Elevation- 2,218 ft
Distance Traveled Today- 23.5 miles
Distance Traveled Total- 1,284.5 miles
Weather/Temp- clear 80s 90s
Pain level- low
Days without shower- 1
Happy Day 100 to me!
I slept in till 8 am, then wandered back up the street to the lodge. Ate a delicious breakfast burrito and some good gravy biscuits with a side of fruit.
Then I wandered back to my room and fell asleep again almost immediately. I meant to get up and out at 11, but I ended up not getting out until noon; I’m not complaining.
Once again I wandered back to the lodge to have lunch before I left. Lou had bragged about his fish tacos the night before, so I had to give them a try. Best fish tacos I’ve ever had. He left out the cabbage, and went heavy on the cilantro, onions, diced tomato, and an incredible secret sauce that he ended up giving me the recipe for; “You keep that recipe in Florida, don’t be using it around here!” He joked.
We shook hands and I said my goodbyes before heading out to the road to hitchhike. It took about 15 mins for a big pickup with Nevada tags to pull over. “You trying to get to Quincy?” One of the two middle aged men asked. “No sir, the trailhead on Big Creek Road.” I replied. “We’ll getcha there.”
The two men ended up being brothers from Reno that owned a house and property in Buck’s Lake. They spent every weekend and holiday out there they said. Before dropping me off, they gave me a couple big macadamia nut cookies. They were headed home, so they had quite a bit of camping gear and food with them.
They let me off at the trailhead a little after 1pm; my latest start on the trail since Tahoe. I looked at my map and saw that the trail went through part of the town of Belden in a little over 23 miles. The best part, there was a restaurant right on the trail, where it coincided with a road. I was feeling strong and greedy, so I decided on the spot that I would attempt to make the restaurant before dark.
I tore off through the woods and didn’t set my pack down for the entire 23 miles. I landed in Belden at approx 8:20pm, with over 40 mins of usable daylight to spare. It was a new personal record for the most miles with an afternoon start.
Only two noteworthy things happened in that 23+ mile sprint. The first, was that I ran into another hiker named C.A.T. His name is an acronym for Chinese, American, Taiwanese; his three heritages. CAT is over 70 years old, and uses an old golf club putter as his walking stick. That’s not the cool part however. The cool part is that I hiked around CAT on the AT throughout North Carolina, Tennessee, and the early part of Virginia. He always loved to pet Katana, and asked me where she was this time; I told him the story. After catching up some more, I bid him farewell and hiked on into the afternoon.
As I was just beginning the 6.5 mile descent into Belden, I was walking through another narrow corridor of low scrub bushes when I heard another rattler. When I heard it, I instantly realized I was practically on top of it, and must have jumped 5 feet in the air. This was the first time a snake has ever made me jump like that. As I jumped, I spotted the little rattler right on the edge of where the scrub met the trail, about 5 inches from where my foot had been before I jumped. That was close.
I made a short video of me shepherding the little guy off the trail, then continued down.
After my burger and chicken strips at the small restaurant, I hiked a short ways down the road, crossed a bridge, crossed a highway, then made camp a short ways into the woods by the trailhead. I have a nearly 5,000 foot continuous climb first thing in the morning. It’s one of the longest climbs on the trail. My goal is to hike hard and see what happens. The halfway point is 36 miles from where I’m camped, but it seems a tall order with this huge climb thrown in the mix…