Last night a man who drives a minicopper with a very small trolley attached to the back (looks as ridiculous as is sounds) did several trips past our tent and down to his campsite. His torch shone brightly into our tent and his dog barked loudly every time there was a stirring. He would quickly hush it but never the less it kept us up until after hiker midnight. Bruce also informed me in the morning that there had also been screeching trains passing intermittently during the night so when he asked that we hit the snooze button and wake up a little later than planned I understood why. We were out of Belden by 7, ready for the huge climb we had ahead of us, just over 1,500 m to be exact.
Our beginning elevation was around 675 metres and we would end up at 2157 m. So we began, Bruce went off like a shotgun and I maintained my own pace behind. After about 600 m of climbing I passed a very redfaced Bruce filtering water. I didn’t think much of it and kept walking. By 10 I had done 9 miles of the 14 miles climb. I was at a beautiful river. I shed my clothes and went for a swim, sat in the shade and ate some snacks thinking about the lovely scenery from the mornings climb. There had been plenty of water, many little creek crossings and a few rock scrambles. The forest was thick, it could have been hones to fairys and goblins. I got chilly and crossed the river letting my sweaty wet clothes dry in the sun while I filtered water and waited for Bruce. He turned up an hour later, hot and slightly dazed. He has pushed himself to the point of exhaustion early in the morning and had had to take many break, drink much water and nurse himself up the climb. Bruce hates insects and so to find my clothes covered in bees and butterfly’s drinking my delicious sweat he freaked out a little bit and ran up the trail till he found a reasonably safe spot to have some lunch.
Finally after breaking for 1.5 hours I put my pack back on and we finished the climb. The trail opens out and rewards you with an incredible vista of the forest and lakes below. We stopped shortly after beginning to swim in a heavenly pool situated perfectly between two waterfalls. Water cascades down into a pool made for 2 people, before falling steeply down the vertical drop again. From here you can look out into the forest the climb you’ve just done. It was freezing so we did a few quick ins and outs and sat by the waters edge for a while.
Bruce realised he had left his knife back at the lunch spot while trying to escape a ‘killer’ bee. We got within less than a Km of the summit and I realised I had left my sunnies there also. Eventually we arrived at the top, we took another long break and ate lots of our food. The climb up is really beautiful, mainly you are in forest and occasionally meadows. It’s worth taking the day and stopping off at any swimming spots that take your fancy. There are some lovely campsites also which if you didn’t want to stay in noisy Belden might be worth considering.
Bruce was also bitten by an ant three times. It really hasn’t been his day. We decided to walk a final 5 miles to Cold Spring. Along the way we stopped for water and I fixed up all the back rubbing Bruce was getting. We met a couple of SoBo walkers to look out for our lost things.
We went over a bunch of snow drifts, the snow was more compact than the Sierra. It was an easy walk after the long climb and we finally had breath and energy to talk to one another. Another couple where in camp when we arrived around 6. They had started a fire to keep the mozzies at bay. We ate dinner with them and went to bed.