I took my time getting ready and started hiking at 7:20. For the first half mile the trail climbed up to Frog Mountain. The trail was steep but the morning was fine and I got this kind of view.
Once on top I was walking in a meadow with wild flowers and a mother/child duo.
Sorry about the fuzziness but they don't stand still and the zoom on my phone isn't the best. Next up was Andesite Spring which was flowing well, if not at high volume.
The flowers around springs are stunning.
Here and there huge trees have come down. Sometimes across the trail, which necessitates crawling over, or sometimes they fall away from the trail. This giant tree had a huge root ball. I present a small selfie for your viewing pleasure.
Some open terrain before the steep, very steep descent into Chips Creek drainage.
Don't ever let anyone tell you that downhill hiking is easier than uphill. The trail after this became rocky, steep and very lush because there is so much water in this canyon. I had read somewhere that Chips Creek could be dangerous so I was a bit nervous about how difficult it could possibly be. The first crossing was ankle deep. Easy peasy.
The second crossing was less easy but still only calf deep in one spot. Some people take off their shoes to cross creeks and rivers. Not me. I figure my shoe tread is safer than any other choice and frankly, it feels fantastic to get my feet cooled off. Ahhhhhh.
More and more downhill and my legs were starting to hurt, nothing like an injury but just tired and achy. I could easily turn an ankle when I'm that tired so I was trying to factor that into my decision about where to end my day.
Myrtle Flat? Nope. Then I met a couple of hikers toiling up the trail and they recommended this spot. Water nearby, blackberries in fruit and it was less than a mile from where I met them. I rolled in here at 1:30pm and scoped out a place to hang my hammock.
Here is the dilemma I'm facing. Belden is only 5-6 miles away from my current spot. However, Belden is a resort that has music festivals every weekend during the summer. Today is Friday and this weekend the music starts at 5pm. The resort is full but my resupply box is there so I have to go in to get my stuff. (Plus the PCT goes right through the resort.) It's also hot as Hades down in that canyon. I had hoped to get a couple of miles from Belden today so I could get in there early tomorrow while it is cooler then try to climb out of the canyon before it gets too hot later in the day. Staying here tonight will make it harder to do that tomorrow, but truth be told, I've already put in 8.5 miles today and I have no wish to hike downhill for another 3 or 4 miles. My dogs are barking. So, in the interest of enjoyment and not hurrying, I believe I'm just gonna park it here for the rest of the day. Tomorrow will take care of itself.
By the way. The Sugar Pinecones are gigantic in this neck of the woods. For reference, my shoe is a women's size 10. I wouldn't want one of those pine ones landing on my head.