Crater Lake

Day 82

During the day’s first 11 miles, I came under almost constant mosquito attack. Fortunately I felt energized because I took only one break. Exposing my butt to pee felt risky, but had to be done. I also pulled off my head net long enough to eat a snack. To help pass the time, I listened to a couple Backpacker Radio episodes.

At Christi’s Spring, I stopped for water and noticed that the mosquitos were undeterred by Permethrin, which I applied to my shirt and pants while in Ashland. Luckily I have my superpower of not reacting, neither bump or itch, if I get bit. Anyway, Hobble-it arrived and after she got water we continued along the trail until we found an insect free spot to eat lunch. Afterwards, I encountered very sporadic snow drifts, that was it for snow!

Mid-afternoon Hobble-it and I took an hour plus break at a scenic spot with shade, comfortable rocks to sit upon, and cell service. The long break allowed our tramily to catch up. (Apparently, Fish Lake had the best burgers to date.) The five of us continued onward to the first Snow Lake, where we got water. Sky Hi camped near the lake trail junction while the rest of us continued a short distance and camped in a wooded area. For the fourth night in a row I slept without my tent fly, enjoying the light of a nearly full moon.

Day 83

The morning descent to Seven Lakes Basin involved sloping snow fields. At first we delicately traversed them. Then Sandbag, Sky-Hi, Pluto, and I had fun. We slid on our butts or ran with big sloping steps, laughing at falls that turned into slides. Over time the snow fields became drifts amongst the trees then frequent streams.

A short distance into a large burn area, I came across a snow melt trickle. It was the last water for 12 miles so I got a couple liters. In the shade of a tree, I stopped for a quick lunch. Then the day seemed to drag on. There were around eight miles of deadfall to clamber over. Plus, it was warm and the area offered little shade. With five miles to go, I had a M&M break. The final obstacle was 3.5 miles of snow hiking… flat with a boot trail, yet tiring. At the end, I walked to the Crater Lake Campground, having completed 26 miles.

I found a group of hikers clustered behind a shed with six duplex receptacles mounted above a shelf. An older man named Went made room for me. I ate dinner and looked through the hiker boxes. When my friends arrived, Sky-Hi bought a cider 6-pack and I drank one very quickly. It was 8% so I got a good buzz. We set up in the PCT hiker area of the campground. While my tramily went to the cafe, I took a deliciously hot shower and charged our electronics.

Day 84

Sky-Hi and I were the first ones out of camp. I hung a couple wet items to dry in the sun, then we went to the Rim Village Cafe. It impressed me, offering two GF bread choices without an up-charge. I was craving eggs and got an egg & cheese sandwich with a fruit cup, plus coffee. The rest of our tramily arrived as we refilled our coffee cups.

Back at the hiker shed, I chatted with a female, older, French hiker named Raspberry. Then we caught the 9 am trolley to the Rim Visitor Center and Lodge. My first view of Crater Lake… jaw-dropping stunning with its intense blue color and the cinder cone of Wizard Island. A past thru hiker named Moonshine, gave us premium trail magic food and we had a picnic lunch on a little rock-walled lake overlook.

Yesterday was long so this day was all about enjoying ourselves. Rather than hiking the PCT; Pluto, Hobble-it, and I hiked the alternate Rim Trail. It rose and fell, offering frequent views with perilous drop-offs to the lake below. Slowly we made our way around 20-25% of the lake, stopping often to take photos and drink in the beauty. I found Wizard Island intriguing with its cluster of smaller islands.

Once the Rim Trail turned away from the lake, the three of us sped up. Near the PCT junction, a message in the dirt directed us to the road. Sky-Hi and Sandbag were camped near a water cache; they’d arrived earlier after road walking and a short hitch. We ate a quick dinner during which I shared trail magic cheese with the guys. There were a ton of mosquitos so we fled to our dwellings.

It took 4-5 nights of adjustment, but now I sleep decently on my foam pad.

Day 85

I walked the morning’s nine miles very quickly, eager to see Sonic. When I arrived at the Highway 138 crossing, he was there! First I got a big hug. Then I got an entire GF White Walker Sizzle Pie pizza to myself, nom nom. It was so fun to hang out with Sonic!! Hobble-it and I recounted our PCT adventures while he told us about hanging with Cricket in Ohio plus providing trail magic to High Route and 30 AT thru hikers. High Route is hiking the AT from where he got off last year.

The rest of our PCT tramily arrived as well as Nacho, Miles, and two section hikers. In addition to pizza, Sonic brought Trader Joe snacks, cold drinks, and resupply for Hobble-it and I. There were so many yummy snacks and items, plus leftover pizza, that I used that as my resupply. We hung out until noon, then Sonic left along with Nacho, who needed a ride to Ashland.

My stomach felt overly full so I started out slowly. I came across a water cache and chatted with two SoBo girls, getting snow details. Then the trail began to climb. I caught up to and passed Sky-Hi, Hobble-it, and Sandbag. At the top, a junction with views of Diamond Lake and Mt. Thielsen, I found Miles and Pluto. We took a long snack break and one by one the others joined us. Miles lives in Bozeman and is hoping to reach Canada before he returns to MSU for the fall semester.

After our break, we went another two miles, crossing a fair amount of snow, none sketchy. Thielsen Creek wound in a picturesque manner with the rocky thrust of the similarly named mountain in the background. It was a beautiful spot and we quickly decided to set up camp, though Miles continued onward. Several dragonflies swooped through the air, likely responsible for the lack of mosquitos. We ate a leisurely dinner accompanied by creek noise.

Day 86

Going out of camp the snow was patchy. When it became continuous, Sandbag and I stopped to wait for Hobble-it. We proceeded as a group to the Oregon PCT high point at 7,560 ft. Pluto was already there and we had cell service so we took a break to wait for Sky-Hi. I googled a movie name for Pluto. Eventually Sky-Hi arrived and informed us of his plan to go back a mile and take a side trail to Diamond Lake. We decided to meet him at Shelter Cove in two days.

After the high point, the snow lasted a couple miles. The trail descended then maintained a fairly flat course through forest without many views. Several southbound thru hikers passed, often with head nets on. There were periodic clouds of mosquitos. After 16 miles, I reached the Six Horse Spring junction. It was a steep half mile descent to where I fetched water for Hobble-it and myself. Back at the junction, the four of us had a late lunch break.

It was an uneventful 8.5 miles to our planned campsite near a shallow pond. I listened to music and a podcast. Upon arrival, Pluto and I discovered vast mosquito clouds. We debated going further, then Sandbag arrived and we quickly set up our tents. I taught the others my run and dive into the tent method. It was Independence Day and there was not a firework to be seen or heard, to Hobble-it’s relief. I didn’t mind, though I hoped Sky-Hi found beer and a party.

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Comments 2

  • Tom : Jul 12th

    Emily and tramily,
    I’m enjoying your blog!! Of seven bloggers on the Trek that I followed this year, only you all and one other are still going. You are an awesome tramily and I wish you all the best of times as you journey forward. Please don’t give up. You are all seasoned trekkers now. It’s not easy what you are doing. It’s tough business! But you are doing it. Keep it up and keep the blogs coming. Thanks for the fun blog.

    • Emily Rahn : Jul 14th

      Thanks for following along Tom! People like you motivate me to keep writing. I am so happy to be out here and have definitely fallen in love with the PCT.


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