Day 122: mile 1805.8 to Mazama Village to Crater Lake Rim Trail Alternate to Lightning Spring

8.15.18. 17.2 PCT miles, 4.6 Alt. miles

Again this morning, I woke up right with my alarm, and got ready fairly quickly. I laid down for a little after getting dressed to re-look over the maps and elevation profile for the day, and read a little again about the services at Crater Lake. There’s a lot going on there.

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I was hiking by 5:30, again by headlamp for the first 30 min, until I took my potty break. The majority of the early morning was through a recent burn area. It was eerie, but also really cool to see. In one section, there was a ton of new growth, in another, just burned, black trees. It was also super overcast this morning, and the sunrise was really soft through the clouds. I ran into Generic and Downdog at the next campsite. They were just getting out of their tents. 

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The 15 miles definitely dragged on. The burned forest got old after a while, but eventually, I entered into the park boundary, and soon after that, there were more green trees and some grassy meadows. At 11:30ish I reached the road! There were SO many SOBOs going back to the trail.

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I finally got to Mazama Village around 12, and went right to the store to get my resupply package and organize everything. I read on guthooks about cell service and free hot rinse showers in one of the campground loops, so I went off in search of that. I found it, overlooking a canyon, and talked to my mom, Dad, and Pammy on the phone, and did a little social media scrolling. The showers were harder to find, but I eventually found them with the help of a concessionaire employee, in the second bathroom building. Even though I had no soap, and I wasn’t doing laundry, the hot shower felt sooo nice and I also got to rinse out one pair of my socks and buff. The socks were so dirty, it was pretty gross.

 Really hope these are real

Really hope these are real

After my rinse off, I walked back to the store area to get lunch at the restaurant and charge my things in the outlets there. Originally I was planning on hiking out 11 miles on the rim alternate (the official PCT doesn’t actually go to the rim of the lake, so most hikers hike the rim trail alternate. Also, the official PCT thru the park is closed right now bc of fires from last year), but it was looking like I wasn’t going to make it that far, since I didn’t leave for the trail until 3:45.

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I had to take a super steep side trail back to the PCT which was pretty sucky. But the trail to the rim alternate was downhill and nice. However, the rim alternate trail to the rim was also pretty steep, and 2.4 miles through forest, so it wasn’t the most fun. Despite all the steep climbing, I was feeling pretty good going into the Rim Village. Everything changed here though. There’s no water from the store to PCT mile 1856.1, which is roughly 26 miles, including the rim miles. There may be a cache at a dirt road, but no one has given water updates for almost 10 days, so I don’t know how much I can rely on it. So, I loaded up a little under 5 L.

 On the side trail to Lightning Spring

On the side trail to Lightning Spring

And guess what? The Rim Trail is sucky. It is SUPER steep in many sections, both up and downhill, and carrying 3 days of food + over 10 lbs of water was not making my body happy. Also, the lake was very smoked in. So, I thought in the Rim Village I’d push to the 11 mi Rim Trail camp, but after suffering on the rim, I dumped out water & altered my plan to go off the rim trail to camp near a spring with water. The water carry is still going to be terrible (24 miles), and the rim trail is still going to be steep for a couple miles, but I’ll be able to tackle it in the morning when I’m more fresh. And, hopefully the smoke will clear out, and I’ll be able to see a beautiful sunrise. Fingers crossed!