Even after my longest day, I was still feeling energized, which was good because I started the day with a big climb out of the river valley. Lot of the morning was spent hiking through more forest, with soft ground and good cushion. Gone are the granite landscapes of the Sierra mountains. At these lower elevations the trees and plants are different too; there are more firs and oaks and no more sequoias or aspens.
I didn’t have many views so there aren’t a lot of pictures from these days. I did take a slight detour into the Buck Lake area which was a 6 mile road walk that goes past a few resorts. I got a free ice cream at one place and chatted with two section hikers for a while which was nice. I hadn’t seen many people in the past two days and it was nice to chat. But soon enough I moved on and left them.
That night I camped at the top of a ridge, just 5 miles from the town of Belden and I laid out on my back, talking to Jacob as the sky got darker. The night was like ink and the sky was lit up with the milky way. I saw a dozen shooting stars and several satellites before drifting off to sleep.
The next morning I made swift progress down the hill and got into Belden by 9 am. There are two famous trail angels there and I got a ride to their place quickly. In the span of three hours I did all of my chores (I.e. shower, charging phone, email, resupply, etc.) and was ready to get back on the trail.
My timing wasn’t great though, because it was noon, nearly 90 degrees and I had a 14 mile hill to climb, with 4,700′ of elevation!! There were only a few steep sections, but I was sweating buckets in minutes. So much for that shower. I walked uphill for 6.5 hours before I hit the summit and then I had a few more miles to get to any water. When I got to clear springs, I was too tired to really talk to Red Bass, Thunder Thighs and Ice Cream, who were already camped there.
It is a bit hard to see in this picture, but a deer posed very nicely for me and I managed to get this shot.
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