On the 28th of July I found myself suddenly out of the sunny mountains and walking into a fog enshrouded tsunami hazard zone. My hike ended when my feet left pavement and sunk into the sand of the beach in Crescent City, and soon there after were dipped into the icy Pacific Ocean. There was something magical about ending a hike at the edge of the Pacific!
The last day of the Bigfoot Trail revealed four final tree species, Redwoods, Red Cedar, Grand Fir, and Sitka Spruce within the last 15 miles. The morning walk through the Little Bald Hills was a review of many of the conifers I had met throughout the hike: Knobcone Pine, Jeffery Pine, Douglas Fir, Common Juniper, and Port Ortford Cedar to name a few. Day 20 turned out to be a fantastic grand finale to a wonderful thru-hike.
My time on the Bigfoot Trail was mostly bliss tinged with moments of misery in just the right amount to make it a solid adventure. Thru-hiking is never a cake walk, and I probably wouldn’t love it so much if there weren’t challenges like getting lost on overgrown trail or dealing with my ever present sole pain (sore & bruised feet). I loved the rugged, remote, and awe inspiring terrain of this route. There was never a dull moment, even the roadwalks were entertaining with their unique emerald triangle road trash and spectacular scenery.
Swimming was possible almost daily, and some of the swimming holes were in the top 10 pools of my life (check out the Stewart Fork of the Trinity and the North Fork of the Salmon!!). Discovering trees at each new mountain range helped ease the pain of the many thousands of feet of elevation gain and loss over relatively short distances. I carried Michael Kauffmann’s Conifers of the Pacific Slope which proved to be a great travel companion in this diverse region, and helped me begin to see the forest for the trees.
The length (just under 400 miles) made the BFT a perfect summer vacation hike. I enjoyed getting to know this ignored and wild corner of California and Southern Oregon (the State of Jefferson), and know I will be back to play in these rivers, climb these peaks, shwack through the poison oak and relentless scrub, and wander these trails again.
Over the next few months I hope to post my journal entries here on the blog. This winter I will revamp the map set that Melissa “Treehugger” Spencer and I created and will be working with Michael Kauffmann to make sure the maps compliment his BFT guidebook. I apologize for the delay in getting these adventure notes out to you all, but it’s summer time and I have some living it up to do before returning to work this fall. Happy Trails!!