Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Day 30: June 23, 2012

June 23, 2012.

Day: 30   Daily Miles: 45.25   Total Miles: 1301   Hours Hiking: 15.5   6:20am-11:40pm

Listen to the audio journal above or Download June 23rd Audio File Here

Day 30

June 23, Day 30. I did 45.25 miles ending at the 1301 mile mark. I started about 4-5 miles up from the Middle Fork of the Feather River and ended about 2 miles from the top of the Belden climb- the climb out of Belden, in the grassy little meadow area after all of the gnarly, stupid, terrible, horrible, awful, steep, rocky climb. *laughs*n Yeah, pretty much. Lets see, that point was 0637230 E 4432947 N. So yeah, the day well began wet and pretty was cold and still wet for most of the rest of the day. Well, for at least half of the day. But um, it rained for half of the night. At about 4am, the big shower happened. I don't know hot big, but I was covered in my tarp instead of setting it up, because up until I went to bed, it hadn't precipitated, sprinkled or whatever in like 6-8 hours, so I figured I'd be good, you know? The clouds were broken up and it was partly cloudy, but no, it sprinkled as I put my head down. So I pulled my tarp out and just laid it over me..which I knew would cause problems with condensation in the inside and get my bag wet, but no big deal. But, um yeah, at 4am the big one hit. There were a couple puddles on my tarp when I woke up, but I stayed really dry besides the condensation. So that good. I woke up and was like 'crap its dripping, everything is wet', but there was blue sky above, even though there was still a bunch of clouds, at least some blue sky. I finally got going at I think 6:25, everything was still wet...I shook it off the best I could and was just like "I'll just dry it out later'. The climb up and out of the canyon was easy. A bit chilly because everything was damp and you're in the shade a lot. I got up to 'Lookout Rock' and called mom and dad just because I hadn't talked to 
them for a little while and I knew Greg's wedding (my cousin) was happening. Lets see then. I just kept plodding along. A little further on from Lookout Rock, the trail had puddles still. All of the bushes were still covered in water, so my feet were soaking wet. I'd take steps and see water squish out of my shoe - that's how wet it was. But, I just kept going. It was a 33 mile or so day to get into Belden for my resupply and I wanted to do it early enough so I could stop by the little Belden tavern/resort store and also make it out of there {Belden} in the same day, which I managed to do. I just kept trucking along, it was like 50 F and breezy all day, so I was cold. It was one of those times where I wasn't sure if I wanted to put on my jacket and be a little warm or just wear my sleeves down and keep hiking fast. So, I just kept hiking fast. The sun felt really good, but when you were in the shade, the wind just chilled you. I got to...Lets see...what else is there from yesterday...umm.. I remembered quite a bit of it {the trail from 2009} yesterday, I don't know why. It seems to be that town days from 2009 I remember {the trail} better. Probably because I was looking forward to them more than other days. I mean I was happy yesterday for sure, until the evening *laughs*, then I was angry, because that climb was awful {especially in the dark}. I got a couple good views once i got up to the top of the ridge. I saw Mt. Lassen for the first time. I met two women - a mother and daughter hikers - they seemed a little clueless about what they were doing. But I hopefully straightened them out on a few things and gave them some good advice and kind of nudged them in the direction of certain items they should exchange. But they were really nice and headed to Belden as well. I didn't get to see them again, because they were probably going a little slower than my rapid turn around. I also met...once I got out to the ridge that overlooks the North Fork of the Feather River canyon where Belden is at, the wind was pretty strong, but at least it was completely sunny and I could see all the way down into the central valley - Chico-Oroville are which was pretty cool. Then I just bombed it down into the canyon. I met another guy called Hawkeye I believe, on the way down - a thru-hiker. And then bashed my way through bushes, dodged poison and then I was basically there. I went into the Belden resort area thing, got the Belden Burger, which was double patty with bacon and a bunch of cheese. They were out of fries, and I was like " Ohh my god, that's all I could ever want right now..and you're out of fries and onion rings..!!" So, I got a salad, which doesn't quite do it, but you know, greens are better than nothing. I did manage to eat all of the ranch dressing though. *laughs* That took a little while, even though I got it to go, so I perused the store and bought a thing of cookies and 
another smaller can of frosting and a Drumstick ice cream, just to kind of keep those extra calories in my pack, so I can keep on eating them. The burger took forever, but I finally got it and by that time, Hawkeye had arrived and I let him use my phone to call the Braatens so he could get a ride there. Basically as soon as I got outside and started walking down the street, the Braatens arrived to give him a ride and she was trying to convince me to take a ride too. But, I was like 'no, no, I have to walk {on account of the record}. It took about 20 minutes to walk to her place...and the burger was really good {ate is as I walked}. I finished it within the first 3 minutes of walking. But yeah, not so many cars. I pulled my sleeping bag out and draped it over my back because the sun was behind me and it was super windy, so I could dry it out as I went. It must have looked really ridiculous to passing cars because you couldn't really see me besides my feet. I was just this big black lump walking. I go to the Braatens, stripped open my package, laid out all of my wet stuff outside was the first thing I did. I got everything packed into my pack, charged my phone and then I managed to find some goodies to eat in the kitchen, I signed the register and basically that was about it. I got everything packed up again and adios. It took me about an hour or so to resupply at the house itself. It never goes quite as fast as you'd think because you're like 'ohh I can sit down and relax a little bit'. Back on the road, then I got back onto trail around 7:15-20 pm. and from there, just proceeded to climb up the valley....uggghhh, it was awful. The first part wasn't bad. You go up steeply and you're probably 200ft above the road - you parallel the road for a while. Then you turn into the canyon and parallel the canyon at that height for a while 
First view of Mt Lassen before the Belden descent.
and then you hit switchbacks, which there are a lot of them, they are a little steeper than normal, but they aren't terrible - they are nice, they are flat, they're switchbacks, they're good. Those go on for like 4 miles... switchback, switchback, switchback, then you just keep gradually climbing, climbing, climbing at an angle. Then you kind of drop down a little bit and then it turns rocky, which would be OK if it was like granite and solid rock, but it's not. It's like scree field rocky. These scree field rocks are like the size of softballs and baseballs. So, you start getting rocks that aren't fun to walk on and are hard to walk across and then you enter the forest and it combines the two. So you get kind of these pine needle covered trails, a little bit of dirt, then rocky patches, and of course the trail itself kind of goes flat along the dirt pine needle patches and then screams steeply upwards up all of the rocky patches. So it's kind of walking up a loose riverbed. And it just does this for 3-4 miles. The trail is just not well made in this area. It doesn't keep a continuous grade or anything, it just goes kind of up, then really up, then kind of up, then really up and then winds around. Lots of little creeks. Eventually I made it. I was super tired by the end. I wanted to make it to 1300 miles and there was no place to camp there so...there was a little spot on the map (halfmile maps} marked as a campsite at 1301 and that's where I went. I was really happy to sit down and made dinner and pass out, so that was yesterday. Today I'm tired. Oh well.

In addition to June 23, Day 30 journal entry, I think the climb through there was bad because it was at the end of a 40+ mile day. I had resupplies and it was just steep and at night. Also, I hit the midpoint tomorrow. It should be about ohh, 30 or so miles away, so I should hit it late afternoon. I'm hoping to hit it before 6pm so when you do the math, it's less than 61 days to complete the trail - 60 days and X amount of hours.
The descent down to North Fork of the Feather River and Belden..sooo far down, then right back up :/