CA PCT 2018

Belden to Sierra City

June 7

Looking at our map and talking to NOBO hikers we knew that our hike today was going to be a steep uphill with about a 5000 foot elevation gain over 7 miles. It was also going to be on the warm side.  With that in mind we knew that an early morning start was necessary.  Up at 4:30 and on the trail by 5:30. The trail true to form was steadily up with no water. Our packs with full water and a full supply of food were heavy. Using a steady pace we eventually hiked out of the forests and were greeted with spectacular views. 

 At one point of the trail we could look down towards the valley that we had climbed out of. It never ceases to amaze us of how quickly it seems that we get to the top.

At one point of the trail we could look down towards the valley that we had climbed out of. It never ceases to amaze us of how quickly it seems that we get to the top.

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This spring was a welcomed sight and we quickly filled our drinking bottles with cold good tasting water.

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After our initial long upward climb, the trail seemed to be that of many ups followed by many downs. We again pass by flowers in their peak. We are naming this trip the wildflower tour.

 One of may favorites Forget-Me-Nots

One of may favorites Forget-Me-Nots

 Phlox

Phlox

We catch up to Out of The Blue and after a break at a stream, we make a plan to meet at a campsite that someone has commented on. This is a site with an amazing view! (so they say) The trail continues on with view of lakes and trails thru the forests.

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Since we have a planned destination, today is more of a saunter as we enjoy the trail.  We meet several hikers and learn of their adventures. When we get to our planned destination, the view is lacking.  It is just a site among trees for about 5 tents. In fact Out of the Blue who arrived before us had gone further to see if there was a better place to set up camp. There wasn't any nearby so he had returned and waited for us. Meanwhile Hollywood who we had met at Chester showed up. His knee was feeling a little better, but he had dropped his mileage. After we had dinner and had gotten into our tent, another hiker showed up at the camp. It was Uphill who we had met over a month earlier. He was going NOBO and told us of the challenges he had faced with the snow to the south of us.  He was quite animated with his stories. We would not be hiking in that area for another 10 days so were pretty sure that we would have less snow to deal with, but we have learned to go with the flow.

Miles hiked 17

June 8

Since we had gained so much elevation yesterday, it would have been nice to stay high, but that was not the case. The views up high did not disappoint.

 But....

But....

Soon the trail was a gradual downhill and then parts of it were rather steep. This is the first time that my legs and knees rebelled! By the time we finally made it to the bottom. I was glad that there was a stream to soak them in. On the way to camp we met several hikers who had gone thru the  sierras. As usual it was good to talk about their experience. 

 An elephant tree

An elephant tree

As we were hiking thru the woods, we saw  Out of The Blue pointing at the trail. As we approached we saw what he was pointing to. A young fawn was lying in the middle of the trail.

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He said that there were two fawns in the middle of the trail, the one lying there just fell down and the other one had gone over the edge. The one that had gone over the edge was not able to get back up. Don took off his pack and stepped down to see if he could assist the fawn. He literally had to pick it up and put it on the trail.

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Once it was on the trail, it wobbled down the trail. The one on the trail stayed there. The doe was never seen. Not wanting to disturb them anymore we departed.

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Later when we were camped several more hikers showed up. They had not seen the fawns so we hoped that they had reunited with their mother and were not any worse for the human encounter. We have seen numerous deer in this section and they do not appear to be wary of humans. We ended up camping with Hollywood, River, Four eyes and Prince. It seems that our mileage is similar.  They start later, hike faster, and take more breaks, but in the end our steady pace seems to equal their mileage, Just as it was getting dark, another hiker that we had met in the dessert section walked into camp. It was Soda. We had not seen him for over a month. He looked at least 20 pounds lighter and was quite tired. His stories of the hike thru the Sierras kept us on edge for quite sometime. We are quite glad that we are chasing wild flowers and not snow stories. The saying on the trail goes HYOY. Hike Your Own Hike!

Miles hiked 20

June 9

I was glad to wake up with my body mostly recovered from the downhill hike yesterday. We spotted these two centipedes in an embrace. There was lots of intertwining of their legs.

