Mile 722 to mile 745, then 1.8 miles to Horseshoe meadow campground, 25 miles
Cost: Dow Villa Hotel with Howard, $109
I woke at 5am and was walking just before 6, I had a long day ahead. Howard and I had arranged for him to park at Horseshoe meadow campground then hike the 1.7 miles to the trail, that way there would be no missing each other as there were 3 different trails to get to the car park.
I hiked fast and ate snacks so I didn’t need to stop. By 10am I needed to fill up on water so I took a detour to find a spring and decided to cook a pasta dinner there (last night’s dinner), to give me the energy I needed for today.
I ate and hiked on, passing KC but no-one else. I needed to get to mile 744.5, that was all I could think about. Then I would see Howard and he would whisk me away to Lone Pine. I didn’t know how long he was here for or where we would stay but knew we would figure everything out when we met.
Just before mile 744.5 I was walking along and Howard appeared from behind a tree! He filmed me coming up the trail and greeted me with a hug and beer and lots of chocolate and sweets from England. I sat down and we caught up while waiting for KC to come up the trail then she sat with us and gratefully accepted the beers and food that Howard gave her. Turns out Howard had been on the trail for a few hours handing out beers and had met Smokey, Mountain Prana and Haiku.
We said goodbye to KC and hiked the 1.8 mile to the carpark – with Howard carrying my pack! We found a room at the historic Dow Villa Hotel, ate a steak dinner washed down with a margarita and red wine and had a lovely night catching up.