Another cold night snuggled with my Pashmina and gravity filter. Boy am I exhausted! We decided to do 25 miles today and another 25 tomorrow in order to get to Pie Town before a storm hits. I am so ready for sleep. Overall a smooth day actually, just a bit long.
It was a bit of a slower start due to trail finding issues. No trail, just blazes, which I thought was pretty fun actually, but Wide Angle seemed a bit frustrated at. It is nice to just be able to cruise and rock out the miles, but, sometimes things just don't work out that way. It was 10 miles of that until we hit a dirt road and then cruise control until our goal for the night, the Manga Lookout. Not an exceptionally significant day, though I did enjoy my music again and shared it with the others for stretches of hiking.
There was a fair amount of up and down with inclines gained and lost, but the way was fairly clear, so that was pleasant enough. We did manage to get out of the burn and blow down areas and then it was uphill for a long while before getting to the lookout. I was heading uphill, getting grumpy when I saw the smaller peak to my left and a much higher one in front of me. I thought to myself that the lookout MIGHT be on the smaller peak, maybe? But I knew in my heart that the lookout would be on the highest point around. So, as my heart sank, my feet kept pulling me upward.
I got to the Manga Lookout around 7:00 PM and dropped all my stuff in the little campground. The watch tower was another climb up stairs, but was in such a state of exhaustion I just made myself put one foot in front of the other in hopes that I would be able to lay my sleeping bag on a floor with a roof and stay the night up there. As I tried to open the bottom hatch I heard some shuffling, not something I was expecting, and a man's voice called out to me asking who I was. I told him I was a CDT hiker and he let me up. Apparently the place was closed for the day, but since I was already there....cool. So I checked out the views and he explained the way I'd be heading to get into Pie Town and even to Grants. Very neat.
He shared some of his personal water with me, which was really kind, and I set up my tent next to a fire pit. All of a sudden I see someone and it isn't Wide-Angle or Ratna! It's so disconcerting to meet others after so long not seeing many people. It was Patches and Lint. Both very fast hikers. It turns out Lint is working on his triple triple crown! So this is his 3rd go at doing all three long trails, the PCT, AT, and CDT! Very impressive.
They decided to camp off the high point and shortly after they left Wide-Angle and Ratna showed up. Unfortunately the watch tower was really closed off at this point, so we all warmed ourselves by the fire and ate dinner late. It was chilly up there, but I was just too tired to care and move down the mountain a bit.