Belden - Chester
Hi Uncle Ken & Aunt Rox!
Karrie & I have so much to thank you for! First, a long overdue thank you for the Calendar & Farmer's Almanac! Also, thank you for sending us your SPOT, & now a huge thank you for your donation to our hike! You guys have been looking out for us so much & we truly appreciate it.
Yesterday as Karrie & I made our way down the trail to a town called Belden, we saw a fire burning on the next mountain. We soon learned there was a forest fire on the PCT & that the trail was closed. This was disappointing not only because we would have to road detour around this section, but also because we would be missing the official mid-way marker at mile 1325.
Road walks can be rather miserable because they are hot, unshaded, & generally less scenic, but today ended up being great! It started off with a delicious breakfast at the local cafe with our friends Swiss Army, Lunch Box, & Caveman Express. From there Caveman, Karrie, & I started down the road, which we quickly learned was lined with Blackberry bushes! A trail lined with free food is basically a hiker's dream come true, so we stopped often.
We were soon caught by our trail angel friend Becca who was out on a bike ride. She offered to keep us company on our hike & show us which way to go when the road forked near the Belden dam. The company was great, & just about the time she turned back another great friend of ours, named Gut Feeling, caught us. The 4 of us had a blast talking & hiking side by side up the untraveled dirt road.
The detour eventually took us by Butt Valley Reservoir which despite its terrible name, was actually quite beautiful. (We also had fun taking pictures with the sign!) Once past the reservoir we made our way into a town called Chester to celebrate our completion of the first half of the PCT! The 4 of us went to an awesome 50's style diner & feasted on milkshakes, burgers, & bottomless fries. (A thru-hiker never passes on a chance to eat unlimited quantities of food.)
Even though we didn't get to see the mid-way marker, today ended up being one of my favorite days of this adventure.
Thank you again for all of your generosity! We can't wait to see you guys at Kyle & Kelly's wedding! Karrie is excited to meet you!
Love, Jake & Karrie
21 mile detour