Nick Belcaster

Adventure Writer PCT NOBO '18 👣 @pctassociation 2018 P3 Hiker 📷: Sony a6000

Radio silence lately, but have been getting the rest I hadn't even realized we so desperately needed. Here's the scoop: Got sick with an upper respitory infection leaving Shelter Cove and dipped off trail to Bend, then jumped up to near Portland to join some family friends and recuperate. Headed to Trail Days tomorrow and hope to see a lot of familiar faces, then hiking across the home state! WA here we come.
There's a trail under all these blowdowns, trust me. I swear I left it right here...
I think we've been out in these woods a bit too long...
Me: Got any trees? State of Oregon, dressed in flannel: Ye-up. We got trees.
Going stir crazy in this smoky Ashland motel, take me back to the tent!
This was a difficult post to write. The entire trail I've had it in my mind that staying true to the continuous footpath was what I wanted it do. It meant something to me to have the grit to push through arduous sections of trail, to say I kept going when things got rough. Lately, however, I've been feeling the tug at my feet to move on. So for a number of reasons, primarily a heady fire season in California, general fatigue on Erika's part and a slipping of time, we are deciding to flip up to Ashland, Oregon and hike on from there. The plan once we tag the monument will be to head back to Norcal to finish the 400 mile section we skipped, hitting it in the fall when the heat and wildfires have slacked off. It's not ideal, but life doesn't deal in absolutisms. It bends toward whatever arc it feels like. So today we grabbed a 1.5 hour hitch out of Quincy in the back of a pickup (sorry Mom) to Oroville, where hopefully we can get a bus toward Ashland tomorrow. Fingers crossed that I5 stays open and we can get past the fires burning outside of Redding, CA. The trail is a wheel, and it spins off great beauty, abject terror, dizzying glory, fascinating minutiae of human life, an understanding of a grander scheme. But above all else, that brown gossamer thread out there, it twists. It turns. Jumps to a high granite ridge and dives to the nadirs of deep desert valleys. There's a life in it, and I'm just doing my best to follow it as closely as I can.
Made it through Donner Pass in one long day, and didn't even have to eat anybody. Good day.
Missing this girly tonight. Erika jumped off trail in Truckee a few days ago to take some time and consider if she wants to hike on. The past two days without her have honestly been two of the hardest for me. As bad as I just want to John Wayne it and be the hard thruhiking man, it's really hard to go from hiking with your partner for 1,000+ miles to sleeping in your two person tent alone. Whatever she choses, I'm going to try and push on and complete this thing, but it will be just that much harder without her.
Not a sunset or a sunrise, but a wildfire. The Ferguson Fire burning right outside of Yosemite National Park, taken around 1AM the morning after we had walked through the same lightning storm that started this blaze.
What they bitin' on today? 🐟
The Sierras sure ended with a bang. Passed the 1,000 mile mark, walked beneath an intense lightning and hail storm, watched a wildfire start and topped it off with cowboying at the bleeding edge of those granite peaks.
Don't mind me, just passing thru. 1,000 miles in and hitting the groove. Did a 28 mile day yesterday and cruised it, finally feeling like the well-oiled hiking machine I'm going to have to be to make it to Canada in time. Only 1,650 to go!
We gain the ridge that strings together the small peaks, moving along a narrow catwalk cut into the high line and take our views over the other side, a steep cliffed edge into valleys upon valleys. Eventually we come to a wide flat open ridge, and lay out our sleeping pads on the bare earth, perched atop a great prominence with views of the mountains we've known and left, and the mountains we've still yet to meet. I'd call this a room with a view.
First rainbow of the trip pulled out of Dorothy Lak......... ah. Alright. Well bye then.
Our stately DCF Xanadu. The Duplex has been a killer shelter on trail, it resolved all the issues we had with our previous shelter, and the silly thing weighs close to naught. As Bueller would put it: It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.
Man, they really weren't kidding about this "Thousand Islands" thing.
"I want to climb that....oh and that.....and that.....and oh man look at that! Splitter."
Almost forgot to post this! Many thanks to the @pctassociation for their support through the P3 Hiker Program, as well as the corporate sponsors @salomon and @ospreypacks ! It has been an honor to carry the uh, flag (OK, towel. Actually much more handy).
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