From Lassen to the Plumas Natl Forest/Belden

9/10: Up some switchbacks on a ridge above Belden. This morning as waking up next to old growth burnt fir at dawn a chipmunk or squirrel starts dropping chewed upon green, fresh, heavy pinecones around me. Loud, fast-falling and close. 3 were within a yard of me! I was getting bombed from way way above and got the hell outta there. Saw my 11th bear today, near CHIPS Creek.

Well - upon leaving Drakesbad, (which was an amazing and nourishing stopover) (& Lassen was superb as well) - decided not to explore the rumored hot springs around Willow Lake. Part of this decision was b/c I would try to catch the Belden PO on Fri before they close on weekends. So I started hauling ass. Then I realized the PO closes @ 1 - so I started hauling major ass! To the extent that on Thurs I hiked 31 miles. 6 after dark & then hustled & did 13 miles before Noon today...and no box at PO. What's the lesson? - Do resupply myself? Go look, explore for hot springs? Don't depend on others? Chill out, slow down? But resupply in Belden was ok plus hiker box at PO. Later I figured out that most of the free food I got from the PO's hiker box was years old and it tasted nasty and gave me a very gross aftertaste in my mouth after everything I ate. I opened a can of tuna spread and after tasting the tangy flavor, I checked the expiration date to see that it had expired 3 years ago.

At the midway/halfway pt - I'm looking at the register and hear/feel a slight swoop and the shriek of a rodent and I see a huge hawk? swoop back up in a beautiful graceful arc. The chipmunk was probably on the side of the tree staring, distracted by me and the hawk swooped so fast and so quickly from above that I never saw where it came from.

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