Saturday, July 07, 2012

Day 76-It's Okay to Admit We're First-Time Ravers

Buke's Summit Road at mile 1269 to Belden at mile 1289

The ridge before town
I had the luxury of sleeping in a bed last night (the guys were camped outside) but I was the first one up so I was on breakfast duty: bacon, eggs, and left over desserts.  I woke up at my usual time so I was pretty hungry when everything was ready around 8:30.  Everything seemed really good to me.

We cleaned up, packed up, and drove up to the trail. We said our thank yous and goodbye's and started to hike.  We we back on trail at 10:30-it was hot and we had five miles of uphill in front of us.

If the climb hadn't been in the sun it would have been easy.  The first couple miles were in direct sun, but then slowly the pine forest started to take over. Portrait and FastLayne stopped for a break in the shade with a view out to the valley, but when Opus and I got to them, we decided to keep going. I know I felt like I had a rhythm going and we were close to the top, and I wasn't hungry.

It didn't take us long to get to the top of Spanish Mountain (the top was on a .6 side trail that we had no interest in doing) and then we took a break on some logs in the shade. I ate a candy bar while waiting for the other two to arrive.  Once they did we tried to nail down a plan for the day:  Belden was within striking distance. It was clear we would get there around 7, so after the grill and store was closed and maybe too late to call the trail angels to pick us up. Or we could stop short and go into town in the morning. Or skip town-which was what I was leaning towards. At the end of the break we had decided nothing.

The trail had some rolling ups and downs-which always seem a little unusual to me.  The trail usually likes to do one thing thing, be it up or down, for mile after mile: like the last seven miles before Belden where all down hill.

We stopped for another break, this time a late lunch. Still no decision was made about town. I was still happy with my stir fry so I didn't care about having a burger in town. After lunch the trail leveled out. We stopped for water a couple of times. The trail went out onto a ridge and we all stopped to stare at the trail on the other side of the valley climbing out of Belden:  it did not look fun.

We took a quick break right before the down started. Then away we went. About two miles in the trail was somewhat over grown, but thankfully that didn't last long. The gnats circling my face seemed to have no intention of leaving me alone.  With every switchback down at seemed to get a little hotter and a little more humid. I could see the river at the bottom of the climb-it seemed to be waiting just for me. I could also hear music. At first it sounded like a car with an impressive sound system was near by, but the guidebook warned us about this.

Yogi calls Belden creepy and said the town has raves every weekend. We hadn't really believed her, but the base was throbbing from nearly five trail miles away. It got loader as I got closer. And then, like water circling the drain, I was down. The trail goes right through town (we need their bridge to get over the river) and for the weekend the trail went right through their festival.

As we walked, a little slack jawed and wide eyed at all the party goers, people called out greetings to us. Who knew ravers like hikers so much?  We stuck out as we walked:  everybody else seemed to be in swim suites or something shiny (or both). I felt very over dressed.  We got directions to the water front from a group of wet ravers and we made our way among the ravers to the small beach on the river.

We dropped our packs and changed into our version of swim wear. Opus stayed on shore, clearly unimpressed with the festivities going on while three of us waded into the water. It felt perfect after a hot day of hiking. After a little while we got out and Opus picked up his pack, said it wasn't his scene, and hiked on. We waved when we saw him cross the bridge near us. It wasn't my scene either, but it was too strange to pass up-and we'd already been offered food by a few people.

We wandered around, taking it in, and found an out of the way campsite. The music could still be heard, but to get away from it meant hiking a handful more miles. After camp was up we went off in search of free food.

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