Although we were not going to see Brad again on this trip, we did have another couple of resupply drops to make. This stop was at Belden, CA which is not much more than a bump in the road with a small grocery store, inn, bar, campground and laundry facilities. We left Brad's box at the grocery store, thankfully, because we didn't get a strong feeling of PCT support here. Many places along the trail have "Welcome PCT Hikers", signs marking the trail, and a general "hangout" quality that says "glad to see you". Not here. The trail passes directly through the resort and there were no clues that the trail existed. In fact, we needed to ask directions twice because all we got the first time when we asked where the trail was, was some arm swinging and "over there". But it wasn't and we needed to search it out. The only signs posted were "pick up your cigarette butts" and "pick up your bottle caps".
Before we left Belden we did a short hike on the trail to leave an angel drop of cold drinks. I'm sure it was loved because it was hot, hot, hot in Belden. Before we got back in the car Benton and I went down to the river to cool off where we had a slightly frightening encounter with a rattlesnake. Growing up in California my eye was trained to watch for snakes. If I'd see a snake I'd get out of the way quickly, and then try to identify what kind of snake it was. My training served me well because we just happened on the snake, with Benton in the lead, and my first response was to back up. Good thing too as it was quite a large rattlesnake, with Benton's nose headed right at its head. Our good luck is it was not coiled and in retreat mode.
|Ed and Benton at angel stash|
On our way to Belden we saw two thru-hikers walking along the road. When we stopped we were delighted to see Itchy and Scratchy again. They were on their way to an angel stop near Belden. We hauled out the ice chest and gave them drinks and fruit and had a nice visit before moving on to Belden to make Brad's resupply drop.
|Itchy, Scratchy, Fran|