Republic x 3 to Oroville

Cumulative miles hiked: 381.8

Took a zero in Omak. On the way there we passed the sage fire near Tonasket, driving by as a plane dropped retardant, helicopters were sling loading water buckets and multiple fire departments had their trucks and fire fighters mobilized.. Because of Covid, Dan’s birthday dinner was a takeout tuna salad sandwich from Subway. The next day we visited Rockwall Winery, a lovely building amongst fruit trees.

7/30 We drove back through Republic to where trail started uphill from a little campground on Hwy 21. Talked with a guy who had been car camping there for a week and headed up the trail. After a couple miles it joined a gravel road for the rest of the day. I picked up 3 liters of water and carried them until I found a campsite past a junction above the road. A few cars passed by, invisible.

7/31 Fun morning, easy walking on the road, 12 miles in 4 hours! I saw One Gallon’s footprints ahead in the dust. About an hour into the morning, I took a water break in the shade and saw Gasket behind me. We walked and talked the rest of the way to Highway 20 where Dan soon arrived in the van. One of the things I love about hiking is getting to know people I’d never get to talk with in real life, about real stuff, deeply revealing. Gasket is awesome. We all donned our masks for the drive to breakfast at the Knotty Pine in Republic. Then we gave Gasket and One Gallon a ride back to the trail angel Artie’s where everybody has been staying, off and on, since there are 3 different road crossings, all leading to Republic. Goose and Cruise were there, Goose is recovering from a nasty rash and GI trouble, but he’s looking much recovered!

Dan took me back to trail after our breakfast break in Republic. The rest are staying another night in Republic. The hike out was uphill on trail, hot of course, but not a road walk. I managed another 5 miles for a 17 mile day. No place to camp but I managed another creative pitch with a view to the west and settled in.

8/1 So there were numerous comments about the creepiness of the private property signs where the trail joined some roads. Skulls on fences, the typical signs telling me trespassers would be shot twice, junk yards of rotting cars, etc. I heard a dog barking way in the distance but the only one I saw was a bird dog taking herself for a walk. She glanced at me and continued down to her house. No dogs at the numerous private properties tells me nobody is home. I wouldn’t live out here without a dog early warning system in place, just saying. The property owners can’t shoot trespassers if they’re not here to shoot them.

It was hot today as I hiked from trail to gravel to paved to gravel. I pretty much hated this trail today. Stupid route, at one spot, the “primary” turned off perfectly good gravel to an abandoned (remember that means blowdown covered formerly-known- as road) so I looked at a map and kept going a few hundred yards to a dirt road, cleared, shorter, no traffic, that joined back up with the main road. Good choice!

I walked into the Bonaparte Lake campground to where the van was! It didn’t cool off till 8:45 and I still had to eat freeze dried dinner but the company was good. Really nice spot Dan got away from the crowds. And I like this place, kids laughing as they swim and paddle around, largish people walking along the campground road getting their exercise, just a good vibe.

8/2 I walked through the campground to the trailhead. It was good trail to the Bonaparte Lookout alternate. I’ve been excited to see this place. The historic lookout was built in 1914, and the new lookout is staffed, one of the very few still in operation. It was a lot of uphill (duh, lookouts have to be on top of something) but I made it by 12:30. I spent quite a bit of time talking with lookout Jim Watkins, really enjoyable and interesting.

Finally I went back down the trail and eventually joined a nice soft road with Nordic ski trail signs. I had enough water and debated with myself for hours about whether to camp early up in the forest or to continue to Havillah and camp on the church grounds with access to water and a bathroom, I’d get there around dinner time. I’m the only hiker in the area so it’d just be me there. Lookout Jim assured me that Covid wouldn’t stop the church people from being trail angels.

The soft road turned to gravel and cow-calf country. I’m not camping with cows if I can help it, people on foot freak them out, plus—cow pies. And now there are barbed wire fences and cars so no camping. I got to the junction for Havillah, and a sign saying the church (a beautiful white steepled structure a quarter mile ahead) was “Closed to PNT hikers due to Covid concerns.” It was 5:30 and I am now between barbed wire protecting the creek to my left and private property on my right. I freaked out a bit but kept going, knowing it was another 6 miles of gravel road to public land. It was hot, I was tired and hungry and the prosperous looking mini ranches and pastures pissed me off. I face up belly scooted under the fence and got camping water from the creek below and continued another hour, grumbling. And then a dip in the road, mashed down fence to my left and Ponderosa pine and sage brush, not pasture. Whatever a private wildlife refuge is, there couldn’t be anything menacing left in it with a mashed down fence. I camped out of sight of the road in the heavenly smelling sage. So much for Jim reassuring me the church would not close to hikers. Oops, maybe the trail angels in Republic knew, my bad.

8/3 The 19 miles to US 97 outside Oroville took me till 2pm, not a bad day! Gravel to dirt road to trail, almost all downhill although the heat was intense. And there was Dan looking up the trail for me! Dinner at the Oroville Brewery was outstanding—the best coleslaw I’ve ever had. Clyde at the Camaray Motel was very welcoming and gave us the hiker rate and free laundry.

8/4 Zero! Visited Esther’s local winery and the lake park, drove up the “trail” in 100 degree heat, saw One Gallon using the WiFi in front of the library, and got to pet the town cat, who was walking down the sidewalk behind a random couple while proudly carrying a dead mouse. Take out pizza for dinner.

3 thoughts on “Republic x 3 to Oroville

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