Wednesday, June 20, 2018 – 11.70 miles
The climb out of Seiad Valley is notorious for being hot, exposed and prolonged. I walked to Bee Camp Spring and the total elevation gain was 5685 feet (1733 metres) while elevation loss was only 736 feet (224 metres). It helped that I had gotten an early start despite the temptation of a milkshake at the cafe, but slow hikers take a long time to summit hills and the sun was high and sweltering by the time I had completed the bulk of the climb. One pleasant surprise was that the trail wasn’t overgrown and there wasn’t much poison oak, contrary to the claims of a man at the RV park. He was offering to drive hikers up the alternate road route, so that option is there if you want it. I also saw a cool burnt tree swarming with ants.
A few water options were available on the way up: Fern Spring, a boxed spring swarming with mozzies, and Lookout Spring, an oasis with ferns and greenery on the side of a dry cliff. I saw a frog there and a flock of butterflies.
I was thinking of camping at Red Buttes but the ground was a carpet of stones, so I continued to Bee Camp Spring. Many mozzies here as well, maybe the vanguard for the reputed swarms in Oregon, but they’re hovering more than biting. I found two earwigs inside my tent (shudder) and one outside (slightly smaller shudder). I suspect they’re hitchhikers from Seiad Valley.