Sunday July 5, 27.0mi/43.5km

Stuart Fork River (230.5/4920ft) to Junction City BLM campground (257.5/1440ft) (CA)

I slept great in my spot next to the river, and felt recovered from my exertions yesterday. The trail was really nice all morning.
I passed thru a couple big meadows, and all of a sudden I could see the mountains around me.
The trail crossed over Deer Creek and Salt Creek, both of which had big metal bridges.
But strangely, when it came time to cross the main Stuart Fork River, I had to ford it!
This was the deepest crossing of any of the rivers on the Bigfoot Trail, I would not have wanted to cross it a month ago during snowmelt. Then there was the 3000ft climb up to the ridge. The trail was mostly nice, overgrown in just a few parts. I passed a waterfall:
And some more nice meadows:
The view from the top was cool, I could see both sides of the ridge. Looking across the Canyon Creek valley:
And down the Canyon Creek valley, which I was about to walk.


The descent to the trailhead was relaxing, mostly thru mature conifer forest.
And this other type of leafy forest, the trees are so dense.
I passed by the trailhead, I think the distances are optimistic.
There were at least 50 cars parked there, must be a weekend. I quickly left and started the long roadwalk.
I passed by a historical monument to an old mining village along the way.
These trees are so cool, lots of shade, and their bark is so smooth.
I walked longer than expected, due to the lack of public land along the road. The No trespassing signs, abandoned cars, and trashy dilapidated houses made it very clear. Finally I got to the turnoff for the campground in hwy 299.
I got to the Junction City BLM campground at 7pm, and I chatted with a nice guy from Ohio for awhile, and we ate clementine oranges, so good after a hot day in the sun.
Tomorrow, only a mile to town!

Saturday July 4, 18.7mi/30.1kmLady Gulch trail jct (211.8/6150ft) to Stuart Fork River (230.5/4920ft) (CA)It was a cold night up at this higher elevation, and I was glad for the 1700ft climb to the summit of Packer Peak. Halfway up the climb, I passed an old ranger cabin.It used to be housing for the firetower watchperson. The summit was warm by 9am, with views in all directions from the 7822ft (2384m) peak.Looking back north to where I’d just come from:The summit benchmark.Mt Shasta in the distance to the east.The trail down was very steep, dropping 3000ft in 3 miles, but it was nicely maintained and easy to follow.At the bottom, I had a one mile dirt roadwalk to the next trailhead. It passed thru some meadows along the way.The was one house on the road, and it had the best mailbox holder…an old tree stump!I got to the Big Flat trailhead and campground and had lunch, taking advantage of the picnic tables and trash cans. I was a little worried when I almost ran out of hot sauce for my wrap, but a nice car camper had extra Frank’s. Reenergized, I began the 2000ft climb up to the Caribou Lakes. I entered the wilderness again, and the river crossing was easy.The trail was insanely good, it was graded for easy climbing, and before I knew it, I was up 1500feet.The next section of trail traversed a blindingly white section of rock. So bright!Then it wrapped around the ridge, and I got to see Packers Peak that I had climbed this morning.The views just kept coming, as the trail turned south, I could see the snowy mountain I had been eyeing for days.The trail was a feat of engineering, as it was cut into the side of a cliff here.I was dropping down to pass these two lakes, Snowslide Lake and Lower Caribou Lake.I stopped for a swim in Snowslide lake, it was cold.The view of the same two lakes from Upper Caribou Lake.I walked past Upper Caribou Lake. You can see the pass I was about to climb in the center of the photo.The climb up the pass still had snow!The view down into the Stuart Fork River Valley was amazing, looking 2500 feet down.Amazingly, there was a trail that went down the steep hillside. Impressive engineering again. After 85 switchbacks, I was down at the river. I hiked a quarter mile to a good camping spot, and gave my feet a rest for the day. So much steep descending!

