Here we are. Here we are in Northern California, slowly slogging our way toward Oregon. The rolling hills seem to be the same every 10 miles or so: tall pines, ridge walks, sand, rocks, sun, heat… one hiker described this section as “the desert with trees.” We’re very thankful for those trees though, offering us shade through the hottest parts of the day.
We’ve heard that many hikers have dropped out around here and within the past few sections. Our spirits remain fairly high as we make our way north, but we have been separated from many of our hiking friends, and most days, we hike alone. Between the High Sierra, which naturally tends to fan hikers out, and all the time we took off in Mammoth Lakes and Tahoe, everyone has spread out quite a bit. Some of our friends are up to a week ahead of us (Prophet, Hermes and Lotus, Fun Size, Cuddles, Goodall, Blur, Robin Hood, Uni-Croc and Scat Tracker); and some are as much as a week behind (PRT and Peter Pan, Pepper Flake, Shotput, Jess, Shedder and Roo). But we are constantly meeting lots of new hikers on the trail, and it’s been great to make new friends.
We’ve made it to the tiny, tiny town of Belden, where wonderful Trail Angels Laurie and Brenda Braaten have taken us in for a bed and a shower at their home, which is known as “Little Haven.” We woke up early and speed hiked to the town in order to get a hot breakfast at a restaurant. We have come into the habit of ordering three breakfasts between us, usually involving eggs and french toast. Ashe considers breakfast to be the most satisfying meal to hike toward, and we usually make a point of arriving in town early enough (or staying long enough) to enjoy it. Our next stop will be Drakesbad Resort, where we will pick up a few packages and celebrate the halfway point!