Day 111 – Mazama Village to Diamond Lake, 30kms

In hindsight today I (Quiz) unnecessarily walked the uninspiring PCT as opposed to the Crater Lake Rim Trail to escape snow that wasn’t there. I had heard that southbounders had to cut steps on the incline and I had no desire to walk down those. Sadly the snow was a hype and according to PC/Turkey D, Mushy, Amethyst and Kaeso it was really easy. Having said all that I actually really enjoyed today’s hike on my own.
I left camp before anyone else was up and walked through the sleeping campground to the deserted car park and the start of a 1 mile road walk. I literally saw 2 cars and one other hiker. The Annie Spring track led me steeply up the join the PCT and that was all the steep climbing for the day done! I passed a group of 4 girls trying to cross a stream with huge packs, its nice to see such a young and up enthusiastically early Girl Gang on trail.
The trail crossed about 10 streams in the first 7 miles and half way through I stopped and made coffee and ate a weird breakfast bar I had brought at the shitty Mazama store. I hope someone enjoys the delicious looking granola i had packed myself in our lost food drop. Since I was alone I read my book while drinking coffee but i soon learnt when I looked at the time that this is dangerous as time slips by quickly. 


After stopping for far too long I hit the trail and crossed many more little streams, crossing in and out of burn areas. Mostly though the trail was in dry open pine forest. As the sun got higher the smoke intensity increased and sometimes I could taste the burn when I breathed in. I stopped at my last water for the day for lunch having hot footed it 14 miles, knowing the end wasn’t far off (5 miles) i lounges by Red Cone Spring for quite some time, it had a nice atmosphere.
As I approached the highway I met my second group of people for the day. I felt like I isolated myself today from my fear of snow and the trail isolated me, but it might have been just what I needed, space. I even wrote some song lyrics, something I haven’t done in a while. As my walk wasn’t particularly exciting I’ll get PC/Turkey D to give you a Crater Lake update, but in the meantime here are some photos of yesterday when I walked 6 miles of the Rim trail.


Photos from the rim


I hitched with a lovely couple who saw me and then turned around to pick me up. They gave me a beer as soon as I sat down and got really excited when I said I was going to Bend, their hometown. It didn’t come out till near the end of the way longer than I expected drive that I had been hiking for 4 months and a really long way and that got them so excited they tried to give me more beer and a joint. What nice people we are meeting!


Diamond Lake Resort is according to all the Americans a typical summer vacay location. There are paddle-ohs and a drunk old mens club being loud in one Lake corner. We were all perving on a water skier so much we made him fall in the water, but he has such skill he didn’t get his beer wet. We are now camping il/legally (we are playing it vague) by the lake and cooking hotdogs over the fire and drinking a beer. Nice 👍 

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

Day 109 – Jack’s Spring to Mazama Village, 20kms

Like all days after a near marathon, our bodies and hearts did not want to get out of bed this morning, I (Quiz) think partly because I was sleeping so deeply it took me longer to wake up. Also I knew, even while asleep that we were out of coffee. To compensate I ate a cliff (energy) bar for breakfast with added caffeine in a beautiful meadow full of purple bell shaped flowers. Like a set in a play it was picturesque but slightly eerie as the air is full of smoke from 2 fires to the south (I checked on the Internet when we got service and it’s ok mum, they are both contained).

We only had a half day to walk today but my motivation and that of the whole group was sluggish and we took breaks probably too regularly. I finally got into stride in the last 5 miles and from there powered along. It probably also helped that we had made it out of the burn and into beautiful clear old forest with far fewer blow downs or obstacles.


We made it to a small rural highway but construction work made it very tricky for cars to pull off to give us a ride so we walking in the forest alongside for 1-2 miles into town. We all marched into Annie’s Spring Restaurant stinky and dirty and managed to get a grumpy waiter who’s mood couldn’t even be improved by the ever charming Amethyst. The burger was pretty good but the vibe a 0.