Friday July 3, 19.0mi/30.6kmMeadow by South Russian Creek (192.8/5320ft) to Lady Gulch trail jct (211.8/6150ft) (CA)Since I was camped at the base of the climb, I got warmed up quickly on all the switchbacks.The trail climbed up 2000ft first to Russian Lake, and then Waterdog Lake, which was still very calm at 9am.I meandered in an out of the Russian Wilderness as I traversed the ridge above the lakes. In Russian Wilderness, trail hikes you!At the end of the ridge was Siphon Lake, and I took a nice long Nutella break there.The trail had turned into a two-track when it reached an open meadow with views to the next ridge.The junction with the PCT was a little haphazardly signed.I turned off onto the Trail Creek trail, which dropped steeply down 2000ft to a campground. With picnic tables! Time for lunch.I also got too excited about the trash cans. I can lighten my pack and get rid of all the food wrappers from the last 4 days!After lunch, I followed a dirt road for a couple of miles to a trailhead. There was just one at parked there, not surprisingly a Subaru. And another Massachusetts export!I climbed back up 2000ft to a ridge above Fish Lake, and I could see snowy Mt Shasta in the distance.I think this was Long Gulch Lake.The trail quality was great all day, until right after I took this photo.I think the snowy mountain in the distance is Thompson Peak, a glaciated summit in the Trinity Alps.As I walked around Rush Lake, the trail meandered thru nice open meadows.I climbed my final ridge for the day, and on the other side of the ridge, the trail became much more obscure. I worked hard to follow it, using clues such as candlestick blazes, waterbars, switchbacks, and cut logs. It was just so covered in fallen sticks & branches.I did pretty well, and only lost the trail for 200m before I found it again. I got to a saddle/pass at 6pm, and decided it was a nice flat area to camp. There is a trail junction nearby, down to Lady Gulch. Today was 5500ft of elevation gain, tomorrow should be similar since I climb the highest point of the trail.

Thursday July 2, 22.0mi/35.4km

Abbott Lake trail jct (170.8/4840ft) to Meadow by South Russian Creek (192.8/5320ft) (CA)

I woke up later, it was perfect sleeping weather. I had a gradual downhill all morning, but of course it started with a river ford.

The trail was really well built and maintained, some places were impressive sidehill cuts.

And in the forest, it was smooth walkin’.

I forded the North Fork Salmon River like 4 more times. At many of the crossings, someone had kindly left walking sticks to assist with balance while crossing. I don’t use hiking poles, but I recognize their utility at river crossings.

As I went downstream, the river got deeper, with many great swimming holes.

Towards the end of the trail, they started providing bridges. Old and rusty, but my feet were dry!

I passed an old homestead just before the trailhead, all that’s left is the stone fence walls.

I left the Marble Mountain wilderness, and crossed the final bridge into the parking lot.

I had a long lunch at the trailhead, and enjoyed the picnic tables, trash cans, and bathrooms. I walked for awhile down a dirt road, and passed a campground.

With a payphone! These are more rare than bears or moose out here.

From there, I had a gradual 5 mile uphill roadwalk. It went by quickly, and both cars that passed me offered me a ride. I got to the trailhead after 4pm and took a break before entering the woods. The trail turned out to be surprisingly good!

I stopped to camp early at 6pm, since there is a 2000ft climb to a ridge and nowhere to camp until the top. Even though it was a 22mile day, it felt easy, probably because of the good trails and only 3700 feet elevation gain. The next two days look harder, since both involve a climb up a 7000+ foot tall peak.

Wednesday July 1, 19.9mi/32.0km

Ridge above Kelsey Creek (150.9/6490ft) to Abbott Lake trail jct (170.8/4840ft) (CA)

I slept great in my hidden little camp spot, and woke up when the rising sun came thru the trees. I packed up and was treated to this spectacular view from the trail.
Looking east:Looking south along the trail:

I could see Black Marble mountain up close now, I had been approaching it all afternoon yesterday.

There was even still some snow on the trail!

And some incredibly white rocks too.

Just before I left the PCT, I came across a cabin. I remember hiding from the rain on the porch of a similar cabin back in 2015, I think this was the same cabin.

At the junction, I left the PCT and hiked down towards Big Elk Lake.

I entered a burned forest, so of course the trail was hard to follow. But I saw these cool hollowed out trees.No keebler elves in that one!

I eventually made my way all the way down to Wooley Creek and had lunch.

I really wanted a swim, so I continued on a couple miles to where the trail crosses the river. I saw all sorts of interesting wildlife down here in this low, wet valley.

I went for a swim, rinsed my hiking clothes, and got some sun on a rock. I crossed the creek, carrying my shoes to keep them dry. I accidentally dropped one, and learned that (unfortunately) they float. It took off rapidly downstream, and I swam after it! I nabbed it quickly, close one! The rest of the day was uneventful, just a re-climb of the 4000 feet I had just descended this morning.

