Distance hiked: 25.1 miles / 40.4 km.
The trail magic continues! Flair Hair planned to meet up with me on the trail again on top of the huge climb out of Beldon, so he took most of my gear in his car and I was able to "slack pack" all day! We weren't 100% sure if the dirt road up there would be passable, so I kept some essentials with me and warmer layers in the off-chance I had to spend a night without my camping gear.
But at 11am I got the inReach message from him that he'd made it (after one road dead-ended and he found another way 😅), and he BBQ'ed burgers and sausages all day for hikers passing through which was also the most epic trail magic they'd had so far.
This section of trail is through the Dixie fire zone, a huge fire from last year that spans 83 miles of the trail. It's hot, and the trees provide no shade without their needles. The underbrush is completely burned to ash which coats the trail and creates fine dust that's making me filthy.
The climb started off with a creek aptly named "Bring-It-On Creek". There were reports of a hawk aggressively dive bombing hikers as they passed by it's nest, but I luckily did not encounter it. I also found pieces of fire hose that had melted and lay next to the trail, remnants of what was surely a great battle against the fire. In some places you can see sap that turned red in the fires and looks like blood, dripping from the bleeding trees.
I passed the 1300 mile mark but didn't see the marker - I was probably looking upwards at the dead trees.
I made good time with a light pack, doing the 25 miles to the top by 5:30pm just in time for another epic dinner! Flair Hair loaded me up with beer, sodas, wine, burgers, salad, freeze dried guacamole and low carb tortillas, chocolate, and a mini bottle of Fireball to celebrate at the halfway point tomorrow. He even had my tent set up when I arrived, with a great sunset view!
I'm properly refueled and ready to take on the rest of the trail, extremely grateful to Flair Hair for making the 10+ hour drive from LA just to bring on the magic!
Total trail mileage: 1311.9 miles / 2110.8 km