July 28, 2011

Belden to Hwy 36/89, hiked July 16-19, pretty bad condition, though passable.

Belden to Myrtle Flat camp: Some trees blown down, and lots of brush grown completely over the trail. You know the trail is under you, but can’t see it. We met the Plumas NF woman in charge of their part of the trail (she was with a crew south of Belden), and she said they were on the Plumas part of the trail in May and the botanist with them said “don’t clear the brush, it will just grow back.” We saw lots of thru hikers in this area, so the trail is getting more use and should be brushed.

Half hour north of Myrtle Flat camp: Huge number of trees down over trail, about 100 yards of it. Looks like it came from an avalanche up above (you can see a waterfall and steep hillside).

Side creeks to Chips Creeks, below Poison Springs: Two of them had to be forded in sandals, water high but OK.

Poison (Andesite?) Springs over the top of the crest and down the steep north side toward Humbug Summit: This was the worst for navigation in the deep snow. No diamond trail markers on trees, when we needed them the most. We looked down tree wells for sawed logs and limbs to find the trail. Stay high on slope until you can descend to flat off the northeast nose of the crest.

Willow Creek: Camped there for water, worst mosquitoes ever. Cold Spring might be better.

One mile before Hwy 36/89: The Soldier Creek marsh has flooded the trail for about 2-300 yards, 6 inches to 2 feet. Rough and muddy and hard to see the bottom, hazardous as you step on branches and rocks. Better bare foot than with sandals that catch debris between sandal and foot.

Camping just north of trail (side trail to Carter Meadow) was very nice.