Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day 87: Belden to Frog Springs

Returning to the trailhead (2,330), we discovered my Platypus water bladder was leaking into my pack, soaking the insides and dripping from the bottom. Pulling everything from my sodden pack, we isolated the leak to a faulty connection between the bladder and hose, not a puncture. Refitting the hose, we refilled the bladder and were on our way.

The trail immediately started to climb. Poison oak lined the trail, long vines of it curling around innocent green plants and snaking across the trail. Poison oak remained the one constant as we passed through forest, thick shrubbery and blackberry vines, and a hot, exposed burn area with the charred remains of trees poking through a thick, green undergrowth.

Eventually we climbed out of the poison oak into a cool, shaded forest of towering pines and incense cedars mixed with shorter oaks and other trees. A tangle of dead logs, branches, and twigs jumbled with decomposing pine needles and cones choked out most of the undergrowth here. Here in the forest we passed yet another milestone: 1,300 miles!

Climbing out of the forest onto a ridge (6,960 ft), we noticed that the slate and granite rocks that lined the trail earlier that day had now been replaced by deep red volcanic rocks with bubbly air holes throughout formed by quickly cooling lava. When we passed Chili and Pepper's campsite, Pepper handed us a large volcanic rock and we all marveled at how light it was.

Reaching Frog Spring (which had tasty cold water but no frogs) we decided to camp for the night.

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