get back onto the trail. By then Bee-line and Billy Jack and gotten in from the trail. We split into two groups and got a ride into Redding, I was with Buffalo, Bee-line and Billy Jack. Buffalo and I decided stay in Redding and Bee-line and Billy Jack were going to continue to get a ride further north as Bee-line had friends in a neighboring town. Before we went our separate ways we made the all important stop:

Buffalo and I found a place to stay and turned on the news and got reports on the fire. The Eiler Fire which had developed over the night was 7000 acres and 0% contained, it had jumped Highway 89. I started researching the closest point of entry  back onto the PCT, which appeared to be Highway 299 or Highway 89 north of the fire. There are other fires further north also affecting the PCT in another 200 miles or so, near the Oregon-California border. This has many hikers in a quandary about what to do, skip ahead a couple hundred miles pass both fires to Ashland? Flip up to Washington and hike southbound? Neither one if these were desirable options for me...I wanted to get back on at the closest reentry point to where I got off. I wasn't going to figure exactly where that would be until tomorrow. So until then I enjoyed the luxury of being in town: shower, cell service, internet and Mexican food for dinner!

Fire in the distance...taken on the way to Redding

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