Monday 8/5 9:36 PM
I just finished dinner and am settling into my tent for the night and eating my dessert, a snickers bar. What a day! I left Etna this morning at 10 am After breakfast at the mom and pop coffeehouse (small house coffee, strawberry smoothie and breakfast croissant :)) and retrieving my packages from the post office. The most important one being my brand-new socks and so nice to have new well fitting well supporting socks! YAY! Especially in pink and blue! I got my favorite combo — Injingi original weight mini crew Smartwool PhD Outdoors. Both from Amazon for $23. Not bad. I also got my maps in the mail for the next section finally! I was without paper maps since Sierra city. Anyway, I left the Alderbrook Manor bed and breakfast/ hiker hut / hostel with Square Peg, an older lady, at around 10 AM. The owner gave us a ride. Everyone was worried about the fires potential trail closures and smoke but we had heard nothing life-threatening and knew that people went out last night, so we went ahead. There was no one at the Trail Head to say the trail was closed or give any update. So, I took that as a good sign. But am stressing about the smoke factor a bit :(. But I stayed positive :).
It was smokey all day but still breathable. I saw no one all day except for one southbounder named Bobcat, who reassured me all ahead was fine, just smokey. He was very nice. I couldn’t see any of the beautiful landscape ahead of me through the smoke, so that was a bummer. I entered the Marble Mountains Wilderness today and got into the actual Marble Valley late this evening at 8pm! There was nowhere to camp where I planned (1626, a 20 mile day) so I had to go all the way to 1630, to get a campsite, which is next to this old run down cabin. Near a creek though and lots of deer. Just as I was setting up camp, Bradley and Melissa showed up, which was a great surprise and relief. I actually wanted some company this evening — with the smoke, trees and old cabin it was feeling a bit eerie. So, glad they are here. Etna was great, I loved it — especially the hiker hut. It was fun seeing the same old people and meeting a bunch of new ones. I ran into Puddlejumper (Brian) who said Maeve got off the trail. Boo. I was hoping to hike with her some more. But I’ll have to go visit her in Colorado sometime. Good day, tired, lots of ups and downs. Socks are great! Can’t wait for Ashland. Monday 1506-1530 = 23 miles 10:30am – 8:30pm