Day 72: Etna, CA to Paradise Lake (29.2 miles - 1626.5)
Updated: Sep 16, 2019
July 18, 2016 - Tried to sleep in again as I knew I would have to wait until late to get a hitch back to trail but still woke up at 6am. I finished off my cereal and milk and got my stuff together. 2 others were heading back as well so we went to the road at 7am. Tried for an hour and no luck. By 8am the owner of the B&B called her friend and he took us to the trail.
Got a later start than I would have liked so I knew I couldn’t get to the campsite 34 miles down trail so I just decided on the 29 mile one.
Looking at the profile map I could tell it would be an easy day as it looked pretty flat. However it started off kind of rocky so those first few miles were a little rough but slowly the rocks went away and became a more level trail as I entered the Marble Mountain Wilderness.
Right before lunch I came across a group riding horses. I had seen many horse dropping throughout the trail but this was the first time I’ve seen actual horses on the trail. The group was adding fish to the upper mountain lakes. They let me pass them so I could keep hiking at my pace.
Soon I stopped for water and by then the horse group caught up. I hurried up collecting water so I could stay ahead. There was a split in the trail and the sign pointed one way for the PCT so I took it without checking my map as I normally do but my hands were taken carrying water. I was in such a rush I didn’t even filter the water as I would do that once I stopped for lunch just short hike up the trail and out of the horse’s path. I then get to another split and again a sign pointing for the PCT so I had to be on trail. The horse group took the other trail and I ate my lunch. While eating I decided to see how much farther I had to go so I pulled out my phone and checked my app. It said I was 0.30 away from the trail. I checked my map and it appeared I went on an old PCT trail and it looked to reconnect later, I didn’t want to go back down so after eating I stayed on the trail. After a scary snow section I finally found my way back to the PCT.
The rest of the day was easy as I headed towards Paradise Lake. On the way down I passed by Marble Mountain, very cool looking.
I got to Paradise Lake around 8pm which was enough time to set up camp and eat dinner before sunset.