PCT: Ashland to Shelter Cove
We’ve been busy surviving the mosquitopocalypse in Oregon and got to take several days off in Bend with my husband and dog! After feeling super strong coming into Ashland, we’ve been in a bit of a slump in Southern Oregon and interestingly, most other hikers we’ve spoken to have too! Maybe it’s the mosquitos, maybe it’s the thick smoke, maybe it’s the numerous miles our bodies have supported so far, maybe it was the full moon…we’ll never know. But multiple zeros in Bend were very welcome.
Day 93: Ashland to Hyatt Lake Campground, 15.31+ miles
We struggled with our heavily resupplied packs leaving Ashland. It was a really hot day and it was a lot of green tunnel hiking. Nik saw that there was a BBQ place towards the end of the day down a paved road, so we let that motivate us through the day.
We passed Pilot Rock, a popular day hike in the area, and had a view with Shasta in the background. Shasta really sticks around in the view from the PCT!
Throughout the day we saw several lizards that I’ve never seen before. They were really skinny and bright blue.
Sometimes you need something like real food to motivate you through a day and that’s ok. We ended up seeing some folks that we hadn’t seen since before Julian!
We spent the night at the PCT campground at Hyatt Lake. The campground is otherwise closed for dangerous tree removal. The PCT campground was super overgrown with plants which gave us memory foam mattresses for the night…or at least that’s what I told myself.
Day 94: Hyatt Lake Campground to South Brown Mountain Shelter, 19.64+ miles
We stayed in our quilts a little longer than planned because it was so cold in the morning. We finally got going and began the day’s hiking.
Nothing makes you feel quite so small as standing next to unearthed tree roots.
There were some volcanic fields interspersed with the forest, but nearly as much as we would see in coming days. Oregon is incredibly volcanic- way more so than I realized.
We had intended on doing more like 24ish miles this day but ended at 20. The Oregon slump is real!
We ended the day at the Brown Mountain Shelter. We had heard that a big rat lived in the cabin, so we opted to camp just outside. The water was in this pump which was pretty fun to use.
Day 95: Brown Mountain Shelter to Mosquito Hell Creek, 21.6+ miles
Today was dominated by lava fields. So. Many. Lava Fields. They were pretty cool-looking at first, but then they start tearing up your shoes and twisting your ankles and reflecting the sun and…you are ready to get back into the forest.
At lunch we met a couple of women who were taking their horses on a day hike/ride on the PCT. Later in the afternoon I met a woman hiking the PCT who has T1D! I spotted her CGM on her arm and immediately lifted my shirt with zero context. Diabuddies!
The afternoon brought more mosquitos than I knew existed. The Oregon slump continued and there was a lot of just listening to an audiobook and making the miles to camp. Despite us and everyone we meet not feeling great right now, we’re still spending all day every day in beautiful forests, constantly seeing new things, and challenging ourselves.
We camped by a creek, which is convenient for water but also convenient for mosquitos to thrive. We began the tradition of cooking and eating in our rain gear to preserve some amount of blood in our bodies.
Day 96: Mosquito Hell Creek to Burn Area, 25.29 miles
We spent the day buried in forest, which made the brief venture up and out of the trees in the middle of the day even better. We also did our longest day yet!
Yay for climbing above the trees!
I crossed a saddle that had a distant view of crater lake on one side and this view on the other. The trail soon turned back down and descended into the trees but the views were appreciated!
The trail passed through burn areas towards the end of the day. In this particular area, there were so many baby pine trees that it looked like a grass field. It’s always so cool to see a forest repairing itself.
The foot soreness was real towards the end of the day. 11 miles before camp was the last water source through the next day, so my pack was incredibly heavy with water.
We camped in a burn area with areas clear of widow-makers (trees that can fall on your tent). We were so tired that we just had snacks for dinner and collapsed. Even in such a barren area, we had plenty of deer visitors through the night!
Day 97: Burn Area to Mazama Village, 12.49+ miles
We had a shorter day than usual hiking into Mazama Village (near Crater Lake).
No mushroom picking!!
Yay! We passed into Crater Lake National Park. I have only seen this park once and it was in the winter to snowshoe, so I was excited to see it in the summer.
We made it into the village and set up our tents in the PCT hiker area. We then used the laundry and shower facilities in the visitor center to freshen up in between eating a lot of microwaved food and cold drinks. I even found a head net in the hiker box right after losing mine the previous day!
When we got back to camp, a chipmunk had chewed through Nik’s tent!
Day 98: Mazama Village to Water Cache, 16.38 miles
We hiked far enough to camp at a water cache to avoid dry camping. This stretch through Oregon is incredibly dry and we are thankful to have the amazing caches kept up by Devilfish.
Fancy dinner attire courtesy of mosquitos.
Day 99: Water Cache to Maidu Lake, ? miles
After filling up what we needed from the water cache, we set out for the day.
We were treated to amazing views of Mt. Thielsen in the morning, which made the morning climb more palatable.
Comments on FarOut said that this was the prettiest creek so far on the trail and they weren’t lying! We got final glimpses of Thielsen while filling up on yummy cold water.
In the afternoon we reached the high point of the PCT in Oregon and Washington. Woo!
We decided to camp at Maidu Lake, which was a mile off-trail, to avoid a long water carry. A duck family greeted us upon arrival and kept us entertained while we ate dinner in our rain gear.
Day 100: Maidu Lake to Odinberg Lake, 17.83+ miles
We said goodbye to the ducks and headed back out on trail. We even saw this leftover old-school PCT trailmarker that was mostly rusted over and consumed by the tree.
We made it to the second Devilfish cache and decided that we were going to turn onto the dirt road to take an alternate trail to Shelter Cove that passes more water sources than the official trail.
We camped at the first large lake on the alternate, Odinberg Lake, and fell asleep to some interesting bird calls. At least we think they were bird calls…it is the Metolius WINDIGO trail afterall…
Day 101: Odinberg Lake to Shelter Cove, 16+ miles
Lots of smoke rolled into camp while we packed up. It would get worse throughout the day, making us thankful that we were getting off trail for several days once we reached Shelter Cove.
The spikiest log creek crossing.
We stopped for lunch at a horse camp that had horse pens at each campsite. What a fun way to see these trails!
We had gorgeous views of Trapper creek as we got closer to Shelter Cove.
We secured real food at the Shelter Cove restaurant and camped for the night.
Days off in Bend!
My husband drove up to meet us and bring us into Bend for some much-needed days off. We grabbed coffee and enjoyed it on the lake before taking off.
On the way to Bend we stopped at the Obsidian fields. So cool!!
In Bend we celebrated Nik’s bday – happy bday dirty trail boy!
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