“The heat in the summer time is 110. As well hot for the devil, also hot for guys.” -Johnny Money
According to locals yesterday the temp did attain 110 in Oroville. When we walked into town now it cooled a bit, hovering about 100. Joy.
Eleven days and seemingly a lifetime ago we began out of Northport, WA, in section 4 of the Pacific Northwest Trail. Currently at that point we knew heat would be the name of the game for the subsequent two weeks. Early begins and siestas have been in, the damp cold rain of the initial 3 weeks of our hike have been out.
On leading of the heat out of Northport we faced a daunting 40ish miles of road walking to start off the section. Most of these are forest roads. Lightly traveled and pretty shaded.
When we got to the start off of the trail we have been greeted with a good stretch of blowdowns (yay) and a burned region.
It was about this time that the road walking and the heat have been beginning to play tricks on our minds when we study a passage from Tim Youngblueth’s PNT guidebook that deviously described that at this point “one could stroll from right here into Republic in about 15 miles. But our trail continues southward.” Of course at this point I couldn’t aid but believe of the glories of town: AC, sheets, pizza, cold beers. How several thru-hikers have followed the Sirens’ contact down that road? A handful of miles and a lot climbing later I envisioned all the thru-hikers enjoying mentioned comforts. Curse you, Tim! Then I saw some bootprints and realized it is just the heat (most likely).
Oh, and water? Yeah, this is how we get it. Gone are the operating streams now we get to share water out of cattle troughs and (in some cases) flowing springs.
Nonetheless, as Tim foreshadowed, quickly following the trail did get improved. Wildflowers, ridge walking, and views.
Then a canyon to stroll as we rounded out the south side of the loop about Republic.
Republic itself is a true treat of a town. Almost everything inside a handful of blocks, excellent pizza, excellent brewery, and the neighborhood trail angel is the postmaster (ie, you can get packages on the weekend if you ask good).
Following Republic we entered section 5 and the trees became extra sparse and the temps got even hotter. We’re speaking close to 100.
An epic climb up Bonaparte Mountain led us to the only manned lookout tower on the PNT.
Shortly afterward we got to the Havillah church that welcomes hikers. We got to use the kitchen for cooking and there was a fridge stocked with meals for us. Most importantly, it provided shade from the relentless sun.
The final morning as we dropped down in elevation to get to Oroville the sun beat down and the air was complete of smoke from a fire in Canada. But we have been greeted by the friendliest hotel on the PNT!
A single extra extended, hot road stroll to go and then the cooler temps and views of the Pasayten Wilderness await.
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