The next 2 hours were pretty shitty and out usual good luck backflipped. PC/Turkey D and I had our microspikes to pick up from the post office 8 miles up the road to crater lake. According to a phone call the man in the gift shop made on my behalf (there is no service in the valley) the post office shut at 3 so we hit the road and stuck out our thumbs. We stood there for 1.5 hrs in the hot sun with no luck, many hostile stares and very few friendly waves. There was heaps of traffic but to be fair many of the cars were full. We gave up at 10 to 3, tomorrow is a Saturday and as per previous convo the PO was closed. We walked back to Mazama Village store to pick up our resupply and it wasn’t there, nor was Mushy’s! What is going on!? With no reception it’s impossible to check tracking numbers for the packages. What’s more 2 other hikers had been to the rim and back while we had been trying to hitch waiting no longer than 10 min for a ride. We really must look like toads after so much time bush. Seeing our frustration Amethyst immediately gave us a massage and Jupiter, another hiker, gave us a beer. With a little TLC our moods increased dramatically and we brought more beer and Cheetos and returned to camp for a party. Someone lit the fire and others cooked hot dogs to be eaten in tortillas and after dark we formed a massage train 9 people long! It was fun, Amethyst declared Medic her trail dad and we managed to meet the entire new bubble we have joined. Tomorrow we get to see Crater Lake!!!

Day 108 – Christi Spring to Jacks Spring – 40km

Today was a shamble, but I manage to walk 43km! I didn’t sleep the night before. Too hot and agitated, covered in mosquito bites. So when I was woken up at 5am by an alarm I was in a fowl mood. I walked out the front wanting to get in a better mood and by breakfast I had mellowed. 

Mid morning break


We hauled ass and did 5.5 miles before breakfast. Shivering in the damp woods we sipped coffee and did another 5 miles before our next break at 10. The path had come above the forest floor and was following an abruptly rocky ridge line up a mountain. The climbing was gradual and we got views out East to a large inland lake and south back to Mt Mcloughlan. 

Sky Lakes mistake detour


Morning ridge walk


At mid morning break I managed to use the last of Mushy’s 100% deet repellant. This Sky Lake region is notorious for bad Oregon mosquitos. I then set out first and after only 0.7 miles I took the wrong turn and decended 1.5 miles down to Sky Lakes. It was only after 25 minutes of walking down steep rocky switchbacks, taking the occasional photo that I thought, wait a second, I think I’m still meant to be climbing. After checking the gps I turned around and started the ridiculous walk back up hill. It wasn’t too bad, but I definitely needed a break. I check the gps again and realise to my exasperation I still have 4.3 miles before lunch. Some kind of adrenaline kicks in and I manage to get over the next 3 climbs and down to lunch in an hour and 20 minutes. On the way over the north edge of the last pass there is a few mounds of snow. I’m in a rush to get to the others so i dodge round them without thinking, scrambling down shaley rock faces. When I get to the lunch spot I koowee to the others. I hear a koowee back! Yay! After all that they had only been there 15 minutes. I must have zoomed through that last section. 

Snow drift after the Pass

Lunch time view north

North ridge snow


Lunch has a beautiful vista north, toward Crater Lake. It looks like there is a fire in a valley to the west of the PCT. I have already walked 17 miles so I’m exhausted and make the most of the hour and a half by the stream. We have 10 more miles left and then one extra to get down to the spring from the next tentsite. We pass lots of streams on the way down but then nothing for the last 5 miles. The ridge that Jack Springs is on has been burnt and everywhere looks like a potential campsite. 

When we get to camp Medic is already there getting a fire together, the only way to ward off the mosquitos. Everyone goes down to find water apart from me, it’s a 1/2 mile bushwhack down through burnt forest to the spring. I thankfully tend to the fire and massage and stretch. Biggest day on the PCT so far! 

Day 107 – Fish Lake to Christie’s Spring, 19kms

Today was ace! We did everything perfectly, timing was crucial and we nailed it. A thunder storm roll in at 3 am waking us all up with heaps of really loud thunder and lightening. Thankfully we had been warned the night before by the friendly resort staff and put the fly on our tent. The show lasted so long that I (Quiz) fell back asleep and was woken up a few times. After the last peals there was a few minutes of silence before the rain started, and it continued till 10 in the morning. Luckily for us we had decided the day before to have a half day and not leave the resort till midday. Unluckily for my washing it was sodden after I left it out to dry overnight (crisis averted, there is a dryer at the resort too).

Rainy lake views


We go to spend a luxurious morning in bed feeling cozy listening to the rain fall of the tent. I finished a book, at least my 10th for the hike and ate some chips, as I said you gotta get the deluxe when you can. Just as the rain finished up we decided to get up and move on over to the cafe for brunch. Our new pal Amethyst was already there chatting up a storm with the locals. We drank copious amounts of coffee, binged off the walls and PC/Turkey D brought some wacky green fishing buoy earring. The cafe had a pet chipmunk and if I ever move here I am getting one as a pet too as I have fallen for then cuteness anew at this resort (they are everywhere)!