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Today was mostly a walk thru forests. Often touching the bark of giants!

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We are often amazed at the terrain we hike thru. It has been so varied.

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Today our discussion was about the height of the moss on the trees.

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Coming towards us today was a familiar hiker. SuperVegan. We had met him in the dessert section and had camped together. He takes a selfie every mile. We happened to be at a mile mark so did a selfie with him. He is only hiking NOBO miles. He has skipped some snow sections, but will return and hike them in a north direction. After exchanging beta about the trail encountered, we said our good byes not knowing if our paths will cross again.  Four Eyes and River were having lunch at a spring so we stopped to get water and take a break. As we were eating along comes Spikes and Snacks. We had hiked with Spikes for several days in April so once again it was fun to reconnect. She has a deadline to get to Canada so they have been pushing the miles. They also had some epic stories of the Sierras. Our decision to hike the sierras in July looks great to us. We have been hiking with River for several miles and when we cross a paved road together, a woman runs towards us saying Trail Magic, Trail Magic! Hearing those words finds us quickly moving towards  a parked car. This was quite unexpected as the herd of hikers is far behind us. Most folks doing trail magic try to time magic for when they can serve more hikers.

 This couple whose son is hiking the trail this year had brought their grandsons to this trailhead in hopes of seeing some hikers. In their car was soda, chips, fruit and warm banana bread. They plan on returning here over the 4th of July and cooking breakfast for any hikers who are passing thru.

This couple whose son is hiking the trail this year had brought their grandsons to this trailhead in hopes of seeing some hikers. In their car was soda, chips, fruit and warm banana bread. They plan on returning here over the 4th of July and cooking breakfast for any hikers who are passing thru.

 Even a forest service personal stopped by to say Hi. It was a nice break with good conversation. I have a feeling that we were the only hikers that day, but we sure appreciated their hospitality.

Even a forest service personal stopped by to say Hi. It was a nice break with good conversation. I have a feeling that we were the only hikers that day, but we sure appreciated their hospitality.

With temperatures dropping and the wind picking up we needed to be back on the trail. There was even a threat of rain. We came out of the forests and hiked towards a very windy ridge.

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This would have been a great opportunity to stop for a view break, but the weather did not allow. Don had put on most of his warm clothes. We were glad when the trail turned downward and we were back into the woods.

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If possible we like to camp near water, but often we find ourselves dry camping. Tonight, however, we plan to meet Out of the Blue at a water source. Since we stopped for Trail Magic we are hiking later than usual and got to camp right before dusk. Four Eyes, River, Hollywood and Prince are there. We have brought some banana bread to our friends and smiles abound. The great sound of running water lulls us to sleep.

Miles hiked 23

June 11

Our day began early, before the sunrise. After cooking breakfast in the dark, we left camp with Out of the Blue. Our other hiking friends were sleeping soundly in their tents. The trail started off with a gentle climb. That didn't last long as the trail steepened and we were soon making our way up a rocky path.

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As we reached the top we were greeted with mountain views.

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There was still snow along the trail, so the flowers hadn't made themselves known. Our eyes appreciated seeing several cup fungus along the path.

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Even though the air was cool, hiking uphill provided warmth for the body.

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We started hiking thru snow as we got closer to the top. Fortunately we were able to make our way around most of the snow slopes. Several weeks earlier thought the snow would have slowed us down considerably.  Eventually we made it to more southern exposed slopes and were glad to see the flowers starting to shoot upwards.

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 It won't be long till this path will be surrounded with sunflowers.

It won't be long till this path will be surrounded with sunflowers.

It was time to stop for lunch at a scenic overlook. River joined us as we fueled our bodies with food. Our other hiker friends had passed us earlier as they easily out pace us.

 This area is living up to its reputation as being quite scenic.

This area is living up to its reputation as being quite scenic.

