I had meant to get started early but breakfast was offered. ADD is an amazing trail angel! One of the other hikers wanted to cook so she made us all egg sandwiches, and I finally got started after that.
It was 19.1 miles to Belden Town, and the long descent just before it was absolutely covered in poison oak. I hope I avoided it all but I really don’t see how that’s possible.
It was very hot, just getting worse as I got lower. There was a black raspberry bush behind the train tracks just before town, and they were delicious, if also very hot.
I caught up to some friends at the road right as they were getting picked up by local trail angel Brenda Braaten. She takes hikers in for the night, holds packages for us, and lives near a convenience store with excellent milkshakes. Her house was full for the night but some of us had packages there so we went over to pick them up and take showers.
I had new shoes and insoles waiting for me, and they could not have been more welcome. I had over 1100 miles on my current Vasque Inhaler Lows and Berry Superfeet. I’ve been feeling the lack of cushioning for the past week or two, and my feet were definitely sore today after the long descent.
After relaxing for a bit, Brenda took us back over to the trail at Belden Town. It’s a hard place to describe. A thousand people used to live in the town, but now only fourteen people do. It’s run as a resort and they have music festivals every weekend. Large piles of trash were everywhere, evidence of last weekend’s rave.
I got laundry started and then ordered dinner at the bar and charged my electronics. There was free camping at the river there, and across the bridge at a rest stop. We went over to the rest stop hoping it would be quieter.