The day started with an hour of blog picture uploading while waiting for the lodge to open followed by a nice breakfast at the lodge. I arrived first and started eating while Owl and Phoenix packed up. Then they joined me as I was finishing and I went back to the cabin to pack up and do the dishes and get out by check-out time. We arranged a ride in the truck of one of the resort operators back to the trailhead and started hiking together.
I was in the lead, but at some point, I started seeing pole drag marks on the trail like Phoenix would leave. I stopped at an immaculately clean privy and, when I came out, I talked to a man parked in the parking area enjoying the weather. Apparently it was something he did often:
“You guys always go straight for that privy. I much prefer the outdoors.”
But the point is that he asked me if I was Owl. Phoenix had wanted to send a message she was a half-hour ahead. Which was before I even reached the parking area. Conclusion? She had taken a different trail that shortcut the PCT and gotten in the lead.
I knew where she was planning to stop for the night, but it was getting dark by the time I came near that area. I didn’t see her tent as I passed it by, but I could see plenty of city lights down in the valley.
I kept on a bit further until Pilot Rock. I couldn’t quite see it in the dark, but I expected it would be a spectacular sight in the morning based on the looming prominences near where I was tenting.
It was windy and cold and just starting to rain as I set up my tent. I pulled everything under the fly and cooked in the vestibule once I was snug in bed.
Total distance: 19 miles