Day 71 – back in the woods we go

June 13, 2016

Miles: 7.1 (plus 6 hour drive to Trailhead)

Belden equestrian t/h (mile 1284.0) to Myrtle Flat (mile 1291.1)

Today was a loooong day. We left Oakland around 8:15am – later than we wanted, but not bad.

What should have only been a three and a half hour drive took us 6 hours. Again we didn’t really mind. We were happy to be heading back to the trail.

The drive to Belden was monotonous until we reached Highway 70 and climbed into the mountains. The smooth asphalt hugging the mountainside was complimented by train tracks on the other side of the Feather River.

Andy loved the scenery. He’d really like to take the train through here, if one exists.

We reached Belden around 2:15 pm. They call it Belden Town but it is hardly a town. There’s a general store, a motel and an RV park and that’s about it.

We parked at the equestrian trailhead and were walking by 3:15pm.

The road from the equestrian trailhead was lush. It was a drastic change from the white and snowy Sierras.

As we walked past the general store a hiker approached us. It was Flo, a Swiss hiker we haven’t seen since Big Bear (near mile 218).

He didn’t recognize us at first but we jogged his memory. It’s really funny how people don’t recognize one another after a few months.

Flo also hasn’t skipped any of the trail. He’s just a fast hiker on a mission. He will be staying in Belden but we trust he’ll catch us tomorrow.

We started climbing immediately after leaving the highway. It was exposed and quite warm, though not as warm as it would be in July.

Laurie’s mom hiked the first few miles with us to Indian Creek. We will hopefully see her again in a few days near Drakesbad Guest Ranch in Lassen National Park. Thanks for being our trail angel today Sue!

We felt sluggish this afternoon. It felt weird to be hiking again. It’s as if we have not been hiking for the past two months.

We felt weak and slow.

And the change in scenery was a shock. It all felt very abrupt. No natural progression or transition. We went from glissading on snow to stopping at the sight of garder snakes. Yup, we are back in snake territory but thankfully no rattlers today.

It felt weird to be hiking in trail runners again too. Andy kept slipping, kicking rocks and slightly twisting his ankles.

We managed to walk just over 7 miles before dropping our packs at Myrtle Flat, where the mosquitoes swarmed us immediately.

We quickly put up the tent and retreated inside. We didn’t leave the tent the rest of the night. We didn’t cook; opting instead for cheese, bars and dried druit for dinner.

We gave up trying to count how many mosquitoes were swarming the tent. There were at least 50 of them on either side of the tent until almost 9pm.

Though we feel out of sorts, we are happy to be back in the woods. We are happy to be hiking again.

Laurie’s heart hurts knowing her mom is all alone and only 5 miles away. She wanted to hike back and be with her.

“When we’re 100 miles away, I know I can’t do anything. But we’re so close.”

Andy reassured Laurie that we’d see her again in a few days time. For now, it’s already past hiker midnight and time for bed.

Tonight we are grateful for Laurie’s mama and endless summer skies.

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6 thoughts on “Day 71 – back in the woods we go

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