Tuesday, June 12, 2018 – 5.70 miles
More beautiful views this morning.
Since nothing had been left of the Wall of Snow so far, I was surprised to encounter substantial snow patches around 7200 feet just beyond Smith Lake. The trail was bare at 7600 feet in the Castle Crags Wilderness, but today’s snow was on a forested and north-facing slope, so I suppose that’s why it was lingering.
Its angle made me uncomfortable. Flatlanders like flat snow, okay? But it was soft enough to kick steps into and I crossed without incident.
I hiked up the Ruffey Lake side trail to the saddle to see whether I could get a view of the lake, but there were none. Just past the trail junction I met a couple from Ashland who were heading to a lake for the day. I figured they would give me a ride into Etna for resupply if I failed to get a ride from someone else on the notoriously deserted road, but the notoriously deserted road turned out to be not-so-deserted. Just after I arrived, a truck with two women drove up. The driver was clearly a local since there were no questions about my intentions and she said that I could hop into the back of the truck for a ride down to Etna. Not the safest mode of transportation, but it was fun and the road was scenic.
She dropped me at the motel, which was full. There’s a ‘hiker hut’ in town with four dorm beds and camping opportunities if those are already taken, but I wanted a private room for handling my resupply, so I ended up at the tragically expensive Collier Hotel. It’s a beautiful old house and customers get a private bedroom and shared bathroom, living room and kitchen. It’s deserted at the moment except for me, so I have the whole place to myself. Whenever I walk up the stairs, I think that I see something out of the corner of my eye on the second floor. Has anyone ever died here?