PCT Day 89 – Tuesday July 11
Mile 1284 to Mile 1267.8
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 16.2
Total PCT Miles Hiked: 1038.9
Feet Ascended Today: 5689
Feet Descended Today: 1498
Current Elevation: 6502
Today was an exhausting day. The climb out of Belden going southbound is BRUTAL. I ascended a total of 5757 feet today which may be a record me. The hardest part, however, was the steep grade of the trail. For the first part of today’s hike, I climbed 4000 feet in 6 miles. The trail essentially consisted of a series of switchbacks for those first 6 miles.
While I am getting better at climbing hills faster, I don’t do well with such a steep grade. My pack was extra heavy with food today because I just resupplied in Belden which didn’t help. I powered up the hill slowly, taking lots of breaks.
The trail was shaded with trees for the first 5 miles and then broke into an alpine area with sweeping views of the Feather River below and distant mountains beyond. The trail continued to climb more gradually at this point, sometimes winding through wooded areas and then breaking into the open at the top of a crest.
I stopped for lunch at a creek with Monarch. I took the opportunity to catch my breath and rinse myself off. It’s so nice to run into so many creeks and lakes on this part of the trail.
After lunch, I could see several lakes down below me as I hiked. They looked cool and inviting but were too far off trail to investigate.
By late afternoon I was absolutely exhausted. I took a snack break and realized I had only hiked a total of 13 miles so far which was a little depressing. Another hiker named Rosey passed me going southbound, and I recognized him as we’ve met a few times before. He was feeling discouraged about how much the climb out of Belden slowed him down too. He had camped about 8 miles north of Belden and I realized he’d already hiked 21 miles so far today – including the brutal climb out of Belden. Wow. I think his average hiking speed is about twice as fast as mine.
I kept hiking, but I was tired and getting hungry. I was starting to trip and stumble with fatigue. Monarch was ahead of me somewhere but I eventually I had to stop and make dinner. The rest of the girls in our group planned to go into the town of Quincy to resupply and they were a few miles ahead also.
My calves were screaming and my back was aching. I really need a massage. I had called around to book a massage when I was in the town of Chester but the only masseuse in town was booked solid for the next month. Maybe I can book one when I get to the next trail town.
I made dinner and did some stretching and passed out. It’s my first night camping alone in several months but I hardly noticed because I was so tired. Hooray for sleep!