Since I had no tent to take down, I could save a few minutes packing up, and I was very eager to get going on this particular day.
First, I had to collect some water from the ground using a hand pump and filter it. And take pictures of the cabin of course.
Then I was off to the races. The trail was basically flat all day. It crossed a lot of roads and occasionally lost itself along them. I marked the direction in the dirt for Owl and Phoenix, who I assumed must be close behind.
I took lunch on a random hillside above Grizzly Creek where someone had once built a fire for no reason I could imagine. It wasn’t a great campsite. I didn’t go down to the nearby Prairie Lake, where the creek flowed because I had no time for side trips.
Around 4:30 in the afternoon, i turned right at another road crossing and walked into a closed campground on the shores of Hyatt Lake. At the end of the campground was a trail into the woods and across a dam below which I saw a lone fisherman. The road beyond met another paved road, and a few hundred yards up that road was my destination.
Hyatt Lake Resort. I went in the lodge to check in.
“Oh, you aren’t the guy who called for pickup from the trailhead at 6pm. I had assumed…”
“That was probably Owl. It’s okay if they stay in my cabin right?”
“Great, does the cabin have a microwave?”
“I don’t think so.”
“Too bad. That popcorn you’re selling over there looks pretty good. I’m going to go get a table over there and order some food, alright?”
I ordered a whole medium pizza for myself. It wasn’t that great as pizzas go, and I had eaten as much of it as I was going to when Owl and Phoenix came in. They had not only been picked up from the trail but had called ahead to order calzones to be ready when they arrived even though the kitchen was closing. I bought some hard lemonade and barbecue chips and led them to my cabin.
It was very nice. A well designed tiny home. We were all impressed. Owl especially so. It had everything you could want, including a microwave. I ran back to the store to get popcorn.
When I returned, Phoenix was already in the shower. I took one next. I set the temperature on the hot tub so that it would hopefully be hot enough for bathing in a couple of hours.
A couple of hours later, Owl and I gave the hot tub a shot. It was nice even though it was tepid at best. Mid-nineties and falling even though it was set to warm to 102. The heater was clearly out.
Since I hadn’t brought a towel, Owl got out first and ran inside to get me one. Turns out he grabbed a tiny “dog towel” that barely covered anything. And I had gone in naked because I didn’t want to pollute the hot tub water with my dirty hiking shorts. (The resort did not offer laundry for guests.) So I had to get out naked into the frigid night air, heave the cover onto the tub by myself, and run inside with barely enough towel to cover my front. Owl was very apologetic even as they both laughed.
The popcorn, alcohol, and chips went great with our lazing on the couch watching nature documentaries until we couldn’t keep our eyes open. My bedroom was very warm all night long. Owl and Phoenix shared the very spacious couch.
Total distance: 22 miles
Trail progress: 20 miles