PCT 2007 – Day 101 – Lookout Rock – Belden, CA

Day 101 7-4-07 Hostel 2330′
Lookout Rock – Belden
27.5 (4) miles; 1289.3 (54.5) total miles; 3149.5 trip miles
90-100, sunny and humid

Deer count is 63
Marmot count is 51
Bear count is 4
Pika count is 2

Last night I slept much better than the night before. The sunset was incredible as well. I sat up and watched it as I wrote my journal.

My sunrise from Lookout Rock

I was up right at 5 AM which was surprising since I was so tired when I went to bed. I packed up, had breakfast, and then read my magazine while I waited for Silver and Backtrack. We got going around 6 and hit the first road, 23N19, pretty fast. At the next road we had breakfast and then moved on so we could go to Bucks General Store. We passed a hiker who was packing up for the day. I don’t believe he saw us. At Big Creek Road, we started our road walk to the store. We attempted to hitch but didn’t get one until a half mile before the store.

Once to the store we found it closed. We weren’t alone in waiting for it to open. Soon a young guy came walking over and let us in. The cooks weren’t there so we couldn’t have breakfast. Instead we got junk food. I got an apple juice, 2 cokes, Dreyers Nibs (ice cream snacks), and a bag of Double Stuff Oreos. I ate a ton, then paid for it. It got a stomach full of gas. While there Silver told me she and Backtrack wanted to hike alone. I had the feeling that was the case so I wasn’t surprised. They went one way back to the trail and I went the other. I headed back the way we came. I tried to hitch but I had no luck, so I had to walk the whole 2.5 miles back. It was clear that it was going to be a hot one. I got to the trail at 11 or so.

Silver and Backtrack at Buck's Lake General Store

I traversed along a mountain for most of the way to Bucks Summit where I had lunch. I passed Scott and Sandy the couple I thought might be Silver and Backtrack the day before. They told me they saw the same mother bear and she didn’t just have 1 cub but 3! So I missed 2 when I saw them. The summit was really just a road pass. There was a parking lot there so I sat in the shade since it was so hot.

I got going after lunch around 1:30 and had an 8 mile climb of varying steepness. There was also suppose to be no water and I crossed the same creek twice on the first part of the climb. I passed a couple who said today was the first day of a heat wave. It was supposed to be over 100 in the valley. I moved on and continued the long grind in the heat. I climbed to 6900 or so before starting the descent to Clear Creek. I actually got my water at a small stream before the creek. Clear Creek was actually flowing pretty strong. The forest by now was recovering from a old fire so it was still hot despite the fact I was going downhill. I passed a swampy area and a small pond with lily pads. I haven’t seen those in a while. Just as I got to what the data book called “shady bend on old fire road” I saw Silver. I yelled to her, “you people are messing up my solo hiking experience!” Both her and Backtrack were taking a break from the heat. They weren’t sure about the hostel and what time they could show up, so we discussed options. All three of us wanted to eat at the restaurant first but didn’t want to show up at a strangers house after 9 PM looking for a place to stay. I said I would be “the runner” and get down fast to figure out the scoop.

Let’s just say the 6.9 miles down hill broke me. I went hard for about 3/4’s of the descent; but when I got on the bottom switchbacks I just slowed down. I didn’t care any more and didn’t want to injury myself. Plus the middle third of this descent was the absolute worst maintained section of trail I have ever hiked in my life. At times the trail went straight into a group of bushes and disappeared. You had to just push through knee to chest high brush. It was insane. Towards the bottom I could hear cars and people working on the train below me. It seemed to take forever to descend the last part as it always does in cases like this.

I had to cross between the cars as the PCT crossed the tracks and the train wasn't moving.

Once to the bottom, there was a train sitting on the tracks. I could hear them working on something down to my left. I looked around and saw no PCT signs so I climbed up between two cars and down back the other side. Sure enough there was a PCT sign to my right. If I had stopped to take out my book, it would have told me this and to wait for the train to leave. Sorry but there was no chance I was waiting for the train to move.

I hiked down the road and entered an area out of horror film. There were cabins in all sorts of condition and port-a-johns everywhere. It smelled of the blue liquid in the johns. It was nasty. It appeared no one had done any type of yard work in ages. Then I saw what turned out to be the Belden Town Resort. It was a brick building with a double porch and looked like it belonged New Orleans. I went over to see if it was open and it wasn’t. Some nice soul had left a cooler filled with ice water on the porch. I jugged as much as I could. I sat around after making the call to the hostel and sent some email. The hostel owners were not home but Greenleaf, another hiker, gave me the scoop.

Backtrack, Silver, Peach and Green Leaf

As I sat waiting for Silver and Back Track, a guy showed up from one of the cabins. I asked about the store and my packages and he said they might not open until the weekend. I was not happy about that. Then this guy pulls up in his car and goes inside. I ask the first guy if this new guy inside could give me my packages. The guy inside came out, we asked and he quickly returned with my stuff! I was psyched. I spent the rest of the time going through my box and playing with my new phone which didn’t have service.
The others showed up and we got a random ride from a family of 3. Their very young daughter and us 3 crammed in the back and they drove us down the street a mile. Once there we saw Peach and Greenleaf. I showered then cooked dinner. Dinner was terrible but I was hungry so I ate it. I was so hot just walking around, I was sweating minutes out of the shower. I found a room in front with a ceiling fan and bedded down. I did some logistics and didn’t go to sleep until almost 11.

Scatman 2011- This was another killer day.  It might have only been 27 but it felt like 37 miles!  Days like this one that were broken up always seemed longer to me.  It’s not every day you have a mid morning break at a general store where you can pig out.  Unlike when Ultrabrite wanted to hike alone I was okay with Silver and Backtrack wanting to.  I was in a better place mentally on the trail at this point.  I looked forward to the challenge of hiking over half the trail by myself.  Earlier in the trip I wasn’t ready yet.

The end of this day was brutal.  The heat and the descent to Belden Town were a shitty end to a day that started with such a beautiful sunrise.  Even with the ceiling fan on high I was still so hot I could barely sleep at the hostel, not to mention I was sleeping on a hard wood floor.

———-

Scatman

Get out there!

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