Day 76: mile 1277.6 – mile 1286.8

Elevation gain: 397 fr

Elevation loss: 4,356 ft

I actually just changed the name of this post once we arrived in Belden. We were SO looking forward to getting here, relaxing, eating and taking a full zero that I had already named it, “Belden, Baby!”. Then we walked up to this one building town with literally not one other person around. We don’t mind quiet…we love quiet. But they only have one Lodge, one restaurant and one General Store. So when we saw how limited the menu was (only burgers, chic strips, tots, and fries) and how empty the General Store was, we were seriously deflated. All we wanted to do was relax and eat…and I can only put away so many burgers and so much bar food. There was no possible way to do it for 2 days, especially since we couldn’t supplement with any food from the General Store either! Sooo…we changed our reservation to only one night instead of 2, and we plan to leave tomorrow. Hey…it’s not like there won’t be plenty of super cute towns ahead of us, and we plan on taking zero days then instead. Things change and we adapt, we are definitely used to that by now!

Let’s back up a little to this morning. We only had 9.2 miles to get to Belden and we knew check in wasn’t till 3, so we were in no rush getting out of camp. We didn’t set the alarm, we enjoyed coffee/pop tarts at camp by the stream, and then started walking at 8:30. Within 3 mins of leaving the tent site, we saw our 4th bear. Funny that we have seen more bears since getting rid of our bear cans, so I’m super glad we still have our odorless bags and Opsaks! The first 3.2 miles gave us pretty views with some ridge walking that we love so much.

The last 6 miles were all downhill. “That sounds easy”, you may be saying to yourself. But the constant pounding and having to slow yourself down for such a long time is also hard on the body and joints. There were literally countless switchbacks and some bushes that were in desperate need of being cut back. PLUS…our first trail register since before the Sierra!

But at least there weren’t a ton of rocks in the trail, and it was pretty smooth, for the most part, which was lovely. So we were down and walking through The Belden Resort by noon. This little Resort sits right on the North Fork of the Feather River so we had heard that it’s usually a big party scene with tons of people through the summer. They have a great deck overlooking the river where we were able to eat our lunch while waiting for the room to be ready. Don’t get me wrong, my jalapeño burger and spicy tots were really good! I just didn’t think I could eat 3 more over the next 40 hours.

Because there are so few people staying at the resort this year, there is only one person running everything. He takes orders, delivers the food/drinks, checks people in, sells the items in the general store…ALL OF IT. So, of course, some things are going to be missed. When we got there, he said the room would be ready by 1:00, but it actually wasn’t until 3:00 (not a huge deal since we were eating and chatting with other hikers anyway: Mario, Flip-Flop, Caveman, Tramp, Booney, Kegger, and the Finnish couple!). Also, as you might have noticed from previous posts, I crave a cold root beer ALL THE TIME. I was so excited to have unlimited refills with lunch, but it was, unfortunately, flat. Then we finally got into the room for the much needed shower and we had to share these tiny “Mayo type packets of shampoo/conditioner in one”. I know my hair is cleaner than when I got here, but probably not by much. 🤨

In the shower I also found a bar of soap from a previous tenant sitting up on the ledge that was apparently not seen by the housekeepers. THEN, I pulled back the thin comforter on the bed (I never use those because they gross me out) to reveal only a thinner white sheet with a little cluster of black hairs sitting there….what is happening?? Am I on Candid Camera? My standards are pretty darn low right now, not finding myself asking for much, but a person can only take so much! Link went to do laundry while I was showering and said things were looking a little grim in there as well. But as long as the machines clean/dry my clothes, then I’m happy.

Even though there might have been a few things we found unsettling, there were definitely some great moments at the Lodge. The guy working the bar/restaurant was amazing. He worked so hard and let us stay as long as possible before closing up. Mantis/Pants got here at 5-ish so we joined them for dinner/drinks, and THEN Thing Chaser (the dad from The Thing family) walked in! We hadn’t seen him or his family since Mt Whitney so it was great hearing how they are all doing. We were laughing for hours, talking about the trail and crazy things that have happened. We were the last people in the place until they needed to close up at 9pm.

Link and I still hadn’t organized our packs or resupply since we picked it up when we got here. My mother in law is always so cute and clever with the boxes…always adding stickers and writing sweet stuff on there for us!♥️

So we went back to the room and walked into ant central! Ugh…in the wilderness, yes. In my comfy hotel room where I want to feel like a normal human, NO! They were all over the bathroom floor and sink, I’m sure they were looking for water. Link cleaned them up as best he could, then we situated the resupply. Unfortunately, we needed to add bars, jerky, summer sausage, and tortillas to this leg. We had assumed we would be able to get these items in the General Store, but that wasn’t going to happen here. So…we will eat what we have and then just make up for it in the next town!

It’s now after 10pm and we have a crazy 14 mile, 6,000ft elevation gain climb tomorrow morn and need to start early. So thanks for reading, guys! Double Down