Thursday, August 7, 2014

Day 118 - Mazama Village to Thielsen Creek

One of the longest days I've had on the trail.
The problem with the trail today was that there is a 27+ miles long waterless stretch, starting from the Rim Village, 4 miles into the day. I did the whole 32 miles today.
Yesterday, a couple of section hikers finished their section, and they said they will put some water at the highway crossing 23 miles north. But I couldn't count on it.
Last night everyone stayed up late and drank a lot of beers. I retired at about 21:00, but it was hard to fall asleep with all the talking and noise around. After getting up at 6:00, I was almost the first one awake. There were a ton of empty beer bottles on the table.
I quickly packed my stuff, and went over near the store. I met Frank, who was already up and ready to finally do his laundry. We chatted while I had my yoghurt and sandwich breakfast. He offered to help Idan and me in Seattle, after we are done. That is very nice of him, and it will help both of us greatly.
I also saw Still Floating, and heard she is going to meet Halfmile later today right after the highway. I asked her if she can drop 2 liters of water for me over there. She agreed, and I gave her a 2 liter Sawyer bag I have found in the hiker box yesterday. I can't count on the cache, but now I had 2 liters with my name on them. That was a relief.
Beer left about half an hour before I did, but he plans on hiking only to the highway, where he will be picked up by his family for several days of trail.
I finally headed out to the trail at 8:00. Road walked back up and stayed my actual daily miles. The trail up to the Rim Village was nice and easy, and I got there just before 10. I filled up my water bag for the long stretch. I had Arizona peach tea in my water bottle. A trick I learned from Idan. I was ready for the rim.
The views on Crater Lake are amazing, and I had to constantly stop and take photos. Every few minutes I had a new angle on the lake, Wizard island and the surrounding cliffs.
The rim trail itself is not the official PCT, but am alternate closed for horseback riders. As such, it was also harder than the pct, with some short steep climbs. But over all it's not too hard.
After hiking below The Watchman, a big cliff above the lake, I came to a lookout for with tourists. More great views and photo ops. I also passed Butter Fingers, Halfmile, Fire Cracker, Tidy Camper, Princess and Mr Sandals.
Further on, I planned to stop right where the rim trail goes off the rim. Just as I got there I saw Beer was heading out of a nice shaded spot. I stopped there for some snacks, and was quickly joined by Butter Fingers. We had a really nice conversation during our break.
I hiked out from there at 13:00, with 12 miles left to the highway, and 9 more from there. The hike to the highway was quick and easy. It took me just over 3 hours to get there. I passed Moonshine, Sideways, Thor and Fern Toe on their lunch break.
At the road, I couldn't see Still Floating, or my water bag. But there was a cache of about 11 gallons of water near the trail. I filled up 2 liters, and headed out just as Moonshine, Sideways, Thor and Fern Toe were arriving. Beer was in the shade on the other side of the road, and his family were just arriving to pick him up. He will probably catch up soon, and I'll see him again.
With 9 miles of climbing remaining, I moved on at about 16:45. After a few minutes I met Still Floating at the nearby forest road, and told her I wouldn't need my 2 liters after all. She had left them at the trail head with a note stating they are mine, so I just changed the note to let anyone take them, if needed. Right after the cache at the highway, I doubt anyone will. I thanked her for her help, anyway, since it really eased my mind during the day, and allowed me to carry less water over here.
The remaining miles went by slowly. After two hours I finally reached the top of the climb, and has a snack there. Moonshine and Sideways came a few minutes later, and we hiked together the rest of the way to camp. It was very nice to just hike slowly and chat along. We finally reached the water at 20:00.
At the creek, we were worried there are no campsites nearby, but a minute further on the trail we found plenty of spots. Hops and Holland were already here, and Thor and Fern Toe came along shortly.
I practiced a parallel camp mode. Setting up the tent, then billing the water WHILE arranging my stuff in the tent. Then letting the water cook the dinner WHILE I went to wash my feet and clean my socks (the water were freezing!). When I got back, all I had to do was eat and go to bed. Which I did.
Crater Lake
Just a cool tree stump
Water cache near hottest 138
Mt Thielsen