Monday, October 15, 2012

Day 88 to 89 - Belden

July 22-23
Day 88 to 89
MIles:  25+0
Total Miles:  1290

Deer stuck on a steep trail looking for an exit

After a great breakfast at Buck Lake Resort where we once again met Jubel (he had abandoned his attempt to reach Belden by Saturday after he was invited to join in on someone's camp at Buck Lake.)  We hitched the short mile to the trail and then headed toward Belden - a 5000 foot descent over seven miles.  Belden is a very small community
on the North Fork of the Feather River.  According to the 2010 census, the population of Belden was 22 people occupying 13 households.

North Fork Feather River
Lightweight reached Belden before I did and I found him at the only restaurant/bar in town, at the "Belden Town Resort".  It was his birthday so I bought him a beer and bought myself chili-cheese fries before they closed.

Anonymous Trail Magic cache near Belden
Now, people have told me Belden is a great little community by the river, but my first impression was just the opposite.  The server was impersonal and I could tell he was anxious to close.  A couple of dirty hikers walking in at closing time was not on his agenda for the evening.  Another man at the bar, who apparently served as local sheriff or resort security guard, gave us ambiguous directions to the trail angel's house.  As Lightweight and I walked over a mile down the wrong road in the dark we both seered with frustration at how un-helpful the town-folk were in Belden.  We walked back to the "resort" (a restaurant/bar with a couple of picnic tables down the street and some mobil homes where locals lived) and we prepared to setup camp on the grass near the picnic tables instead of wander around in the dark looking for other suitable camping.  The security guard/sheriff, came out of his mobil home as we were laying down our sleeping bags and promptly asked us to leave - "you can't sleep here, unless you wanna pay $20 to camp."  I looked at him with an incredulous expression feigning confusion, sending him telepathic signals that 1) nobody was here, 2) the town is mostly deserted this time of the year, and 3) can't he just let a couple of tired dirty PCT hikers (a not insignificant source of his business during the summer months) sleep next to the picnic tables tonight without extorting $20 from us?  my telepathy must not have been strong enough because he repeated with a blank expression, "I'm sorry but that's just the way it is.  You can camp down by the river past the old church."  So, without saying a word, I packed up and swore I would leave this crazy place as soon as possible tomorrow - maybe after breakfast..?

The next day, July 23rd, was a different experience.  Brenda Braaten showed us incredible hospitality, as she does all PCT hikers, and gave us the run of a wing of her house she sets up for hikers - including shower, kitchen, and a couple of bedrooms.  She even had our packages from the P.O. waiting for us when we arrived.  I soaked my feet in a hot water bath with Epsom Salt and then spent a majority of the day back at the bar with a group of other hikers who had just arrived.  

I guess there are two sides to Belden and I'm glad I didn't leave before the Braatens showed me the best side.


Post a Comment

PCT Northern Terminus

PCT Northern Terminus
On September 30, 2012 I reached the Northern Terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail. Thanks to everybody who supported and followed my journey. It was a life-changing experience!