Wednesday July 8, 28.2mi/45.4km
Philpot Campground (292.3/2750ft) to Red Mountain Creek (318.5/2720ft) (CA) + 2.0mi for missing a turn
As I left the campground this morning, I noticed the sign called it a picnic area. Weird.
There was a series of dirt FS roads and I missed a turn. After a mile on the wrong road, I realized my error and backtracked, and I was back on course by 8:30am. Bonus miles! The correct dirt road was barely a drivable road.
And it had a weird sideways car. That’s some bad parking!
I walked along in the shade on the quiet old road, and started noticing paw prints. Hopefully I didn’t run into their owner.
After 5 miles I emerged onto a paved road, and walked it for a mile. It was only 11am and already hot.
Caltrans was building a new bridge, and I stopped to watch and have a snack. They have some cool equipment.
I returned to more dirt roads after that, this time in a burned area. The warning signs seem a little alarmist.
A couple hours of walking in the hot sun (no shade in burned areas), and then I finally left the road and entered the forest on the Smoky Creek trail.
It was a beautiful trail, I could tell that a trail crew had been out this year to work on it. The tread was freshly dug, all the plants were trimmed way back, and there were no branches/logs to step over.
The trail descended 2000ft down to the Smoky Creek, and of course it was even hotter down low. So I went for a swim.
I was glad to have a shaded trail for the last two hours of the day, as I followed the South Fork Trinity River upstream.
I got to a large meadow by a stream, and decided to camp. It was 6pm and still hot, my watch said 34C.
Usually I plan my days based on the mileage given by the Bigfoot trail maps. But today’s distance was definitely wrong, there’s no way I hiked 26 miles. My GPS shows 24 miles, which feels more realistic. After this hike is done, I will compare my recorded mileage to the maps for each day. Most days I think the maps will show an undercount by 5-10%, but it will be interesting to see. Only two more days until I’m finished!