Day 90: Belden Nearo to mile 1293.7

7.14.18. 6.7 miles.

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Ahhh I got to sleep in this morning, so luxurious. I also heard my alarm go off, so I guess I just didn’t hear my alarm earlier or it’s just intermittently working? Idk. I got out of my quilt and went to the bathroom and then packed all my things up and started charging my stuff, then went inside for breakfast. It was super good, and I got a blackberry milkshake as well, and it really was legendary! Tbh though, I really don’t know how to compare all these milkshakes I’ve drank, and they’re all good. I was able to buy enough food to get me to Chester, and then I bought a shower to freshen up. Soon enough, after socializing with some other hikers I hadn’t met yet, it was time for lunch and I got a burger & root beer float, then repacked everything and waited for the 1:00 shuttle back into Belden, run by a trail angel here who also opens her home to a small number of hikers in the summer. Once back in Belden, I got a soda at the restaurant, hoping they would have WiFi available, but I guess they’ve run out of data or whatever, even though the staff can use WiFi. I guess I just need to get to the top of this climb to get service!

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I lingered with other hikers who were there, all kind of debating when to start hiking. It was so hot, but I left at 3, knowing it would take me just as long to hike and would be just as hard an hour later. It was so hot, and the uphills were hard. After 1 mile in I found other hikers who had left before me down at a really nice creek, so I scrambled down to join them and soak my legs and shirt in the water. I stayed down there for about 30 min before continuing on. The next part of the climb was really rough. Lots of exposure and so much heat even though it was getting close to 5. I reached one stream and there were lots of hikers resting and getting water in the shade so I joined them, taking another longer break. I re-evaluated my goals for the night and decided I’d rather get to camp earlier and just wake up super early to finish the climb when it would be cooler than hike late into the night.

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I chose a tentsite listed on guthook’s about 3 miles from that stream, which made the rest of my day seem more manageable. The climb was really steep in parts but I made it to camp around 7:30 and another hiker, Sprinkles, was there so I joined her. I have yet to camp alone on this trip, but tonight could have been the first night, though I’m glad it’s not. I am still a little weirded out by camping completely alone, especially in a forest! We ate dinner together and chatted, she’s super nice! Now it’s time for bed, since I’m waking up at 4 tomorrow to start hiking earlier. I think this will start to become my new wake up time though just because it’s been so hot, worse than the desert, so it’s time to revert back to that mid-day siesta schedule of the desert, at least for now.