Mile 1818.4 CLNP Mazama Village to mile 1992.6 Big Lake Youth Camp
A rough yet beautiful day.
Day Eighty-four: 25 July 2015
Start: HM 1818.4
End: HM 1856.0 campsite in cloud covered woods
GPS Point: 43.188647, -122.053763
Day Total: 33.9 miles
Water at Mazama Village, Rim Village, mile 1853.6 Thielsen Creek
Today was a hard day. I had a slow start with repacking all my stuff. I should have done that last night. Then bought a box of chocolate donuts and a coffee for breakfast while chatting with Sidewinder. Finally headed to the trail towards Rim Village and the Rim Trail alternate. Up on the rim though, I found service and many tasks needing addressed. So I hung out a couple hours working on my phone. It reminded me of my day at Acton, trying to do computer stuff from a mobile device. Very frustrating when my non-trail responsibilities creep into my hiking day. Never before was I so tempted to catch a hitch to make up miles, Endless many hours in front of me. Instead I had to hike hard once finally away from Rim Village. Not the best of plans.
There is a divergence of a Hiker PCT and Stock PCT (PCTA official route). I took the scenic route of course. Crater Lake is stunning! The water is super blue. I took Dutton Trail up to Rim Trail and reconnected to the PCT after several miles walking along the crater’s rim. It was more up and down than I expected, and some parts were pretty steep. Also being a Saturday, there were a fair amount of tourists out and about. I savored the view and took it all in, while staying to task and understanding the reality of my morning delays. At two different places I actually saw the family from the restaurant last night. That contributed to my desire to catch a ride to the far end. They were at Rim Village and then Lightning Point. I know they likely drove to the last lookout… Other than that, I never saw any hikers. This only struck me because I saw multitudes of hikers at Rim Village. I also learned that there was a bus from Mazama to Rim Village, not that I would have succumbed to that. At least I don’t think.
Until just before camp, I only saw two hikers all day. Both on the long flat section leaving CLNP. Then Tea Time at the crossing of Hwy 136. A photography couple just before catching Endless, at the great view looking back at CLNP across the valley while up on the saddle. Incredible to look back at where I had come from hours before. Towards evening I finally caught up to Endless. He had only just gotten my message about being at Rim Village all morning. He had delayed his pace to wait for m, while I set us behind with my town chores. We passed Five Star and Nesquick at the water source. It was basically a 27 mile dry stretch today. I was shockingly dehydrated when I ran into Endless. Luckily he had gotten extra water at a cache that was empty when I went through. He generously shared. My whole day was sort of a disaster.
My one moment of serenity was when I saw Pine Marten. It was prancing along the trail right at me, not noticing my presence at all. Then suddenly it ran up a tree to about my head level and peered around around the edge. I was still there of course, so it sped off into a tree thicket to get away.
After catching Endless my evening went a lot better. Thielsen Creek was beautiful. The whole evening was beautiful. Foggy cloud cover at the tops of the trees. Big old trees. There is no tree clearing here, so all the fallen trees look like the splintered remains if giants played a rough game of pick up sticks with the forest. It was eery and silent and stunning. Oregon forests have seemingly complex character and personality. It’s quite lovely.
Despite my delays and frustrations, we still made a decent day. Though that is likely from us both putting in hard days. We are camped a bit passed the water. Ready for a big day tomorrow.
Oregon Skyline Trail
Day Eighty-five: 26 July 2015
Start: HM 1856.0
End: HM OST 16.7 flat spot
GPS Point: 43.54193, -122.07479
Day Total: 36.5 miles
Water at mile OST 12, mile OST 15.6
Lots of sobo hikers today! Greenmile, Primo, Sailor, Groucho, a girl whose name I missed, and Huck (or Huckleberry Hound). Today I hiked with Distance and Cast Away. Distance started the PCT the day after me, and I haven’t seen him since around Bishop Pass. There was K2, a 19 year old guy doing 30’s since beginning. He started May 22, a day before Roadrunner. Endless and I have unknowingly camped with him several times over the past few days.
