Belden to Highway 36

June 25th, 2013
By: Paul N.

I started at Belden about 4pm Thursday (6/20/13) and camped at Myrtle Flat that night. The trail was clear of downed trees but could definitely use some brush clearing. Lots of poison oak all along the trail edges. The next day between Myrtle Flat and Poison Spring the brush got worse – in places it wasn’t clear just where the trail was, given that the bushes had grown together and the trail underneath was pretty eroded in places. For a while, it felt as though I was going cross country. That said, those guys that did the logging of the trail in May, clearing it of downed trees did a great job. There were almost zero blocking the trail through that area which was wonderful. (and plenty of fresh saw cuts and evidence that someone had been hard at work there clearing the trail).

North of Poison Spring I started to encounter a few downed trees (and mosquitos). I loaded up with water at Cold Springs, (but not enough it turned out later the next day), and made a dry camp at Humboldt Summit Friday night. Nobody else there until some car campers came by about midnight. Nice camp though and wonderful views and no mosquitos! Next morning I left early hoping for water along the way somewhere, but never did find any until reaching Soldier Springs about 4pm, and I was hot, tired, and thirsty by then. The five miles or so after the Butt Mountain junction had quite a few big downed trees across the trail, some difficult to get around.

Another thing I noticed which concerned me for a while was that in that same five mile section there were virtually no trail “diamond” markers. Don’t know why they were missing on that piece of trail. I had seen them faithfully everywhere else along the way, and because I was essentially out of water by then, it was a bit worrisome. Had me a little bit spooked, but I couldn’t quite imagine that I had gotten off on some side trail. When I came across the “Midpoint” marker, I was happy and relieved. Wrote in my first trail log there.

Saturday night I camped at Soldier Creek, a small but very nice spot right next to the water. I drank a lot of water when I got there. And then I hiked out to Highway 36 by 9am on Sunday.

So my recommendations for this part of Section N would be some serious brushing south of Poison Spring, some log clearing north of Butt Mtn junction, along with some diamond (or better yet) – PCT Trail markers.

I didn’t see any rattlesnakes, and watched for ticks but wasn’t aware of having any of them find me. Saw several deer, lots of great birds, tons of beautiful wildflowers, one big buzzard, and one bear that was scrambling to get away from me even though he was at some distance away already.