The three of us - Roadrunner, Autopilot and I - hike out around 5h30. Download and Twocan (Phillip) left an hour earlier. At the top of the climb out of Belden we catch up to them.
We push on and take a nice lunch break at an off-trail watersource 22 miles on. We are feeling great though and we excited to hike om as we are approaching the pct midpoint! 1325 miles. We get there around 17h20. The signpost itself is rather disappointing but it's still great to pass. Finally closer to Canada than Mexico. Roadrunner and Autopilot drink the soda they packed out from Caribou Crossroads for this occasion. I got thirsty - greedy - and drank it yesterday during dinner. We take some pictures and then decide to have dinner here before hiking om another 11 miles to make it a 40 mile - 64.4 km - day. Doing something crazy to mix things up. And it would mean 17 instead of 28 miles tomorrow to get to Drakesbad Resort.
35 miles into the day, at 20h, we heard something in the bushes. I figured it was yet another deer as we'd seen a few already today but then Roadrunner pointed to a bear running down the hill away from us into the woods. I'VE SEEN A BEAR! For sure the most excited I've been on trail. Especially since I had given up hope of seeing one after Yosemite.
Around 21h30, after 16 hours of hiking we hit mile 40 for the day. Soon after we put up our tents in the forest next to the trail on a flat spot covered with soft pine needles. What a day!