The trail was much nicer, and almost no poison oak! As I got higher, the views opened up again too.

The view from the ridgeline on top.

I descended down to the North Fork Salmon River and setup camp at 7pm. Long day!

Tuesday June 30, 19.1mi/30.7km

Grider Creek campground (131.8/1700ft) to Ridge above Kelsey Creek (150.9/6490ft) (CA)

I was up at 5:30 and hiking by 6am, I wanted to get most of the 5000ft climb done before it got hot. I crossed the first of many large metal bridges over Grider creek.

The trail started off pretty clear, with not much overgrowth and only a little poison oak.

I slowly climbed 1200 feet over 6 miles, crossing several more bridges.

I climbed up to 3000ft, took a break at a camping area. No poison oak up here! Just curious deer.

And then, the PCT… disappeared.

An hour of this hiking was very tedious, and I had to pay close attention. Finally, I hiked out of the burn area and the overgrowth.

I had lunch at a trailhead, and then entered the Marble Mountain wilderness!

Once I was up on the ridge, the views kept coming.

And fields of Mules Ear plants.

It was hard work to get up here to 7000ft, but it was worth it. The mountain in the far distance on the right still has a snow cornice on it!

The trail (which is also the PCT for this section) traveled thru some postcard worthy terrain.

The rock stairs were a nice addition.

The rocky ridge above looked fun to climb.

I started to see more fallen boulders with cool white rocks embedded in them.

I stopped to camp at 6pm, 12 hours after I began the day.

I was very tired, but my Bigfoot trail map says I only did 19.1 miles. Of course the huge elevation gain (6300ft) and rough trail slowed me down a bit, but it still seemed off. I checked my GPS app, and my Halfmile PCT app, both showed 21.2 miles.
Hmm…I’ll have to compare the other days mileages now.

Tomorrow, I leave the PCT and descend (and reascend) 4000ft. This trail is tough!

Monday June 29, 12.0mi/19.3km

Devils Peak Ridge/PCT (119.8/3600ft) to Grider Creek campground (131.8/1700ft) (CA)

I got an early start, excited for town food! The trail started off nice and clear.

But what should have been a quick 4 miles downhill took me almost 2 hours. The lower trail was overgrown and crawling with poison oak. Oh, and I came across two lost dogs.

The view of the Klamath River was cool.

Soon after I was at the trailhead, which had a handy map!

The half mile roadwalk into Seiad Valley was easy, and I walked directly to the only food service establishment in town.

As I was finishing breakfast, I noticed a woman setting up what appeared to be cooking equipment. I offered help to setup, and learned it was a BBQ food truck!

She is only in town Monday thru Wednesday, what luck! I went next door to the RV park to get a shower and laundry, it felt good to be clean again!

The post office opened at noon, and I grabbed my food box.

I supplemented it with some more calories from the attached general store. Yum

As I was packing up to leave, I met two PCT nobo thru-hikers. They are a month early, but they skipped the Sierras. Red was funny to talk to, and Why-Not had some unique clothing choices. They both complained how lonely the trail was this year, and ironically they have been less than a day apart for the last 500 miles, ha!

I walked out of town at 5pm to avoid the heat, it was all roadwalking, half paved and half dirt.

I got excited when I saw signs for cows, but I saw no cows.

I did however, surprise ANOTHER bear. Maybe I’m stealthy? This one ran up a nearby tree.

I arrived to the campground 15 minutes later.

It’s kindof abandoned and creepy feeling, but no zombies here. Just some very non-shy deer.

Tomorrow is a big 5000ft climb back up into the mountains!

Sunday June 28, 20.7mi/33.3km

Tarn at OR/CA border (99.1/5160ft) to Devils Peak Ridge/PCT (119.8/3600ft) (CA)

I woke up to an entirely different view of my tarn. So foggy!

It was also kinda cold, like 10C/50F, so I got moving quickly! Some of these trails have really bizarre names.

By 9am, the fog had lifted but it was still very cloudy and cold.

But the alpine wildflowers gave me something to look at.

And by late morning the sky was getting sunnier.

Another bizarre trail sign.

I passed by an unsigned junction, and out of curiosity I followed the side trail for a minute. Hidden pond!

Soon after, I descended to a very green valley called Cedar Basin.

