It drizzled rain on and off all night. I rolled up my wet tent and made my way down to the park office to eat breakfast. Ethan showed up right on time at 8:30 and I had to chug my tea so we could get started by 9am. Ethan is great company and I was happy to have a buddy for the next two days. It was going to a hard day with 4600 feet in elevation gain and just as much going down. Our goal was 14 miles. The hard hiking came just after Thundering Falls. We were rewarded with a view from the power lines that wasn’t worth taking a picture of. I saw two snakes that looked like garter snakes today. I didn’t see one of them until it was slithering franticly up the trail between my legs. I did quite a panic dance but I was alright. The whole day actually wasn’t worth many pictures until we reached the Lookout where we were spending the night.
The Lookout is a privately owned primitive cabin where hikers are welcome to stay when no one else is using it. There’s no water there so we each had to carry 3 liters up to have enough to cook and drink for the night and next morning. About 3 miles before the Lookout we were lucky to cross a dirt road where a couple was camped out cooking chili for hikers. They were also handing out free socks. We arrived at the look out at around 6 and there was one other hiker there. We thought we would have lots of room to spread out but before the sun went down there were close to 12 people inside and 4 outside tenting.
Ethan brought fancy dried mushrooms and spices to cook for dinner that smelled amazing. Ethan is an excellent cook off the trail too. All the people were a bit overwhelming so Ethan and I climbed the crows nest to catch the sunset. Soon after a group of 4 were up there too. An adventurous hiker climbed on the chimney to take pictures. At sun down I was exhausted and crawled into my sleeping bag hoping the mice would stay away. The cabin was loud with people talking and swooshing their stuff around. It would be a long night.
Miles: 1706.2 – 1720.3 (14.1)