Tuesday July 7, 20.0mi/32.2km
Big Creek at FR16 (273.3/3150ft) to Philipot Campground (292.3/2750ft) (CA) + 1.0mi to Fairgrounds
It was a very cold morning, and I walked with my hands in my pockets the entire time. The paved road was empty and relaxing.
Just as I was thinking about stopping to take a break, a chair appeared around the corner. Ewww, no thanks.
Finally after 6 miles, the road emerged from the forest and into the warm sunshine.
And there were cows. Hi cows!
I walked into Hayfork around 10:30.
It is bigger than Junction City, there are 4-5 restaurants and two grocery stores. I went to the Hotel restaurant, the only one that was open on a Tuesday at 11am. I ordered a breakfast omelet, and by the time I ate that, it was noon, so I ordered lunch too. I stayed until 1pm eating and charging my stuff.
On the walk out of town, I saw some cool artwork on various buildings.
I stopped by the county Fairgrounds to get a shower, it felt good to be clean. It was $10, a little expensive considering they don’t even give you a towel (only soaps).
I finished there at 2:30pm and walked the last 4 miles of road. It was quiet thru the forests and fields.
I finally re-entered the woods, after two days of roadwalking (since Canyon Creek trailhead).
I crossed many little streams, surprisingly without any bugs.
And then, the trail went to crap. It was moderately overgrown, mostly with poison oak and thorny plants. It was easily followable (other sections have been way more overgrown), but finding and avoiding specific plants in a sea of green was slow arduous work. Finally after two miles of that nonsense, I emerged on a nice open ridgeline.
It was great walking, sometimes very steeply, and the trail had eroded into a V-notch in places. It looked like a bunch of mountain bikers made a path a long time ago, and hikers adopted it over time. No one builds a path straight down the fall line!
I arrived to Philpot campground at 7pm, and had my choice of spots. It is an old, seldom-used campground, it kinda reminded me of the creepy Grider Creek campground from a week ago. At least it was an easy day, only 2400ft of elevation gain.
After all that I’m glad you found it to be an ‘easy’ day!
Looks like you are making great progress and seeing the best of the US.
Even the locals who live here didn’t know all this was in their backyard!