We had a big day planned for today, 23 miles would set us up to get into Seiad Valley at a reasonable time and serve as Marissa’s biggest day of the trip. We need to get into Seiad Valley before 1pm if we are going to have a meal at the cafe, which closes at 2pm. It would also be ideal for my parents to get out of town by 3pm or so since my dad has to work and I believe it is a roughly 4 hour drive back to their place in Shasta Lake city.
The day started with a little up and down in elevation, nothing too crazy. We had enough water to go 10 miles based on the water report we had seen saying there wasn’t anything good on trail within that distance. We did cross a creek before the Marble Valley Cabin (locked), after 5.5 miles, that was flowing well enough for us to grab a bit of extra water to mix up and drink some Vitalyte as we took our first break. We then hiked another 5 miles to Paradise Lake for lunch. This was a bit of a misnomer as the lake was green and shallow and not very suitable for swimming. There was a nice little inflow stream that was perfect for getting our water at though.
After lunch, which wasn’t our usual hour to hour and a half nap and rest but more of a chow and sit, we were back on the trail to go another 5.5 miles to Buckhorn Spring. We had another short sit here before going down to the spring itself to fill our water yet again. From here we had 7 miles to go to reach our 23 mile benchmark. We hiked 3 to an unpaved road for our final quick break of the day before tackling the remaining 4 miles to our camp by Cold Spring Creek. We arrived at our camp just before 8pm making for a 23 mile hike in a 12 hour day.
Tomorrow, we have just 14.3 miles to reach Seiad Valley. We are hoping to get out of camp by 7am instead of our usual time of 8am in order to give us an extra hour to get in before the cafe closes at 2pm. Fortunately, the trail is all downhill or flat (we dropped about 3000 feet total today and have another 1500 or so to drop down into town) so we should be able to make good time as we head towards my parents and the cafe.