The trail continued its way down hill towards Seiad Valley, though the previous evening we had completed much of the steep section of descent. It was a bush-wack job, forcing our way through overgrown plants while dodging poison oak growing amongst it all. As the gradient steadied out, we passed Grider Campground and began the 7 mile road walk. Road walks suck, but this time there were ripe bushes of blackberries everywhere, their sweet fruit providing the first on trail treats of the season.
It was a long walk before we reached Seiad Valley itself, but we were stoked to arrive at the famed cafe before midday having already done 14 miles. Milkshakes and sandwiches filled the midday hours before we packed up and decided to take on the immense Devils Climb – a 5000 ft elevation gain over 8 miles. The heat was nailing us as we went, sweat soaked our clothes and shade became rare as we walked the steep trail through burn areas and shrubland.
A cool spring near the top provided the only water, but we had each packed a Gatorade knowing we would need the hydration. Along with many others, we had a long break beyond the steepest section before nailing the last 800 ft gain. It then graded out nicely, winding around valley bowls and down towards a lush meadow within which we camped.