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After lunch the trail took on a new character. There was a major re route that hadn't been exactly maintained. Part of the trail was down a rocky stream bed. In fact several times we were not sure that we were on trail. Eventually though we did make it to a more obvious trail. a hiker going NOBO passed on a message that Out of the Blue was hoping to meet us at Tamarack Lake. The last couple of miles seemed to go on and on. A new path around a lake was barely visible as we worked our way to the lake.  A sign's description said trail work in progress so someday it will be a hardened trail. The destination was worth the effort. It was a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains with waterfalls. It was a quick dinner followed by quickly getting into our sleeping bags and enjoying being lulled to sleep with the sound of water. Tomorrow our destination is Sierra City where we are hoping our next food resupply box will be waiting for us.

Miles hiked 21

June 11

Yesterday had seemed to be more of a physical challenge so knowing that our destination was only 10 miles away, we decided that getting up an hour later than usual seemed appropriate. The sunrise did not disappoint as over breakfast we watched the sun rays hit the lake where we were camped.

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Here comes the sun!

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Going to Sierra City today would involve a climb up from where we were camped then down to the valley where the town was located. Reaching the top we could make out where we will be headed.

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We can also see snow covered peaks in the distance. From talking to hikers it sounds like we will be encountering snow covered trails. No need to think of that now as we are heading down and down to a mouth watering gut buster hamburger. Food is often a topic of discussion as we meet other hikers that encourage us to check out certain food venues. The trail is quite obvious as we head down the mountain.

 We appreciate the trail building!

We appreciate the trail building!

As is customary the views don't disappoint.

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A fair bit of the trail is quite rocky and one has to watch foot placement. This would not be a good spot to turn an ankle.

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The hills are alive with spring colors and then in the distance we can make out our destination.

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It is far below us and by zooming in the camera we can make out the buildings.

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We had been told by a NOBO hiker that we would see the town, but would still have about 5 miles to hike before reaching it. Knowing that, we enjoyed the hike going mostly down hill. On one of the switchbacks, we were happy to see Yogi Bae.

 We had hiked with him for several days in the dessert section and had also overlapped in a town, where he had to take several days off for an injury. He was from a southern state and had never been in snow. Hiking thru the sierras had given him many stories to share.  He highly recommended the gut buster!

We had hiked with him for several days in the dessert section and had also overlapped in a town, where he had to take several days off for an injury. He was from a southern state and had never been in snow. Hiking thru the sierras had given him many stories to share.  He highly recommended the gut buster!

Eventually we found ourselves on the road to Sierra City. It was less than a two mile hike to town on the pavement. We tried hitching, but to no avail. The town appeared and we headed off to a church that lets hikers stay in their backyard.

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We put up our tent and headed to the store where the gut buster is created. It was just about our only choice of where to eat. This is a small town that mainly caters to tourists on the weekends. This being a Monday, most of the stores and restaurants were closed. We were glad that the Sierra  Country Store was opened 7 days a week.

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They provide a great service for hikers, receiving resupply boxes and are home of the gut buster hamburger. This hamburger is a one pounder that lives up to its reputation. Don and I decided to split one which turned out to be a good decision. We also ordered a couple of chocolate milkshakes which got a 10! Our stomachs were smiling. Out of the Blue had gotten there a little before us and had decided to go the hotel route. Unfortunately his food resupply had not arrived so he was going to spend a couple of days there. We plan to have breakfast with him in the morning and then depart our different ways. we may try to meet up later. Meanwhile back at the store we catch up with River, Four Eyes, Prince and Hollywood. They have eaten the burger and decided to hike down the trail a little further. We say good by to them as well not knowing if we will see them again.

 Four Eyes and River

Four Eyes and River

Four Eyes and River met on the first day of their hike and have been hiking together since then. They skipped the Sierras similar to us and plan to hike them when the snow will be a lot lower.

We headed back to the church to take a cold shower, wash some clothes in a sink and re pack our food bags. Our box had arrived! Back at the church, several hikers, Hulk,Litebrite and Norway were there. Our paths had crossed several times so there was some catching up to do. Hulk and Litebrite had some challenging snow stories to tell. Norway was quite happy to be in the mountains with lakes. Since we wee quite full from our hamburger there was no need to cook dinner tonight. We plan to eat breakfast with Out of the Blue tomorrow morning and then start walking.

Miles hiked 10