Day 110 – Crater Lake – 5-10km

Today has had its ups and downs. We woke up and met everyone at the shop to catch the trolley up the crater. We are all excited but slightly dampened by the fact that that our re-supply package didn’t arrive. I go into the shop and buy and 85cents moon pie, just to see what the next 4 days will taste like. Pretty bland but marshmellowy! 

Trolly trip

Views from the road

We catch the trolley up all goofy like school kids at the back of the bus. We are going to packlessly explore crater lake for the day. At the top we um and ahh at the lake. We go to the chalet for breakfast. It’s very fancy with large stone walls and airy rooms with comfy couches. We sit in the dining room and enjoy coffee and scrambled eggs with smoked Oregon salmon. I sit opposite Medic, a really fast walking electrician from Switzerland! He shows me his family and photos from his hometown in the mountains of Switzerland, it looks amazing. Then at the end of the meal Medic shouts everyone breakfast, saying that he was going to rent a room but stayed in the free campground instead. What a lovely guy! 

Breakfast at the chalet

After breakfast we try to plan the day. Mushy and I want to climb Mount Garlfield but I have to be at the post office by 3 to get the micro-spikes. Quiz does the rim trail because she might take the alternate tomorrow to dodge the snow on the north face of the rim. We go our separate ways rather anxiously. Mushy and I walk up Mt Garfield enjoying views of the crater, Pirate Rock and Wizard Island. Snow 3/4 of the way up has caused a trail closure and stop us from summiting. We also notice the atmosphere getting smokier. Looking out south from where we have come from we see at least 2 bushfires east and west of the trail. Back down I sit in the chalet on the wifi for a bit but can’t concentrate on what I need to do because I’m nervous about hitching to the post office, I didn’t realise it was illegal in National Parks and I look all weird and dirty in my hiking clothes. Amethyst helps me out by going around to lots of cars in the parking lot and chatting with folks. It’s not even an issue and I get a ride in 5 minutes with a mother and grown son from Medford. The mum was really funny and was sure that I was hitching from Mexico to Canada because there is no way you could be walking!! We joked about them pushing me out the car door, haha. At the post office they have our microspikes but they don’t have our re-supply box :-(. Looks like I’ll be eating moon pies all week. 

Mushy and Pinecone up Mt Garfield

Lake Views
In the parking lot outside the post office I loiter for a bit trying to suss out who to ask for a ride. I end up asking Ron, who looks very hiker friendly, him and his partner Judy give me a lift. They are very interested in hiking tales from the PCT. They take me all the way to the PCT camping area in the campground which is a little maze of tentsites in the forest. I’m chilling thinking about our re-supply and I hear Ron asking other hikers if anyone knows Harriet. Of course nobody knows my actual name. Ron and Judy asked Quiz and i for dinner. When Quiz got back from the rim and after re-supplying in the small shop we head over to their camp spot for dinner. 

Ron and Anne were a lovely couple from Southern Oregon and often come up to crater lake to go hiking in the summer and back country ski-ing in winter. We had deer steaks with salad and potatoes. The vegetables were from their garden and Rons friend had caught the deer. We chatted about hiking and then hit the hay. 

Dinner with Ron and Anne

SOBO Flip #3 Day 100, 101, 102, 103 & 104 – Belden, Chico, Ashland 16km

Pinecone here! Or now ‘Turkey D’ second trail name after finding a Turkish delight coloured pinecone! 5 zero days has felt like a lifetime! It began next to the giant Feather River in Belden. Camping on its sandy shores, we packed our stuff and went to the shoppe for coffee. After crafting some pretty good hitch hiking signs we headed to the highway to start thumbing it. It took some goofy waves and grinning but after an hour we got a hitch! It was a 90 mile drive to Chico from Belden in which Mitch told me his life story. Growing up in Salt Lake City, mining for copper and moving to California after the death of his brother. We shared some drunk memories together and had a laugh. He kindly dropped us off at the greyhound station in Chico from where we made plans. 

Hotdogs 4 Chico

Hitching with Mitch

Quiz trying to nap in the back

A bus was not going to Ashland till the next day, so we find a cheap motel and settle in for the night. This one was defintely too good to be true, free breakfast and pool for $60.

Chillin in Chico was funny, being a collage town there are lots of young people around, however it is summer and it did have a strange sleepy vibe. Quiz learnt what good American collage culture is about from Mushy. The next morning we head to the bus stop. After confusion with the driver, we are piled into the bus with our hiking packs. It was a bit of a stressful 6 hour journey with ice axes and hiking poles on board. 

Chico pool beers

Mushy and Quiz are your new sorority girls.

At Red Bluff I recognised a hiker from the trail and he sits next to me. His name is Phone Belly, because he always keeps his oversized phone in his front pocket. He’s from Washington and gives us lots of tips for the trail up ahead. We get off the bus at Medford, a more industrial town, 15 miles past Ashland. Our plan is to stay here a night and go to Walmart and do all our shopping for re-supply for Oregon. The next day is pretty hot and arduous from carting shopping bags around, to the post office and to UPS. We get really good tacos from a food truck and eat them in the park and wait for the free bus to Ashland. 

Oregon re-supply at Walmart

Tacos in the park

Our three days in Ashland mostly revolve around the Jackson Wellsprings we were staying at. I can best describe this place as a kind of trailer park resort for hippies with a rather lush volcano water pool, spa and sauna. Even the showers are volcano water, smelling of Sulphur but leaving your skin soft and hydrated. 

G’n’ts at the spring

Wellsprings pool

Over the days we were welcomed into the community there and spoke to many enlightened hippies. After 8pm the pool became a nude pool and a man helped me to learn how to beat box by saying all I needed to do was say ‘boots’n’cats’ over again. I think the funniest moment for me was leaving the spa to go back to the camp ground and this old hippie watering the garden stopped me for a chat. ‘Are you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated?’ He asked. ‘Yes, thank you for having us!’ I replied. ‘ Our pleasure’ he said. ‘Has anyone told you that you are beautiful today?’ I blushed a little and replied ‘No, no one has told me today’. He sighed and said ‘Well that’s just a problem right there’.

We found ourselves checking out Ashland downtown. It’s was hustle and bustle with the Shakespeare festival on. We had some nice food from a bakery, checked out the local co-op.

I often found myself laughing and completely amazed at the stereotype or unconditional positivity (people singing/over hearing conversations) of the place, despite the fact that I was really in the perfect place to hang out. On our way out ppl who we hadn’t even spoken to wished us well on our hike. We made friends with a lovely person who I named Monique (she didn’t tell us her real name, just whatever we wanted to call her). Monique ended up finding my wallet, which I then went to collect from the front desk. Everyone in the office gave me a high five for the universe, being a great place after all! I tried to give Monique some money, I knew she could use it on her travels. She was very uncomfortable about it, so ended up giving me some cool rocks, damiana (a herb for female strength and fertility), and a massage. 

After our second free beer at Callahans

Wow what a couple of days, I feel so relaxed and rejuvenated just as the old man said. Not one thing to feel anxious about! Also Quiz and I now have tickets for Columbia!! At 4pm we head of Callahans Lodge and walk the PCT north for the first time in a month. Back in Oregon, feels good!! We walk 10 miles without even noticing and camp at a piped spring. It’s been a great 5 days off! 

Pilot Rock