Tail angel Brenda Braaten lives near Belden. Today is the last day she is hosting thru-hikers. Lucky for us. Relieving for her. She picks us up from Belden (which I never entirely understand) and brings us to her house. From there, Namaste, Dirt Nap, Gizmo, and I walk down to Caribou Crossing (no Caribou exist here) which serves as post office, restaurant, convenience store, laundromat, and public shower. We get an amazing breakfast and then go back to Brenda’s place to sort ourselves out.
It’s fifty million degrees outside, so we hang out until it cools down a bit. I clean my clothes in a bucket, drink lots of ice water out of a green plastic cup, and take a shower. By 5:30pm it’s cool enough to hike. Brenda drives us (Namaste, Pac Man, Dirt Nap, and Gizmo) back to the trailhead. We make it only 6 miles before we decide to call it a day. Namaste plays some Norwegian death metal and then some ambient electronica. We scope out the collection of things left behind at a nearby camp site (a bucket of knives, a big blue tarp, and empty gas containers) and make ourselves comfortable in our temporary forest living room.