PCT Day 62: Climbing out of Belden

June 22

Mile 1284.3-1298.5 (14.1)

I woke just before my alarm at 7am. I had thought I would go back to the trailhead at 8am, but it soon became apparent I could use some extra time and wouldn’t go until 10am. My feet were very swollen and I was very hungry. After two 30 mile days, I thought two more hours would allow me to relax and recharge. 

I ate my dinner leftovers, made a big pancake, and enjoyed the watermelon and muffins that the Braatens brought over early this morning. I drank lots of coffee and hot chocolate and spent some time reading with my feet elevated. Brought my laundry in off the line, packed my bag, and waited for Brenda to finish watering her fruit trees before getting a ride back to the trail. 

One night in a little house of my own was immensely relaxing. That, and the thought of seeing Pat soon, had me in great spirits and ready to hike again. Thanks again to the generous Braatens for their hospitality.

The climb out of Belden felt rough, though. It was hot and sunny, but there was enough water and shade that I should have been fine. I think it was a cumulative tiredness, something sticky and unrelenting, that finally hit me about halfway up. I sat for a while next to a creek, trying to eat something substantial and drink more water, some mixture of rest and fuel that would get me through the rest of the climb. I wondered if I was pushing too hard and my body resisting. I wondered how I could eat more, how I could care for my feet better. I began to really look forward to a substantial rest.

I got up to the ridge eventually. I had cell service and called my husband, pacing so the black flies couldn’t bite me. The bugs were so bad I had to end the call and keep hiking. I saw Frog Spring ahead, with camping, and called it a day early. The bugs got really horrible as I was setting up the tent, now an exercise in speed and efficiency. It was a relief to be safe inside my tent and done with today’s miles.


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