This morning was the incredibly uneventful OR/WA high point. For me, the OR/WA high point was actually yesterday on Rim Trail around Crater Lake. Though near a higher peak, the high point was just a long flat high spot. Somehow higher than any of the peak bases we will hike along in the coming miles. I am also confused why WA doesn’t get its own high point. What a let down that it has to be grouped with OR as if they are somehow second thoughts to CA with its Forester Pass and optional Mt. Whitney.
After a brief discussion with Distance and Cast Away, Endless and I decided to take the Oregon Skyline Trail alternate into Shelter Cove. It cut off some miles, but with the overall lack of directions I feel like we spent the time saved simply navigating the alternate. It did take us along a lot of lakes, albeit mostly dry ones, and we saw most of the sobo hikers while on it. I have not really done, or even considered, alternates until recently.
I hiked most of the day with Cast Away and Distance, but Endless and I camped a mile passed them. It was nice to hike with people. I mean actually hike together and not just meet at breaks. Everyone is hiking their hike and people don’t really cross paths anymore. The trail seems quiet unless you go through a town, and then you realize how many people there really are. I also learned Distance is a geologist. We talked rocks for a good while. It was great!
The days are getting shorter.
Day Eighty-six: 27 July 2015
Start: HM OST 16.7
End: HM 1932.8 Stormy Lake
GPS Point: 43.854098, -121.964915
Day Total: 34.5 miles
Water at Shelter Cove Resort, mile 1922.8 Charlton Lake, mile 1932.8 Stormy Lake
At Shelter Cove I met Black Sheep. She was going sobo with her boyfriend until a stress fracture pulled her off. Since she’s from Europe, she is just waiting it out to meet her boyfriend further south to continue. Then there was Hog, whom just happens to have a daughter my age in the Superior area this summer for an internship. Also Cairn, an OR sectioner. Plus the gang of Flying Fish, Mr. White, and Kmart. Distance and Cast Away actually beat us there. A guy named Playa. And another sobo hiker.
There was a couple riding bikes at Charlton Lake tonight. It took me by surprise. I thought I was alone. It always throws me when people are on trail as day users.
Shelter Cove Resort was a nice enough place. Not a good store for a resupply but great hiker box. And mostly friendly. Ate a frozen pizza, breakfast burrito, pop tart, four cans of Pepsi, and a chai tea steamer. Not the meal I was necessarily hoping for, but better than nothing!
Then we hit the trail hard. 30 miles after the three hour break at the resort. That’s 30 miles after noon. Not the easiest ambition.
There were beautiful lakes leaving the Shelter Cove area once back on the PCT. They were the Rosary Lakes, in a pristine, aquamarine chain right after each other. And a great view back at Shelter Cove. Then we climbed up and away. So many lakes. Really nice views. Also a blow down followed by a burn area. Could see all the topography in the barren landscape. An incredible day for seeing lots of cool landscapes.
Some side notes. Distance a Geologist too! Polka Dots named him Distant and then Endless actually told him to take Distance while in Kennedy Meadows. Anyways, he recommended a book called the Great Ocean Conveyor by Wally Brocker. It’s about ocean circulation and climate. Pretty excited to check it out.
Already dark when arrived to Stormy Lake, and there were at least eight tents taking all the good sites. It took twenty minutes to eek out a flat spot and set up camp. Some people near us had left a log smoldering in the fire pit. Unbelievable. Obviously I am tired and cranky.
Day Eighty-seven: 28 July 2015
Start: HM 1932.8
End: HM 1963.3 campsite after Hinton Creek
GPS Point: 44.10539, -121.81305
Day Total: 30.5 miles
Water at mile 1939.8 Mac Lake, mile 1947.7 creek, mile 1960.8 stream
The trail around here is all labeled as the PCNST. Regularly it stands for the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail, but today I saw it spelled out as the Pacific Crest Nordic Ski Trail. The only difference is the obvious increased trail maintenance. The trail is wide, super flat and well maintained, except for the numerous fallen trees. I liked the change.
