Total distance: 1284.1
Camp tonight is at a campsite right next to a river that runs along highway 70. I’m cowboy camping next to Wookie who is swaying in his hammock illuminated by the glow of embers from our fading fire. It’s been a long two days and I am desperate for sleep.
This morning I had a 9 mile uphill hike to start the day and found myself irritated and frustrated within minutes. The grade was easy, but it seemed never ending. Just a continuous uphill leading to the clouds that always stayed the same distance away.
I spent most of the day winding through Ponderosa Pines and small openings with manzanitas and other bushes. The best part of the hike was about ten miles before Belden when I cleared through the dense forest and came out to a view of the surrounding mountains that reminded me of hiking in Maine. Low shrubs surrounded my legs as I walked and the sun baked my back, but the last six miles were all downhill on switchbacks to be led out on a road.
I got to the Belden Resort and Lodge to order a root beer and a burger while waiting for Wookie to show up. The people running the place were spastic and stressed to no end and wigging out as they paced around. The place was a huge mess with trash bags full of bottles and garbage spread around the ground and litter all over the place. I was happy to be inside in ac and eating food so the setting didn’t bother me too much.
Eventually, Wookie showed up and we bought a six pack and sat at a table for an hour or so drinking and talking about his work in California and catching up on lost time. We reminisced of the AT and how much fun we had learning how to live outside together during those early days in Maine.
We left the bar to go find a camp spot and made a fire to sit around for a while before retiring for the evening. It ended up being a late night, but relaxing and fulfilling in catching up with an old friend. It’s amazing that someone that I haven’t seen in two years drove two hours to see me for an evening while I’m on the trail. It made me feel appreciated and valued in the middle of so much solitude. It’s good to know there are people out there rooting me on and hoping the best for me in all that I do and hope to be.