Though I got up early to make it into Belden my mid-day, I was still the last one out of camp. That's fine with me, as long as I'm able to get myself out of camp before the mosquitoes become active. I don't believe that was the case this morning. In fact the mosquitoes were bad enough that I held my business the entire 16 miles to Belden.
Those miles consisted of mostly flat or slightly downhill terrain that was covered with lush foliage and dense woods. As the trail started its final decent into Belden, the view into the valley opened up and I could see the full extend of the hills ahead. In fact, I could see as far ahead as Mt. Lassen, 50+ miles ahead and that made me very happy and excited for what lay ahead. The final decent was anything but easy. Sometimes covered in loose rock and other times covered in slippery mud, the trail switched back and fourth over the last 5 miles to town which was the only way anyone could have made it down the nearly vertical hill side.
Fortunately my pack was light from being out of food and not needed to carry much water, but I was hobbling into Belden as my feet felt the effects of hiking with shoes that have covered 600+ miles, countless snow covered passes and even more raging icy creeks.
This town did not have much in the way of food or gear supplies. The food that was available was nearly 100% more expensive than larger towns and 50% more expensive than other secluded mountain towns. Their restaurant did make one hell of a burger, but their ice cream machine was inoperative! NO!!! It seems a lot of the time when I most want a milkshake, the machine isn't working (example: Day 20 - Cajon Pass McDonald's).
I sent two supply boxes to the General Store. One with food, maps, vitamins and everything else I normally get in a resupply. The second box had shoes and a few gear items I had asked my Mom, who shipped most of my supplies from home, to include as well. The trouble was, the worker who went to get my boxes couldn't find the second box. I sat around for a good hour trying to figure out whether I should stay, or figure out some way to forward the box ahead. I desperately wanted to have new shoes before walking another step on the trail.
Fortunately the owner was around and I had a short conversation about not finding the other box which caused him to go look one more time in the back room. He took me with him this time and what do you know, my box was front and center. Later I'd found out the worker miss heard me and thought I said the second one was an envelope. This small town, though helpful, had an unfriendly feel to it, similar to Hiker Town back in the desert section.
With my resupply all figured out, I was happy to leave Belden with a pack full of food and NEW SHOES! I would continue to hike an additional 6.5 miles which took me half way up the next climb (known for being long and hot). Even though I climbed it in the evening, I can attest to it being hot (very exposed).
At camp I found Simon, the section hiker I camped with the night I left Sierra City, Strapless and Vertigo. We all ate dinner around a fire and got to know each other. All the normal things such as, "where are you from" to "why are you hiking the trail". I enjoyed all of their company.