Archive for the ‘Oregon – C’ Category

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 Miles Today: 33.2 Total: 1,873.8

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010


It was cold last night after the storm! But clear skies and a bright sunrise made it easy to pack up and walk back to the PCT from our forest camp.  The wind was still blowing a bit, and it was still cold–brrr!—but so great to see blue sky.  After getting one last photo of beautiful Crater Lake, we were back to heading north, down into an “Oregon desert” zone of pumice-y dirt and trees. No other plants grow there.  Many of the trees have strange lumps and swellings on their trunks.


At the junction with the PCT equestrian trail, we met a sadly limping section hiker who is quitting because of blisters. He said his feet were raw. Bill advised that his shoes are probably too small.  A little while later, we caught up with “Phooey”, who wasn’t even up yet!   And we passed a southbound group of trail workers, all very earnest and wanting very much to be helpful.  They even offered us water!  Wow!  But it still seemed like forever till we reached the highway, since it was basically Oregon desert hiking.  There was more of the same after the highway, too, but that was a good thing–when we stopped for lunch, we could easily spread out all our damp gear for a “garage sale.” 

Shortly after that, the views began–stunning vistas of Diamond Lake and the many volcanic peaks in the area.  All the peaks still had snow on them.  We walked on, eager to reach Mt. Thielsen, a trail section we missed in 2005 because of snow.  (That year, we took a lower-elevation route near Diamond Lake.)   Mt. Thielsen did not disappoint us!  Wow!  The PCT climbs right up next to the peak–in fact the trail to the summit takes off right from the PCT, high on a shoulder of Mt. Thielsen.  We spent a lot of time admiring its multi-colored knarly, twisted strata and extremely pointed top.  It does indeed look like “The Lightning Rod of the Cascades.”  From the summit trail junction, we could see two of the Three Sisters, and they looked pretty snowy.  Hmmmm—we will be there soon.  Hope we don’t get lost in the snow there again, as we did in 2005!


After that, it was down, and down some more to reach cascading Thielsen Creek, the first water in 26 dry miles!   Several other hikers were there, too, and we all were tanking up on the fantastic cold, clear snowmelt water fresh off Mt. Thielsen.  There were lots of nice campsites in the area, but it was far too early to stop for the day, so all of us basically collected water, rested a bit, and then hiked on. 

The PCT took us back into another forest walk on our very tired feet (getting used to new shoes that we got from our box at Mazama) before we once again found ourselves crossing dry meadows, following posts to mark the trail.  At one point (not marked, unfortunately), we went over the highest point of the Oregon/Washington PCT.  All around us were interesting, knarly, multicolored peaks, but none as amazing as Mt. Thielsen.  We stopped for supper near the Maidu/Miller Lake junction, and enjoyed eating with a great view of the lake and boats. 

Three more miles of hiking, and we decided to call it quits for the day.  Our feet were definitely letting us know that they were still getting used to new shoes!  Finding a flat campsite turned out to be impossible, so we had to settle for a sloped one on the mountainside, in the woods,  with our usual buddies, the mosquitoes.  I really enjoyed the hike around Mt. Thielsen today!  Hopefully tomorrow we’ll make it to Shelter Cove.

Walk with Aragorn to Minas Tirith: On Ford of Isen road heading east toward Edoras


Tuesday, August 17, 2010 Crater Lake Miles Today: 20.7 Total: 1,840.6

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010


We were up early in the dark forest, packing up by headlamp and thinking “second breakfast at Mazama buffet!” But we still had plenty of miles to do— a bit over 10.  The PCT wandered around a bit, and still had a lot of “ups”.  We met a NOBO who is doing the Oregon PCT.  He was a really nice guy, but he’s already having serious blister issues on his feet which are causing him a lot of pain.  The key to avoiding blisters (we have had NONE!) is to do your prehike training carrying WEIGHT.  That’s what toughens up your feet–not just doing miles. 

We stopped for a breakfast of granola plus other leftovers, and charged off through the forest, headed for that buffet at Mazama! At one point the trail had a reroute (marked by temporary signs).  The mosquitoes got worse and worse till I finally gave up and started hiking in my headnet.  Finally we were at the road, and before 10 am,we were at Mazama Village.  A whole bunch of thruhikers were hanging out by the store, including the famous Freebird, who said Billy Goat will not finish the PCT this year and the other 70 year old, Yeahbut, looks iffy.