Mushy is cute, and so is the tablecloth


Amethyst’s networking and lovely personality scored us a ride to the trailhead with one of the resort staff, Shawnee (thank you sooooo much). I give the resort 5 stars as the lake is pretty, PCT camping is free, the cafe is reasonably priced and the staff are really friendly and don’t treat us like delinquents (cough cough Drakesbad Ranch).

Weird fungus


We started hiking at 1pm through open pine forest full off wildflowers including a new one which I named Pom Purps, they are purple pompom shaped. After crossing a creek on a small bridge we began our climb which turned out to be bigger in our heads than in real life which is a nice change. The forest morphed into a small patch of old tall trees and absolutely no undergrowth, it was eerie, you could see for far into the distance and there was no movement.

The eerie forest

We must have hiked up that non existent mental hill like maniacs as when we stopped at 3pm for a break we had gone 7 miles! This is a new PB for me, 3.5mph. Having worked so hard we rested even harder, breaking on a ridge in the breeze for 1hr, we had great chats and the breeze kept the mosquitoes at bay. The huge volcano Mt McLoughlin peeked its snowy peak through the trees but we never got the great uninterrupted views of yesterday. The final 5 miles to camp were dominated by mosquitoes, they had been increasing in intensity throughout the day by later in the afternoon seemed to be able to latch on even when we were walking quickly.
But mosquitoes could not ruin this day because camp came equipped with a fire pit and plenty of wood. Medic, a friendly Swiss guy joined us in our mosquito free zone for dinner. Mushy lent us his Deet as we seemed to have lost ours and we comfortably stayed up till 8.30 chatting. 

This was such a cute cozy campsite

Day 105 – Spring at 1725.6 to Klum Landing Campsite, 36kms

Considering our legs are feeling it as we’re just out of 5 days off, today we crushed it! Thanks Oregon for cruisey trails. We also got chaffed to bits, and not just me (Quiz) alone, although we all got it in our own unique ways. That’s because we spent most of the day, from 9am on swimming in our own sweat, it was dripping down our legs and pooling on our backs to the point where I checked my water bottle wasn’t leaking the bottom of my pack was so wet!

Like creatures of habit we walked 2 miles before settling in to drink coffee and eat breakfast. The Oregon forest has dried out considerably since we were last here 5 weeks ago and there are literally cracks in the trail. We stopped at our last water for 13 miles as the next 2 streams are now just puddles according to Guthooks, and filled up from a pristine looking piped Spring that flowed into a very dirty and algae filled lake. Coffee tasted delicious!

Ashland


We hiked on and completed a huge U shape around the southern end of the valley Ashland sits in. We got excellent views of the town as well as Mt Ashland and Pilot Rock from yesterday. The trail was nicely undulating along the top of a ridge in and out of pine forest and grassy Meadows. We can hike fast in such nice terrain and travelled steadily at 3mph. Unlike NoCal, there seem to be less hikers up here and we didn’t see many people except a few day hikers all morning. 

Class

Class#2


We stopped at the Little Hyatt Reservior Overflow for lunch and it was really flowing. We all commented about missing the sound of flowing water, as we were sitting by a sizeable creek fed by a waterfall it was really loud. 2 section hikers I had met earlier arrived with there dog Charlie who entertained us while we were packing up with his water antics/appreciation.


The afternoon was hot and our feet really started to hurt. We saw a few deer but apart from that it seemed even the birds knew to stay in the shade and conserve energy. 4 miles later found us all sprawled by the side of the trail in dense shade, shoes off and feet raised in the air. Moving started to be accompanied with groans, sometimes it just makes it easier if you can vocalise your pain a bit. 

It’s so dwy!


We hobbled the last 5 miles into camp with a bunch of new hiking pals, Amathest, Strawberry Pop and 2 others. It was worth it as the campground has free hot showers and is by a lake. Washing off all that sweat was really nice. It also had picnic tables so we all chatted late while we cooked dinner and watched an excellent sunset. There are clouds in the sky for the first time in many days and rain and thunder pushed us into our tents and bed. Once again everything feels a bit out of whack after flipping yet again, but already we are meeting new excellent people and walking the miles. Cheers to you PCT, love you xx

Camp dawgs


Satanic sunset