Little cub Spring – Belden 29 miles. 3648ft up. 7617ft down.
I had an excellent nights sleep, I was expecting everything to be wet, either with rain or condensation, when I woke up but it was a pleasant surprise to find everything completely dry!
I asked Catwater if she had heard the noises in the night, she did, and she pointed out that the noises we short and isolated so it could be stuff falling from the trees. Good point.
It was dry and clear but it was cold. The wind was cold. So I started the day with my vest and waterproofs on. My pack was still wet and the waterproof protected my clothes from getting wet and gave the waterproofs a chance to dry out properly.
We stayed in the shade for a long time, so I was glad of the layers. The sky looked beautiful as the sun came up. As I hike I realise that although I love avocados they don’t seem to like me. With the return of the avocados comes the return of the wind. It feels like there is no one out here so I have become a bit lax with releasing the wind and not bothering to check if anyone is around before having a wee, so when someone came up behind me I was a bit shocked and I tried to remember whether I had recently farted or not.
It was a southbounder called Kangaroo. He started earlier than me but had taken a week off trail to see his girlfriend. He went straight by me but we ended up hiking at the same speed so we chatted for a while. He is carrying a teddy bear which his girlfriend gave him, I would have suggested something smaller, but hike your own hike as they say!
I stayed with him for a couple of miles but I stopped to delayer and he carried on. Later on I see a guy coming up behind me and I ask if he’s a southbounder. It was Kangaroo and he says ‘yeah we spoke this morning’. In my defence, he looked totally different, he had taken off the green jacket and trousers and was now wearing a grey top and shorts. I had only seen his face for about 2 seconds and spent the whole time looking at his backpack. Even so, I was a bit embarrassed! I didn’t realise I had passed him, but he said he was tucked away in the trees.
Eventually I was able to take all my layers off but the wind was still chilly. I made it 10 miles to the next water where there were a couple of horses hanging out and a bunch of RVs, I got water from the spring and sat with Catwater and ate some snacks. It was getting really cold so I layered up again and we got moving.
The trail was supposed to be mostly downhill today but there seemed to be just as much up, thankfully it was rolling up and down rather than giant ascents and descents. I got into a bit of a rhythm and I speedily did the next 9 miles to the next water source. The trail opened out a bit and we got out of the trees for a while where it warmed up enough to delayer, although the clouds were starting to gather and look a bit black so we were concerned about a repeat of yesterday. But the clouds cleared throughout the afternoon.
I got a bit of cell service along the ridge and I got some lovely messages from people, I really do enjoy hearing from you all (a lot of the time I’m stood on a windy ridge or still walking while I’m looking at my phone – taking my life in my hands – so I don’t always get the chance to reply, but I read every message). Walking and looking at your phone is quite a skill!
The trail got pretty rocky and soon I had to concentrate on what I was doing. I made it to the stream without breaking anything and waited for Catwater. It was here we needed to decide how far we were going to go. All the way to Belden, a 29 mile day, or just 3 more miles to the last campsite before Belden. It was only 2pm so we decided to push on to Belden. And the promise of a burger also helped our decision!
The 10 miles of trail was rocky and mostly down with a few annoying bits of up thrown in. I plugged myself into my music and making sure Catwater was far enough behind me to not hear me I sang out loud. I was doing a rather exuberant version on ‘I’m looking at the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways…’ Which involved a lot of arm movements and I plunge my hand into a thistle which was super painful. After that I kept the actions to a minimum but carried on with the singing. Singing out loud is good for the soul.
As I descended into the valley it got very windy, as the feather river came into sight I could see white horses on the water. I could see the ‘town’ of Belden from up high on the ridge. Belden is not a town. It contains 2 maybe 3 buildings!
With only 2 miles left to go I see Ninja Tortoise coming towards me. I remind him of our first meeting as I was heading north to Harts pass and asked him about his accident. He fell on some snow somewhere in glacier peak wilderness I think and he said something about damaging his shoulder. So he is now heading north instead. We chatted for a while but I think maybe he had a bump on the head when he fell as well as a damaged shoulder.
A talented bear?!…
I wait for Catwater at the road, she is only 5 minutes behind me and me head to the ‘resort’. It’s a much different scene than last year when there was a big July 4th party going on. It’s much more serene today but it’s still a bizarre little place. We go straight to the bar and order drinks and burgers. It was a good burger and I ate like I hadn’t eaten for weeks. I felt like I hadn’t eaten for weeks, when in reality it had only really been 2 days since my last real food! Oh well, get it when you can! It was Catwaters biggest miles so far so we had to celebrate!
Catwater decided to get a room, so I joined her. She is a fancy hiker! So I got the luxury of a bed and a shower! Had I been on my own I would have been camping, but I’m not stupid, I know a treat when I see one!!
I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Donate here.