Thankfully most of the areas we have walked through on the Pacific Crest Trail are undisturbed and in their natural state. Recently, however, we have travelled through a great deal of national forest land, which the US government has dubbed “the land of many uses”. In addition to hiking, these uses include include logging and mining.
It was shocking for us to walk through dense forest one moment and into an almost clear cut section the next. Seeing destroyed forest was incredibly depressing, and North Star started to tear up. In addition to the cut trees, almost all the vegetation had been ripped up by heavy machinery. It would take hundreds of years for the forest to fully reestablish itself. The land was devastated.
To our relief, the trail continued on to steeper slopes which had never been logged. The mature trees there were magnificent.
Day 94: Drakesbad Guest Ranch (Mile 1353.5)-Badger Mountain (Mile 1371); 17.5 miles
After a hearty breakfast at the Drakesbad Guest Ranch, we set out northward on the Pacific Crest Trail. The trail was mostly flat and the weather pleasant, with a few puffy clouds forming over Lower Twin Lake.
We walked through a spacious pine forest. Wildflowers and small clusters of grass grew where gaps in the tree canopy allowed light to reach the ground.
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.
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.