I had lunch and dried out my tent in the open sunny meadow. I usually avoid camping near lakes because of the moisture problems, but last night I was too lazy to keep walking.

I climbed up to a ridgeline, and stayed there the rest of the day.

Why do trees do this? It looks so awkward!

The views from the ridge continued to impress, and I was up there for most of the afternoon.

I took a long break on a flat rocky shelf before the final climb over Rattlesnake mountain.

The ridge walk ended when I came to a junction with the PCT.

The Bigfoot trail overlaps with the PCT for 40 miles, so I will be going south on the PCT for the next couple of days. It was fun to be back on my first long trail. And the red rocks were neat.

I was excited to be on the PCT, as it generally has a reputation for being very well maintained. Well, not this section I guess…

The descent down into Seiad Valley is 4500ft down, and it looked steep. I did half of it today, and the rest tomorrow morning.

From my campsite I could see all the way down into Seiad Valley, 2000ft below.

Tomorrow is exciting, shower and hot food!

Saturday June 27, 23.0mi/37.0km

Poker Flat campground (76.1/5040ft) to Tarn at OR/CA border (99.1/5160ft) (CA)

It was a perfect morning for hiking, it was cooler and there was even a breeze, so much better than previous days. I followed a dirt road for a couple hours, it was nice to stretch the legs.I turned off onto an old logging road for a mile, which had some great views to the valley below.And then, the bushwhack started. I followed old flagging tape, and the first 0.1 miles took me 20 minutes. It was thick.Finally, I came to a rocky outcrop and was able to see what I had just come thru.It got better, as I followed the flagging tape thru a mature forest. But being described as a “rough trail” in the guide felt dishonest. After an hour beating thru the forest, I emerged on a paved road, the Bigfoot highway. It was getting hot, so I was glad to turn off onto a shaded dirt road quickly. I looked down and saw writing, yup I was now in Oregon!It was a nice three hours on the road, with only a couple cars and some amazing views.I forgot to get water at the Bigfoot highway, and when I got to the next creek it appeared dry. Oops. But, I could hear water, so I wandered downhill to this amazing little artesian well.Then the road ended, and I picked up a nice trail. I took a long break at Tannen Lake.This trail continued on, and merged with the Boundary Trail. I was loving the views as it wove around the ridgetops.I came to a junction, and got a little sad. Caves! Had I known, I could’ve planned for a detour. Oh well.The forest turned to fields, and they were full of beargrass.Bears love to eat it, which I remembered as I setup my tent at the edge of the field, next to a tarn.Hopefully no bears come down for a midnight snack, ha!

Friday June 26, 20.3mi/32.7km

West Fork Clear Creek (55.8/2800ft) to Poker Flat campground (76.1/5040ft) (CA)

I slept so well I didn’t even get up until sunlight hit me at 7am. I was hiking by 7:30, and after a mile the trail got much better.

I left the west fork of clear Creek, and turned off onto a trail that followed clear Creek upstream to its headwaters. I had to cross it twice, the water was warm but moving fast!

I met a family hiking on a weekend trip, I was as surprised to see other people as they were!

I chatted with Spider, Rocky, and Slow Lores for awhile, and they mentioned yesterday they met another hiker doing the Bigfoot trail! Crazy, I think there’s probably only a dozen people who do this every year, and I’m only a day behind one of them.

I stopped for lunch an hour later, at the final crossing of Clear Creek.

I went thru Young’s meadow, it was so green! Living in Colorado I forgot about the lush greenery of lowlands.

I hiked up to a saddle, which had a great view north into the Illinois river valley.

I was up on a cool ridge for awhile, which had these trees with huge cones. I bet they hurt when falling.

I dropped down off the ridge, into another valley. The mountains above it were called the Lieutenants.

I climbed another ridge, and then dropped steeply into some meadows around Twin Valley Creek.

The classic cairn photo. It’s more fun to navigate with stones than iphones.

The last climb if the day I saw some very old trees, I don’t know their species.

The Bigfoot trail maps/guide has a list of the 32 species of conifers, but no set of photos. For us non-arborists, photos would be very helpful. So far I’ve just been guessing!

I got to camp at 6:30pm, much earlier than yesterday. Probably because today was “only” 5400ft of elevation gain. My feet feel swollen, hopefully sleeping and ibuprofen help.