Day 91: Down to Belden, Up through Hell

July 14, 2017: Hiked Miles 1273.8 to 1295.1 (21.3 total)

It was a pleasant morning to wake up to the sound of the creek and the feel of the cool summer mountain air.

I started breakfast while Colton ran off to use the bathroom, aka a hole in the dirt, and he came back a few minutes later pissed off saying he had went to dig a hole and stuck the trowel right into someone else’s covered-up hole and got poop all over it. I thought this was the funniest thing and started dying laughing. He didn’t think it was so funny and took the trowel over to the creek to clean it off. It stopped being funny when I remembered that I’m the one who carries the trowel all day. 

After that, we finished breakfast. My peanut butter didn’t look as appetizing anymore, but when you’re starving it doesn’t really matter. 

We started hiking around 8:00 and had a nice pretty morning hiking across the top of the mountain we camped on and enjoying each other’s company. 

A lot of times we are working too hard to talk while we hike, but sometimes the trail is easy and we get to talk about life, our dreams, and pretty much everything else we could possibly talk about. And it’s just really enjoyable. I can’t think of another thing in the world I would enjoy more than spending a gorgeous morning hiking through the mountains and talking with someone I love. 

We passed through some pretty flower fields. 

Sometimes you have to stop and smell the roses. 

I’m trying really hard to be serious. Not quite working. 

We popped out in a clearing and wandered along the ridge for a bit. The sky was pretty hazy to the west from all the fires. 

We were excited to have views all around us. 

And could even see Lassen Peak way to our north. 

I found some interesting new flowers I hadn’t seen before. 

And then we started our long 4000 foot drop into Belden. The trail was switchback after switchback. 

Going down is so hard for me mentally because I don’t have anything on the trail to think about. So I write lots of imaginary stories in my head and think about all the great food I want to cook and places I want to go someday.

We saw two rattlesnakes on the way down within about 30 feet of each other. That got Colton running away like a little girl. 

We saw a bunch of deer that bounded away down the steep slopes like it was nothing.

I wish I could run like them.

Towards the end of our descent, we passed this sign:

Getting closer. 

At the bottom we crossed some railroad tracks. 

And then walked through Belden Town. 

A weird little place with one store/restaurant, a bunch of RV’s and little cottages, and some interesting decor. I’ve heard a few different people say it can be a creepy town and we didn’t feel like stopping for lunch, so we just passed through.
We crossed over the Feather River and started climbing right back up the other side of the canyon. 

No jumping, that’s no fun!

When I looked back at Belden and instantly started sweating, I started to think a burger, a drink, and a dip in the river didn’t sound too bad anymore. 

But I knew if we stopped for lunch our stomachs would probably regret it later when we had to climb out of the canyon in the heat.

We passed by this cool old stamp mill:

And then found a few good blackberries to snack on. 

We hiked along Highway 70 and the Feather River for a bit. 

 And the hotter we got, the better the river looked. 

Our climb was steep and we weren’t wasting any time getting up the hill. 

 I was practically running trying to keep up with Colton and he said he was going as fast as he could just to stay ahead of me. I guess, we motivate each other well. Teamwork!

After four miles of climbing we were drenched in sweat and poured cup after cup of water over us when we reached a stream. You know your body is hot when cold mountain water doesn’t cool you down. All the sudden a dog ran up to us and went straight for the stream. 

His owner followed him down and told us they were section hiking the trail and that the dog was a search and rescue dog. And he was a rescued dog too. I was pretty impressed and think it would be neat to train a search and rescue dog someday. 

We kept hiking up into the hills and lucked out with the sky becoming a bit overcast. 

We finally stopped for lunch when we found a creek with a little room to sit down. 

Maybe not the best creek to stop at.

Colton didn’t waste any time eating. 

We chugged water and electrolytes and loaded up on food so that we could keep on climbing. 

We were excited to enter into Lassen National Forest, not only because it means we’re getting closer to home, but especially when we realized that exactly one year ago today we had climbed Lassen Peak together, not long after we started dating. 

The climb was steep but we were cruising like it was nothing. Food is fuel. 

We passed over a bunch of pretty creeks. 

I wish all our creek crossings on the trail had been this easy:

The trail was less exposed with helped with the heat.

But Colton still ended up getting a pretty bad headache. We stopped for a few minutes to chug water and for him to take some ibuprofen and then pushed on our last couple miles to camp.

But not before passing these animal remains right on the trail. 

Looked like a pretty recent kill too.

We made it to camp which thankfully had a stream nearby, set up, chugged water, and ate dinner. Luckily we packed an extra dinner because Colton was starving and ate two meals. Hopefully his Top Ramen still help replace all the sodium he sweated out today. 

He passed out fairly quickly since his head was still killing him, but I surprisingly wasn’t tired so I stayed up and updated my blogs since I finally have service for once. And of course I was starving an hour after being stuffed from dinner so I snacked on some peanut butter and Reeses Pieces.  

We have a clear view of the stars again tonight and only a three mile climb to the top of this mountain in the morning which we can knock out while it’s nice and cool. Although I have to admit, I really loved the hard, ridiculously hot climb we had today. I excel in hot weather and love pushing my body to the max and it just felt so good to push so hard today, sweat like crazy, and feel my legs burn. That’s part of the reason I decided to hike the PCT is to seriously kick my own butt and I love when I feel like I am. Although I’m sure my legs won’t be loving it in the morning. 


3 thoughts on “Day 91: Down to Belden, Up through Hell

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