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Day 90-93: Halfway Between Mexico and Canada

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Day 90: Belden (Mile 1289)-Myrtle Flat (Mile 1296); 7 miles

We spent the first half of the day in the tiny town of Belden, which is tucked into a narrow canyon next to the Feather River.

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At the Belden trail angels’ cabin, which is appropriately named Little Haven, we took care of all the small tasks that had been piling up.

Soon, though, it was time to hit the trail again. We walked uphill out of the valley for a few miles. The climb was mostly forested, although some areas were burned and exposed. Even late in the day, the climb was hot.

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As dark approached, the trees grew thicker and water was plentiful. We camped near a creek.

Day 91: Myrtle Flat (Mile 1296)- Humboldt Summit (Mile 1315); 19 miles

Early in the day, we found banana slugs crawling on rocks near a creek. We had only seen them on the California coast previously, and were surprised to find them so far inland. We also saw a few waterfalls and crossed several creeks.

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We don’t just walk steadily down the trail all day — sometimes we get giddy and start dancing our way towards Canada.

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Late in the day, a deer walked right towards us on the trail, as if it were another hiker. It detoured slightly when it got within 25 feet, but we enjoyed the close view.

At sunset we found a sweet camp spot complete with mountain vista.

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Day 92: Humboldt Summit (Mile 1315)-Stover Springs (1338.5); 23.5 miles

We woke to a surprisingly cloudy morning. This was only our second seriously cloudy day of the entire trip so far. As we hiked, the wind chilled us, and it began sprinkling.

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After a few hours of walking, we passed the official halfway point of the Pacific Crest Trail! This was marked with a small stone post inscribed with the distance to Canada and to Mexico: 1325 miles. The distance in either direction was so large, it was hard to fully comprehend.

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We were happy to have reached this milestone (which it was, in the most literal sense) and to know we had much more adventuring ahead.

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Towards evening, the weather cleared up. We camped at a spring with Blueberry and Skippy, and enjoyed our dinner while chatting with them.

Day 93: Stover Springs (1338.5)-Drakesbad Guest Ranch (Mile 1353.5); 15 miles

Today we woke at 5:30 AM to try and reach Drakesbad Guest Ranch for their hiker lunch at 1 PM. North Star’s shins had been gradually improving, and we decided the 15 miles to the ranch were possible if we kept a steady pace.

As we walked, we caught glimpses of Mt. Lassen, still a bit snowy, in the distance.

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We were excited when we entered Lassen Volcanic National Park. As the name implies, much of the park consists of volcanos or volcanically formed features. We soon passed one, as the trail took us around Boiling Lake. We could hear and smell sulphur gas bubbling up through the water. The lake had a very unusual color, as did the shoreline.

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Right on schedule, we reached Drakesbad Guest Ranch at 1. We chowed down on their all-you-can-eat lunch. Afterwards we showered and they did our laundry for free.

Even better, North Star received a package containing new footwear. Her old insoles were really worn out, and we hoped these new arch supports and shoes would help her shins continue to improve.

At night, we feasted with a fun crowd of hikers.

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Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
— Mark Twain

24 Comments Post a comment
  1. Jeehhh, congratulations! :-D

    July 22, 2012
  2. Drew #

    Way to go! 2nd down and half the distance to go …. Really enjoy your story. Hope the 2nd half is even better. All the best, Drew

    July 22, 2012
  3. Cindy #

    Congratulations! And being just a bit older than you both :-), the Mark Twain quote is so true!

    July 22, 2012
    • Thanks Cindy! Adventure can definitely begin at any age. Big Wuss, who gave Shutterbug his trail name, is retired, and he was having a great time on the trail. Last we knew, he was way ahead of us!

      July 23, 2012
  4. Yes,yes,yes to the quote from Mark Twain. Forget your “story” of your past, it’s just a story. Forget the future, you will not be the same when it comes, and it’s also just a story. Now, today is all that matters. What ever you want to do, do it now.
    Bravo for your accomplishment.

    July 22, 2012
    • Thank you Klauss! Since you did it, you know how much effort is required. But the rewards are absolutely worth it. I like what you say about sticking to the present. It sounds almost Buddhist!

      July 23, 2012
  5. Margaret #

    I got to thinking….For us other folks, like me, I leave my house to go ‘out’ to nature for a short trip. For you 2 & others, it is leaving nature to come inside once in awhile to wash laundry. What a way to flip life upside down!

    July 22, 2012
    • We both agree and we like your formulation of this thought, Margaret. It can feel strange for us to be indoors now. We stopped at a campground yesterday and we thought about this as we watched people picnic there. When they left, they went back indoors, but we went back on the trail.

      July 23, 2012
  6. Half Slow #

    Great Great. Thank you for sharing. It sure sparks some more motivation in me and others.

    July 23, 2012
  7. Suzanne from Berkeley #

    Wow! Congratulations, you two, on already getting to the half-way mark. Quite an accomplishment. Hearing of the banana slug sighting, it is hard to believe that not so long ago you were hiking through So Cal desert scrub.
    That Mark Twain quote is a good one. It takes effort to get up and go do something AND from the comfort of the couch it can look unsurmountable. North Star and Shutterbug, thanks for the inspiration and reminder of the rewards that follow the effort, including the memories 20 years later…

    July 23, 2012
    • Thanks Suzanne! At first when we were selling off possessions and getting ready to leave our apartment, we had some trepidation, but now we are really happy and excited we went for it. We see and experience so much every day, like those banana slugs, that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Our lives are so full out here. Glad you like the quote.

      July 23, 2012
  8. Isaac Hacamo #

    Congratulations!! The most impressive is that you two look so great. Chris, I really like your beard, seriously. Good luck for the other half! I’ve been reading your stories and really enjoy them, thank you.

    July 23, 2012
  9. Jack Darr #

    Love seeing the photos, particularly of some of the people I met on the trail. Say hi to HeeSoo (spelling?) from Backpax if you see him again. I am glad your hike is going so well. I went back out last week to do Carson Pass to Donner Pass, a part of the Sierra I had not seen.

    July 25, 2012
    • Great that you are able to get back out and do more! We enjoyed chatting with HeeSoo and will definitely tell him hi if we run into him. Glad you like the photos, and we will keep walking our steady pace and stopping for every good photo opportunity we see.

      July 25, 2012
  10. dante #

    You are just now at Lassen, and on Saturday we will see you in Castella. That is WAY incredible! Looking forward to seeing you. Karin and I are getting all the stuff you asked for. Happy trails!
    Spidey

    July 25, 2012
  11. Jan Alexander #

    Banana slugs! And dancing along the trail! And what a great picture of you both at the half way point. Exciting!!!!! Your story continues to amaze me and everyone who is following you at my work. I have a big post-it saying HALF WAY on the giant map in my office. Veeery impressive!!!

    July 25, 2012
    • That’s great, Mom, so cool that you and your coworkers are following so closely on the map. There’s something about seeing progress on a map that is really satisfying. Sometimes I look at our Tracking page and zoom out to see how far we’ve come.

      July 25, 2012
  12. Brett Houser #

    I just finished following you to the midway point of the PCT. Thank you for keeping these posts during your adventure a few years ago. Very enjoyable read! I’m looking at the PCT for 2017. Thank you again. My wife and I love your story!

    March 20, 2016

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