From our campsite at Lookout Rock, we hiked 26.9 miles to a strange little place called Belden Town. This was record mileage for us! With the trail getting less rocky and somewhat flatter, we’re averaging well over 20 miles per day. The bad news is we are now sore like we were when we first started this trail.
The PCT through the this section alternates between shaded forest and hot sunny manzanita covered hills. The weather has been really warm and the bugs are out in full force. Certain sections of the trail are really overgrown and somewhat jungly, but that hasn’t slowed us down too much.
Belden Town isn’t really a town. It’s just a bar, a small general store, a restaurant, and some hotel rooms and cabins. They had no rooms or cabins available on the day we arrived. A pirate-themed motorcycle club was passing through and had booked all the lodging. The bartender told us we could camp by the river – free if we walked down past the national forest boundary! We bought shower tokens, snacks for the next several days, and burgers for dinner. We set up our tent between the Feather River and the railroad tracks, near some other hikers. The river was loud, but not loud enough to drown out the sound of freight trains coming through all night. We slept only a few hours before we were awake and back on the trail.
The first 12 miles out of Belden Town are all uphill – over 5000 feet of climbing. From Belden it took us two more days to reach Highway 36. The trail was still very overgrown in places. We followed ridge tops with views to Lassen Peak, but also walked through a lot of dense, shaded forest.
When we reached Highway 36, we quickly got a ride into the town of Chester for a resupply. It’s nice to take a break from the bugs and heat, but with Lassen National Park and Burney Falls ahead of us, I’m looking forward to getting back on the trail tomorrow.