Someone whose trail journal I have followed (crow) says you can't find a place more disappointing than Belden. To me, it did not appear they had breakfast. It was only 6am when I went through, but there were no hours posted on the door and looking in the windows, it appeared the restaurant was more oriented around the bar anyway. I made my own breakfast and ate it on their patio. Then I set off for what I expected to be a long day of climbing.
The climbing began gently, then the trail seemed to become old. The tread was very steep, not like newer PCT tread. I thought I might not be on the PCT, but then Justin, a section hiker hiking from Old Station to Yosemite appeared. We talked for a while. He seemed like a nice young man. He was surprised by the lack of water in some places on the PCT. It wasn't like the AT, he said. I've heard that a lot from people. Plus the condition of the trail with so many sticks and such faint tread surprised him. I told him that almost nobody hiked this section of trail last year so that may be why the trail is almost nonexistent.
I stopped at one nice creek and dunked myself completely in the water. That felt nice. I stopped at another creek and ate like I had been starved for days. I found out that broccoli and peanut butter is a good combination. My snacks overall were woefully inadequate.
After my feast of a lunch, I continued upward. At almost 2pm I finally reached the top after a couple of false summits. That made for an 8 hour uphill slog. I was rewarded for my efforts with both Shasta and Lassen in view at the same time.
On the other side, going down from Frog Mountain, there were still some small patches of snow. A small sign pointed to Frog Spring, 200ft. I decided to visit the spring and take a rest. The spring was a delighful little creeklet bubbling right from the ground.
The trail went down for a little while, then leveled out. There were lots of fallen trees over the trail. Soon I found myself at the lower edge of a long, green meadow. I coul dhear a large, loud animal bellowing somewhere. It sounded like Chewbaka from Star Wars. Was it Bigfoot? It was very loud, but I decided it sounded much like cattle, although much louder and more destressful. I was headed for a cattle trough in a couple of miles so it made sense.
The trail went gradually uphill toward the cattle trough. I was dragging myself. So tired. When I reached it, it was called Cold Spring, and there was a parking area on unpaved Humbug Road nearby with people sitting near their cars. I sat down next to the spring and pulled out the cous-cous I had added water to earlier. It had "cooked" itself perfectly and made a tasty snack.
There was a camping spot next to the spring. I pondered whether to camp for the night so early. It was only 4pm. I was tired. This was the last water for 13 miles. But if I stopped now, that woul dmean 27 more miles to Highway 36. I could get back to mom's earlier if I got in a few more miles now. But I did have food for 5 days, so rushing was not necessary. I decided to take a long rest to think it over and try in the mean time not to let all the curious insects buzzing all around me not bother me too much.
In the end, I decided to stay at Cold Spring. The section hiker in me chose pleasure over pain, I guess.
I set up my tent so I could have refuge from the green and yellow bees that wouldn't leave me a lone, the giant ants that kept crawling up my pants, the small flies and the raging mosquito clouds. I made dinner and set it aside to cool and cook in its own heat, jumped in the tent, chased out the green and yellow bee that follwed me, then shut the door to my refuge from the bugs. Ahh. I could take off my hat and long sleeved shirt and socks and finally really rest. It has been so hard to rest on the trail. Anytime I've almost fallen asleep when trying to nap, ants have crawlen up my pant legs and woken me up.
My hope now was for a good rest that would have me sailing up to 7510 ft. Butt Mountain turnoff tomorrow.