PCT mile: 1284
Belden is a very small township nestled on the banks of the Feather River just south of Lassen National Forest. It was once part of a hydraulic mining operation but was shutdown years ago. It’s very remote and impoverished so business is minimal until summer.
It could actually be a pretty cool place if it weren’t for the Rave festivals. Belden is the only place in California where there is no curfew on loud music. It’s that remote. Ahhhh!! As a result, for about 7 weekends in a row, ravers come from all around to hallucinate, do really weird crap, and consume massive quantities of alcohol. These all start on Thursday night and ends on Sunday.
As I was hanging out on Thursday, I was able to witness the beginning of this festival. These people are very strange. They are basically society’s rejects or maybe they’re aliens who’ve come to channel with the mother ship from Planet Belderon. It’s hard to tell.
I met the promoter and bouncer. Together, they easily tipped the scales at 700 lbs. I instantly thought they looked like Pizza the Hut in Spaceballs…with dreadlocks. Google him.
There were bare chested women walking around sporting their new piercings and leather g-strings. Gag! Let’s just say they weren’t from a Victoria’s Secret catalog.
One skinny young man, with about four teeth, saw me getting my gear together on the porch. He staggered up to me and started talking. I think it was English because I heard PCT. He was so wasted that he couldn’t form a complete sentence. As I was speaking, I heard him say, “Right on.”, “Cool man.”, and “Far out.” Two syllables…good job. This man has a future.
It was so hot, 95 degrees, that none of us wanted to attempt the 5,000 foot climb in the afternoon. We didn’t want to camp with the aliens either so we decided to cross the bridge and stay at the rest stop next to the trailhead. Epic mistake!
Hikers are in bed no later than 9pm and usually get up between 5-5:30am. Well, 9pm is when the rave started and didn’t finish until 6am. Are you kidding me???
I’ll attempt to describe the music. I’m still not convinced that it actually is music. There is no beginning or end. There are no lyrics, verses, or chorus. There is no beat or syncopated rhythm. There are no instruments. It’s basically electronic chaos…completely random, arbitrary, and friggin loud! In fact, there is no wildlife for miles around. Even the fish are gone. The bass is so loud that it shakes the ground and leaves from the trees. If Belden were on an earthquake fault, California would be screwed.
I also believe that it’s humanly impossible to listen to this chaos from dusk til dawn without some kind of mind altering chemical. Lots of it!
I’m convinced that the CIA could use this “music” as a form of interrogation. Put the suspect in a very bright room and blast this chaos. They’ll crack in 10 minutes.
So, I’m laying there trying to follow any kind of uniformity in what’s blasting from across the river. My brain short circuits like the Fembots in Austin Powers.
What a clash of cultures. The hiker loves the peaceful solitude of the mountains and wildlife within them. The raver escapes civilization only to completely shatter what nature is offering. The only sounds you’ll hear from a hiker are farts and footsteps…and there are plenty of both!
After the ravers are finished with their weekend delirium, they return to civilian life to continue their work on the “Make America Great Again” campaign.
I won’t be returning to Belden…ever! Tiz a silly place.
An update on my foot. Jennifer has sent me a new pair of shoes that I will pickup in Chester. I only have 45 miles to go! My foot pain is down to level 4 thus allowing me to write stories again. I feel like my sense of humor is actually returning. I love the encouragement that I’ve received.
The PCT midpoint is close! This is one of my major milestones. More on this later.