There had to have been at least eleven hikers at the lake last night. I was last to leave at 7:45 AM. I am still pretty upset about finding a smoldering log, left unattended last night. We were right by a lake! It’s not like smothering the log was going to be a grand challenge. Especially during a fire ban!
Listing people: there were two girls who met our group back before Sierra City, Pocahontas, Dr. Beeker, an older couple and a woman (this is my suspected fire culprits), Captain Morgan and his friend from Bend, Cast Away and Distance, several day hikers, a sobo girl going by Twinless (she was super chatty and nice), heaps of people at the last stream a few miles back with two horses. I surely missed some but today was long.
We stopped around 8 PM tonight. So nice to have camp up and in my sleeping bag by 9:30 PM. We have 30 miles to the Big Lake Youth Camp tomorrow, and I plan to arrive before supper at 5:15 PM. It will be tough but I need sleep tonight.
I am in the Three Sisters Wilderness now. Great views of the three peaks! Though mostly just the South Sister so far. Stunning little valleys around the mountain base.
Today I really began understanding accumulative fatigue. The hard days with little rest is wearing me thin. I am really excited for time off in Portland. Pushing hard has also been rewarding, to see what I am capable of. But the long days are not sustainable. A break will be very needed once I reach Cascade Locks.
Earning my mileage.
Day Eighty-eight: 29 July 2015
Start: HM 1963.3
End: HM 1992.6 Big Lake Youth Camp lake cove
GPS Point: 44.36937, -121.86960
Day Total: 30.1 miles
Water at mile 1969.5 Obsidian Creek, mile 1977.2 South Matthieu Lake
This morning we entered the Obsidian Limited Entry Area. So cool! The obsidian was all glassy and sparkly. I’ve never seen obsidian bombs before! And the area ended with a beautiful little waterfall over and obsidian permeated rock face. I wish it had been evening with the setting sun shining directly onto the conchoidal cleavage faces.
Today also included a path by the observatory and lava fields. Lava is brutal on the feet! Which was then followed by quick sand like dust. Let’s just say the hike wasn’t easy this afternoon. Many steps were a mini battle of uneven footing, sharp edges, sliding rocks, fast shifting sand that filled my shoes, and a heat of a sun blazing sky amplified up at me.
Outside of the arduous trail conditions, today brought incredible views of the Three Sisters: South Sister, Middle Sister, North Sister, and four northern mountains: Mt. Washington, Three Finger Jack, Mt. Jefferson, and Mt. Hood. Unbelievable!
I may it to the Big Lake Youth Camp by 5 PM. Everyone at BLYC is very friendly! They had signs out for us, they accept our packages, give us a hang out room, let us shower, provide laundry if we wait out the whole afternoon, and feed us delicious, all vegetarian meals. To top this off, everything is donation based. Seriously the nicest people I have met in long time along the trail. Supper was fresh veggie burritos with avocado and bananas! Brownies for dessert! And there is even a full youth group on site, as well as several private side parties.
I hiked most of the day with Pocahontas today. She is an awesome person! Also met a nobo sectioner named Ada at supper. There was an interesting older man named Icy Hot. Roadrunner and K2 were already at the camp, on their ways out.
Before the miles of lava field, I saw so many deer this morning. They were everywhere!
I feel like I really earned my mileage today. It was rough going. Scoria truly is difficult to walk on. Plus the dirt quick sand. And exposed burn section. A lot of steep climbing. No water. Brutal! Yet I still had 30 miles by 5 PM. Incredible! I need rest tonight. Pretty excited I got to shower, but wish I could have done laundry too.
The three of us are camped on a sandy cove just off from the main camp property. Many hikers are around. I don’t think I even saw this many up at the buildings tonight.