Day 95: (19.5 miles)
mile 1270 – 1289.5
Just before we leave for the pancake breakfast another hiker, Tortuga arrives. Tortuga is our age and started from Campo one day after us, March 31. We talk about our travels and are amazed it’s taken over 1200 miles for us to cross paths. We have quite a bit in common. He and Paul have the same packs, shoes and very similar clothing. Tortuga has just retired from the Forest Service., and his son-in-law’s parents live in San Clemente. We head out to the pancake breakfast, packs in tow. Terry takes us by surprise and treats us to breakfast. Awesome. We are greeted by friendly smiles and comments congratulating us for getting this far on the PCT. There looks to be about 200 people in attendance, a raffle for gift baskets and assorted consumables is held. Buck Lake Fourth of July t-shirts were being sold (wish we would have bought one and mailed it home). Alas, it became time for us to leave this wonderfully relaxing hamlet, so we gather our gear and make one last pit stop before we attempt to hitch up the road to Buck’s Pass. Before Paul even gets his pack on he is approached by a couple who inquire as to whether he is hiking the PCT. Paul responds that he/we are. The couple, who is near about our age asks if we keep a blog, as they follow a few. Paul tells them our blog and low and behold ours is one they follow! We talk about some of our trail adventures and they asks us if we need a place to stay or a ride. We tell them a ride to the trailhead would be greatly appreciated. They pull their car around and we load up.
They are Marc and Dianne, and avid hikers. Marc is preparing to so the John Muir Trail, and asks lots of gear questions. We give him as much information as we can in the short period of time it takes to drive to the trailhead. They give us some good information about what to expect over the next several miles. We thank them for the ride and wish Marc good luck with the JMT. Our goal is to make the 20 miles to Belden and the Braatans at little haven.
The trail was fairly easy with the exception of the 35 downhill switchbacks… of which I trip badly at switchback #4 (so much for staying “clean”). Near switchback #20-25 we start to hear music, techno bass music. We thought the rave party was supposed to he over. When we get to Belden Town Resort (the PCT goes right through the ” town”) we are greeted by costumed people with vacant eyes and liquid smiles…”welcome” they say, “enjoy”, ” stay a while, you’re just in time for the best part…it’s a space theme”. Hmm. Space theme. Appropriate. Everyone is in shiny, or dayglow colors. Some have interesting hairdos… like a blind monkey cut and colored their hair. We run into a few thru-hikers we know and they implore us to stay, at least for the experience and the extraordinary people watching, and direct us to the area they’ve set aside for the thru-hikers. As it’s late, we succumb to “peer pressure” and decide to stay, thus checking off another item from the “bucket list”. This was quite the experience. We were told by the shop keep at the resort store, that “Belden Town is what ever you want it to be. We don’t have law enforcement here, so we police ourselves, but if it gets too out of hand we’ll call CHP and walk the guy across the bridge to them.” Awesome, we reply. We purchase snacks and some beer, walk back to set up our tent amongst the other hiker trash.
Tents of varied sizes, shape and condition are pitched everywhere. It reminded us of the transient encampments you see under bridges, but an encampment on steroids…actually Molly.
While we did not partake of the free flowing hallucinogens, we did dance for a bit in the dust storm of a dance floor to loud bass thumping techno music amongst interestingly clad happy huggy individuals.
While we only lasted to 11pm, the party was just reving up and went on till 4am. Even with the music thumping and loud drunken talking about “important” things using big words out of context, we get a few hours sleep…an experience to say the least, one that we are glad we didn’t pass up.