It was difficult to convince the horses that we should leave this morning, when we had spent the night in such a beautiful meadow. But I was looking forward to a fairly short ride that would bring us into Belden by the late afternoon, so eventually we packed up and hit the trail.
Soon after we started, we passed Buck Lake, and then began the long descent into Belden.
When I arrived in Belden in 2014, I was riding late at night, so I didn't really get to enjoy the scenery. And there was a rave in progress in Belden, which has a claim to fame as a site for music festivals, so all the way there, from miles away, I could see the lights flashing and eventually I could hear the music pulsing up from the valley as I got closer. This time there turned out to be a music event as well, but it was much more low-key and not nearly as crowded or wild as the previous one that greeted me.
One of the nicest things about Belden, from a rider's perspective, is the huge shady corral that the horses get to enjoy there. And I was able to feel secure leaving them there, happily resting, while I walked into the "town" (hard to call a place that consists of a lodge and restaurant and a handful of outbuildings a town, but that's how they refer to it), and got some great food and finally had a chance to socialize a little with some of my fellow PCT hikers.