Mile 1572 to 1597, 25 miles
Cost: camped at Etna park, free
We got up before the sunrise today as we were eager to make it into Etna at a reasonable time – we’d heard there was a brewery with good burgers and a restaurant with good pies!
Just before midday we had a wonderful surprise. Jeff who had hosted us in Shasta was on a 3 day hike going southbound and we passed him on the trail carrying a huge packet of Oreo biscuits 🙂 He’s out here training for the AT and testing all of his gear. We chatted for a while and ate lots of Oreos, then wished each other well. I should’ve taken a photo!
We were worried about how long it would take to get a ride because the road was very quiet but within minutes of arriving a car stopped and asked us if we needed a lift. Tom was the driver and he’s been out in the area searching for gold by diving in the lakes, apparently there’s still quite a bit of gold to be found. Poor KC was in the middle (in the front next to Tom) and sitting on his gear stick all the way down the windy mountain road to Etna. This made it a very interesting and a little scary ride each time we came to a hairpin corner as Tom wasn’t able to change the gears as much as I think we all would’ve liked!
Tom had never stopped in Etna before but had driven through it a lot and we saw how easy this would be to do as we entered the town and it appeared to be like a ghost town with boarded up shops and restaurants. There was supposed to be a hotel but we were struggling to see how such a tiny town could have one.
We saw a sign to the brewery and Tom dropped us off in front, thanks Tom. At the brewery we both bought the flight of beers and a burger – the burger was probably the best one of the trail so far. The blackberry blonde beer was also very good and the Aussie lady serving us was a brilliant waitress.
I had a wonderful surprise at the brewery when Smokey walked in with his wife. I hadn’t seen Smokey since Kennedy Meadows almost 900 miles ago! It was wonderful to catch up and I hope we can meet each other on the trail again.
We eventually left the brewery (having decided we would stay the night rather than trying to get back to the trail) and went to the supermarket to buy some extra supplies. KC, Tapatio and I decided to try and get a room at the hotel but when we got there at 9:15pm we saw a sign out the front saying No Vacancy, oh no! The owner of the hotel told us we could stay in the park and gave us directions… It wasn’t quite the bed, pillows and showers that we were hoping for however the park was excellent!! When we got there in the dark, we met Nightshift, Copenhagen and Trailbride who were cowboy camping under an annex but not just any annex – there were power points on each pillar to charge electronics! There was a toilet block with toilet paper, hand soap and paper towels, faucets, rubbish bins… Everything a hiker needs!!
We laid out our mats and sleeping bags to cowboy camp under the annex too and were woken around 11pm by some drunk kids standing over us wanting to take selfies with their mobile phones… Apart from this I had a good night’s sleep!
These photos were taken in daylight the next day: