It's the first week in August and we're almost half way. That's not a great pace for people who started in April. But, compared to our pace on the Appalachian Trail we are killing it! We know we need to hurry up, stop taking so many zeros and get in more miles each day. I enjoy sleeping in, not getting out by 5-6am, but if we're going to get in more miles every day we just have to start getting up and out earlier.
The climb out of Belden with one pound burger bellies was difficult. It is a long, steady, steep climb to get to the top. When we finally do, we see our friend Dune camped right on the edge of the overlook. We decided to join him and hit the trail early the next morning.
The next few days we really did a great job keeping our brakes short and miles long. We did 19 miles the first day, back to back 18 plus mile days and then just over 15 to get us into Belden. As we were heading down into the resort town we saw our first PCT bear. He was far off in the distance, spotted by Buddy who was leading our group. We are always talking or singing to each other on trail, scaring off the wild life so this was a really amazing sight. The bear quickly spotted us and ran off which was fun to watch, I wish I could run down hill as fast as he did.
It has always been our plan to flip up north from Belden but we hadn't quite figured out how were were going to do it. I've been looking into buses, taking the train, renting a car - but all of these options were well over $500. We could have done any of these but we were looking for a cheaper way to get up north without breaking the bank.
When we got to Belden Resort we headed to the restaurant to eat and find out about the area. The waitress told us we could camp on the sandy shore of the river, shower at the RV park and get ready for this weekends rave. That sounded fun but we were trying to get north, not party hard. When I connected to the internet I received a message from two hikers we knew who had just bought a car in Mammoth Lakes and were heading up to Washington the next day. Score, we had found our ride! We offered to split the gas and driving, then planed to meet them in Belden the next morning.
When they finally arrived the next night they told us that they really wanted to take a few days off and head to the Lost Cost Trail, 6 hours west. This was not the ride we thought we were getting. But, we've never been to the Pacific Ocean, never seen black sand beaches and it was Dion's 30th birthday so we decided to go with them and take the adventure.
Let's just say this trip took a lot longer than expected. 7 days to be exact. The weather was grey and cloudy most of the time but the Lost Coast was still incredibly beautiful. We saw hundreds of seals sun bathing, diving in the water and playing. Buddy learned about tide pooling and we spent a whole day exploring these puddles and the creatures that live in them. We drove though the Red Wood Forest, up and down the 101 while these other two hikers were off hiking the Lost Coast Trail.
We are finally in the car heading north to the Dinsmores and I honestly don't know if I've ever been more excited to get get back to the trail! I can't wait to see our friends we met months ago who are now up in Washington. I can't wait to meet the infamous Mrs Andrea Dinsmore. This was an incredibly long side trip but we will make up the time, it will work out in the end. It's just another chapter in the great adventures of Buddy Backpacker and crew.
We will leave the Dinsmores tomorrow afternoon and head north to Manning Park. Then, we will come back to the Dinsmores and go southbound from there. We will finish our hike as quickly as possible and end back in Belden. We will just take it one day at a time and try to finish up before the weather gets too cold. We've been so lucky with weather, health and miles so far we can not and will not give up now.