Oh Frog Mountain, I (Quiz) was so excited to camp on your beautiful summit but not only did I see 0 frogs I didn’t even hear any. I did see 1 tadpole on my journey down the mountain today but I’m pretty sure I was technically off Frog Mountain by then. It’s ok though, I have seen so many frogs this trip I will survive.
We had coffee and breakfast in camp today as we had a good view and phone service. There is such a nice mix of sub alpine flora up here, clumps of slightly stunted weird looking pines, low manzanita scrub and grassy meadows, with sneaky half hidden patches of snow. Today is all descent and we thought we were going to glide on down the mountain into Belden before lunch. We were wrong!
Somehow the path was rocky and rubble covered enough that we were moving slower than when walking uphill the day before. Despite hard terrain it was really pretty and we descended off Frog Mountain into a valley that we would follow all the way to Belden. Just before this valley we ran into Snitch and Baywatch who had finished the Sierra and were now powering on through. Mushy walked with them for most of the desert and it was a nice catch up. They said they would push so we can walk together in Oregon but I fear they will pass us in a flash and we won’t be able to keep up.
In the valley we had our first of many crossings of Chips Creek. It was small and easily crossable here but further down became a raging shoes off affair. We me The Prodigy and his trail crew for the 4th time and were greeted with a loud “MENTAL SNAKES!”. They were moving huge rocks and fixing up heavily eroded trail in the growing heat, it looked like really hard work so thanks trail crews, you do a fantastic job!
The heat was building and the faces of all the NOBO hikers we passed were getting redder and redder. So where ours as the path mysteriously kept going up even though this is one of the largest descent/climbs on the PCT, over 5000ft. Funnily enough we mused that such a climb is nearly impossible in Australia as our tallest mountain is just over 6000ft.
After what felt like eternity and many many stream crossings later we could see the mighty Feather River in the bottom of the valley. At lower elevations the side of the trail was festooned with berry bushes some just ripe enough to eat. This slowed down our progress as no one can go past delicious free fruit, especially when you have been eating long life hiker food for over 3 months.
Belden is a cute resort by the river which called to me nearly as strongly as club sandwiches and onion rings. Zydeco was at the bar and we joined him for food and beers and wifi. I chatted with the local bar staff and they all said here was a much better place to hitch to the I5 than Quincy and so a new plan was born, we are hitching north tomorrow! This also means we don’t have to do the long hot climb out of Belden, bonus.
We brought some beer, found some laundry detergent in the hiker box and retreated downstream to a great campsite on the sandy banks of the river. We all went swimming, even Mushy who had to be pushed in (on request). Using our waterproof stuff sacks we washed our clothes so as not to pong out our lovely future hitches. Don’t worry we tipped our dirty water out far from the river. Feeling clean and relaxed we started our brief holiday from our holiday, we are looking forward to hiking with the girl gang again!