The third day was like a twilight zone episode. It was beautiful hike, of course. Nice weather, good temperature. Gorgeous views.
It was weird.
Was there something doing on that I should be aware of? Was the trail closed? Was there a great big party somewhere that everyone else had gone to, but nobody invited me to? Did they not invite me on purpose? Why did nobody like me?
"I'm sorry, did I wake you? Are there other spots for tents here?"
"Chef?" I said. "Is that Chef?"
"Yeah. Pink Lady?"
"Yup. And yes, there are lots of flat spots for tents."
The next day, I was up and out while Chef slept in. I saw Dentist and Sunshine (also sleeping in) but then, once again, nobody. Nobody at all until about 3 pm, when Stryker, who I hadn't seen since Kennedy Meadows North, joined me in watering up at a stream.
"Is the trail especially empty?" I asked.
"I haven't noticed." he said. "I has some friends join me at Mt Shasta for a few days and we're ready to kill each other."
Just then his friends showed up, and the four of them took off like they were in some kind of speed challenge.
It was back to me,myself, and I.
I was kind of nervous about getting a ride into town; the road looked pretty deserted. And there was no cell service. But I went to the edge of the road and within 10 minutes, I was in the back seat of a dilapidated car with three wet dogs, on my way to Etna!