PCT Day 88 – Monday July 10
Myrtle Flats Mile 1291.2 to Mile 1284
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 7.1
Total PCT Miles Hiked: 1022.7
Feet Ascended Today: 839
Feet Descended Today: 2702
Current Elevation: 2262
I was on a mission to reach Belden today! I had a resupply package waiting for me at the Braaten’s, a local Trail Angel, and I wasn’t sure on the logistics for retrieving it. We planned to hike in and then hike back out the same day so I didn’t want to spend too much time chasing down my box. I had called the Braaten’s yesterday when I had one bar of reception up on a ridge and Mrs. Braaten said to call when I reached Belden Town.
I did some yoga and stretching again this morning and was the first to break camp. I hiked as fast as I could go – which wasn’t that fast considering the continuous descent and the extremely rocky trail. I decided to try not taking Ibuprofen today and changed my gait a little, stretching the muscles of my foot by pulling up my toe more as I walked. This seemed to help a little.
About halfway down the hill another southbound hiker came up behind me who turned out to be Dos Tacos – a hiker that I hadn’t seen since just before the Acton KOA. We hiked the rest of the day in to Belden together, chatting as we walked. It was great to catch up with her. She also has a package at the Braaten’s and we agreed to try to coordinate our package pickup.
About two miles from Belden, the trail rounded a corner and Feather River was visible in the valley below. As we descended, Belden Town resort came into view across the river – shining like a beacon offering hopes of food and flushing toilets. The trail ended at a rest stop on the north side of the river, where a relic from the gold rush days remained as a historic monument. We crossed the bridge – which was a bit harrowing as it had no sidewalks and cars drove by very fast – and walked into Belden Town.
Belden Town is a resort in a western old-timey theme right on the river with RV spots, cabins, and rooms in the hotel for rent. They are very welcoming to PCT hikers and have a saloon that serves surprisingly great food as well as a small convenience store. There’s also a lovely swimming spot in the river on a sanded area on the east end of the property. We had heard about the swimming from northbound hikers and planned to spend some time relaxing by the river before hiking out. Apparently Belden Town also hosts the occasional festival or rave, but the only guests appeared to be hikers or folks on vacation when I was there.
Dos Tacos called Mrs.Braaten to inquire about our packages. She was already on her way to Belden Town to drop off another hiker and said she’d be here in 8 minutes. Hmm. Did that mean I’d need to return with her to get my packages from her house? I wasn’t sure. Sure thing, Mrs. Braaten arrived a few minutes later and – oh happy surprise – she had my package with her! I was glad I had called the day before. Now I wouldn’t have to leave the trail or the lovely swimming area to go get it.
Mrs. Braaten chatted us for a while and asked some northbound hikers where they planned to camp tonight. She advised against staying in Myrtle Flats as apparently a bear had been frequenting the area. I guess we lucked out as we stayed there last night and did not get harassed by the bear.
I ate a very tasty plate of French toast and spent the next few hours charging my devices and sorting my resupply box. I’m trying to be very diligent about giving away food I’m not in the mood to eat so I don’t needlessly weigh down my pack with food I’m not going to eat. This time my food all fits in my food bag (except for my bagels) which I’m excited about.
While I had wifi, I also emailed my gastroenterologist about some symptoms I’m experiencing related to my ulcerative colitis. I’ve had a few mild bouts of ulcerative colitis in the past but I’ve thankfully been in remission for a couple of years…until now. I’m not experiencing the symptoms of a full-blown attack – yet – but I worry that that may be around the corner if I don’t get things under control. I have some medication leftover from my last flare-up at home and arranged to have it shipped to my next resupply stop (a big thanks to Daniel for finding the medication and to Jonathan for mailing it to me!). The medication is ridiculously expensive so I’m trying to avoid getting a new prescription if possible.
The doctor also advised against taking Ibuprofen as that can trigger symptoms. Oh boy. I’ve been taking 400 milligrams of Ibuprofen a day for the past couple of months to deal with my foot pain…although I didn’t take any today and did fine which is encouraging. I’m going to try cutting back on Ibuprofen and switching to turmeric pills which are also supposed to help relieve inflammation.
After finishing my chores I was wiped out. I layed on the beach in the shade and felt lethargic. As the afternoon wore on, we started to discuss plans for hiking out. The problem was that we had a 5000-foot climb out of Belden and it’s one of the steepest continuous grades that we’ve seen on the PCT so far. It was *hot* today, and nobody felt like hiking. I was barely functional. Eventually I realized that I had forgotten to drink enough water today and I downed a liter of water. The effect was remarkable and I felt better instantly.
It was 94 degrees at 5:00 pm though and none of us wanted to face the hill in that heat. I ordered a burger and ate dinner while I waited for it to cool down. We eventually camped just past Belden Town on a sandy area by the river and planned to tackle the hill in the morning. I would have preferred to hike part of the hill today so we could have broken up the climb over two days, but it didn’t look like we would have found any good camping on the bottom half of the hill when we looked at the maps. That hill looked steep. So we’ll tackle it tomorrow.