Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Belden to Sierra City

Thurs 8/10  Steep Grade

  • Before getting to Belden, NOBO hikers were complaining about their descent into Belden.  One hiker said, "It's a 17° grade slope. Darn hard on the knees."
  • I'm going SOBO, so their descent is my climb.  I'd see ahead of me this constant grade--steep.  Relentless; switchback to switchback, there was no relief
  • One NOBO hiker asked if he were almost to the bottom.  I replied, "You've got a long way to go, but then so do I."
  • The climb up Mt San Jacinto or Baden Powell have nothing over the climb out of Belden.

  • Started Belden--PCT mile 1284.3    Camp--1275.2    9.1 miles
  • Add in miles getting to Belden (8.6) and I did 17.7 miles, plus a resupply stop in town.
Fri 8/11  Started 1275.2  Ended 1247.2  28 miles
  • Some hikers I met: 
    • Fire Princess (guy) and 8 bottle--met at Aquaduct and Lone Pine
    • Festus
    • Tony--we met at Agua Dulce
    • Roadrunner O'Leary
  • The day was fairly easy--rollers (up and down) and ending with a big descent, ending at Middle Fork Feather River, just before a steel bridge
  • Cleaned up a little--feet, legs, pits, face
  • Guy named Arthur camped near by.  Arthur has been on the trail eleven days. 
  • At the end of the day, I felt like pounding my chest and screaming, "Hey! Look at me! I'm 63 years old and I just did a 28 mile hump!"

Sat 8/12   Started 1247.2  Ended 1224.1   24.1 miles
  • Today's hike started with a big climb.  That's the way it works.  First thing after a river, spring, or lake is a climb.  Count on it. 
  • I was feeling pretty good after the big climb.  I was not fast, but I was steady and consistent.  And then came the rollers. I was forever looking ahead and seeing one more climb.  During one stretch I crossed roads multiple times--gravel roads, paved roads. After EVERY road crossing, a climb. 
  • These climbs were 300 to 700 feet.  But they kept coming.
  • By 3:00, I was pooped.  I planned to camp at mile 1226.  One problem, the second creek was bone dry.  Seems water sources are getting sketchy all of a sudden.  Not long back there was water squirting out of the hills every where.  Not anymore. 
  • I had to keep going.  Water and campsite both at 1224..
  • I checked the elevation profile--the big climb almost 3900 feet.  All the rollers added another 2950 feet of climb.  Total climb 9800 feet.  No wonder I am tired to the bone.
Sun 8/12  
  • I am amazed--after I had a hard day yesterday
    • no night leg cramps
      • Becky has heard my screams before when I'd get a cramp in calf or hamstring
    • I had two doses of electrolytes--Skratch and Nuun
    • I drank a lot before going to bed
  • My body was pretty recovered this morning.  I hiked okay, no ill effects at all
  • Ran into Aaron, Loni, Charlie, and Kim.  I first saw them at the post office in Big Bear City.  It was great catching up with them.

  • Crashing a Party
    • I was told that I could get water, beer, and pop up ahead
    • On a road crossing below a trail head was portable shade and lots of people
    • The PCT took me right in the middle of this event a PCT mile 1204.9
    • When I asked if there was anything cold to drink, a guy brought me a Mexican beer with lime.  It was wonderful
    • When I asked about eating, a gal named Lori showed me where to go and what to do 
    • The food was: carnitas, refried beans, and rice
    • One gal, who must have helped organize the event, recognized that I didn't fit in and was not part of this group.  I don't understand--I'm just a filthy, dirty, stinky hiker.  I guess I don't blend in with normal society.  Anyway, she told me I needed to leave after eating. I had no problem because that was my plan anyway
    • While eating, Lori came and talked with me and got me a water.  Lori was very gracious.
    • Lori asked if I got lonely
      • I said, "I talk with a lot of hikers and sometimes camp with other hikers." 
      • I also get to walk with God every day.  He keeps my mind occupied
I do miss Becky's company.  
I need to dispel one notion--that my getting dizzy and short of breath was due to my blood pressure. 
    • May 30-31 when I went to urgent care and then to emergency room at the hospital, my blood pressure was checked half a dozen times. 
    • When I asked one nurse, "How are we doing?" she said, "Your BP is good." 
    • When they released me from the hospital, I was told, "Drink more, eat more."  That's it.  
Long as I take care of business--eating and drinking--getting dizzy won't happen. 

 Becky needs to butt in here.  I saw a post on Facebook in the PCT Class of 2017 about a gal who had to leave the trail due to injuries.  She had food she wanted to share with hikers who had truly hit hiker hunger.  She offered a day's worth food free in exchange for a review.  She's writing a cookbook for hikers and wants to know how her recipes go over.  She's the Backcountry Foodie and a registered dietician. 

Here's what was in Kevin's box:
  • Sweet and Savory couscous--ingredients: couscous, organic cherries and raisins, carrots, onions, almonds, vegetable bouillion, chili powder, garlic powder, brown sugar, orange peel, 2 packets of olive oil. 
    • Very good

  • Chocolate peanut butter milkshake--ingredients: Carnation instant breakfast, peanut powder, whole milk powder
    • Very good 

  • Raisin Pecan Granola--ingredients:  rolled oats, wheat germ, organic stretcher, unsweetened coconut, brown sugar, pecans, agave, vegetable, organic pure vanilla extract, organic raisins
  • Parmesan Pesto Ramen--ingredients: Ramen noodles, pine nuts, basil, parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt to taste.
    • I'm not a Ramen fan.  I've watched a lot of hikers eat Ramen at the end of the day.  I wouldn't make it on Ramen alone. 


  1. A few thoughts:

    1. Putting in days where massive gains of elevation are possible on the PCT. Compared to most trails I'm used to, on the PCT the grade for gaining elevation is gentle allowing you to gain elevation without slowing down as much. On days where you are constantly on hills, it adds up quick.

    2. Taking care of yourself is one of the most important parts of thru hiking. Dad so far has been iffy in that regard. It seems like he is finally doing a good job of it.

  2. You are amazing Kevin!! God and your family are with you every step!!!!!