So Bill may be the guy to set the record of first person over 69 years to finish in one hiking season! Wow!  We pigged at the buffet, did showers, laundry, etc, did the buffet again and around 3:30pm, headed for Crater Lake rim, on a very pretty but very uphill trail.  The mosquitoes were bad, and I continued to wear my headnet.  We met two nice Brit hikers who said they wished they’d brought headnets, too.  “We’re jealous,” they said.  And from talking to them, I have now learned the correct way to pronounce the word, “Mossies.”  It’s “mah-zees”, not “moss-ees.” 

However, black clouds were overhead, thunder was rumbling, and after a little while it began to rain. I put up my umbrella and kept hiking along. At the Rim, we took on full water loads for 26 miles of no water. Since the only water faucets available are in the restrooms, this was a tedious business.  I had to fill my drinking cup, then pour it into my platypus, over and over again.  Bill and I both also put on full raingear, since it was obvious that we were about to head into some “serious weather.”  Just as we took our first few steps back toward the trail,  a fierce hailstorm began.  Some of the hailstones were 1″ diameter.  Yikes!


We had to retreat quickly— into the bathroom!  From the bathroom door we watched as heavy hail and rain pummelled the road and parking lot.  Man, were we glad we weren’t out in one of the exposed areas along the trail!   When the hail stopped, off we went into pouring rain and howling, very cold wind.  I went over to the rim and tried to take a picture of the lake, but the camera could not “see” anything in the rain.  We started out to follow the trail, and I soon had to stow my umbrella–the wind up on the Rim was way too fierce.  Sometimes it was hard even to walk, and the trail soon became a running creek, because of the pouring rain. 

Finally I said, “I think we’d better walk the road–this is ridiculous,”  and even Bill agreed.  So we began walking in the storm, along the edge of the road.  Since the road is a bit below the Rim, the wind was less horrendous, and that made it easier.  Along came a ranger in his truck.  He offered us a ride to the trail down to Lightning Springs camp.  But we were determined to get in as many miles as we could, and that meant getting well past Lightning Springs, so we thanked the ranger, but turned down his offer.

The rain finally stopped, but the wind did not.  It was still very cold, and blowing very hard.  The amazing thing was that all this wild weather was ONLY on the northwest side of the lake, where we were.  All the rest was clear, and we could see blue sky and sunshine on the south end of the lake!  Over our heads were very black clouds that were still spitting lightning off in the distance.

By 7:45 pm, the sun was almost down, so we walked across the pumice fields  just short of the Rim Drive intersection, and located a place to camp in a grove of trees that were still dripping from the rain.  It was obvious that we were in for a COLD night–what a switch from the warm weather we’ve had for the last few days!  The sunset was very dramatic–it was sort of peeking out from UNDER the clouds to the west.  Today has been the wildest, fiercest weather we have seen yet on the trail this year, but we’ve come through OK. 

Walk with Aragorn to Minas Tirith: Reach the road to the Deeping Coomb & turn south to Helm’s Deep


Monday, August 16, 2010 Miles Today: 32.9 Total: 1,819.7

Monday, August 16th, 2010


Well, the crickets sang a great lullaby last night! after a 32 mile day, plus that cricket song, I slept like a log. It was so warm at 5:30 am that we needed no jackets as we began the hike into Sky Lakes Wilderness. The mosquitoes were waiting for us when we came out of our net tent. Last time, we went the lake route– this time we stayed with the PCT. For some time it was just forest and no views. When we stopped for breakfast, we had to eat it under headnets!

Most of the trail this morning was viewless forest, except for some glimpses through the trees of Four Mile Lake.  We turned off to get water at Christi’s Spring, and fended off a horde of mosquitoes to get there.  It was wonderful, cold, delicious Oregon water!  But oh man!  The mosquitoes were terrible!  It’s so pretty at the spring that minus mosquitoes, it would be a wonderful place to just hang out for awhile. 

By lunchtime the forest began to open up and the trail began to climb up, till we were cruising the crest and looking at awesome views of dramatic cliffs, rock formations, etc.  Then the trail seriously took a climb up to 7,300 feet at Devil’s Peak.  The Peak is the highest of several, and they are all in a sort of curved row, with the trail contouring among them.

From up on our lofty perch, there was Klamath Lake to the south, a glorious blue “sea” and to the north, more knarly peaks.  Eventually the peaks blocked our view of Klamath Lake, but we could turn around and see the snowy north side of Mt. McLoughlin.  Amazing how different it was from the dry, gray south side.  The trail was often very rocky. I have noticed that the rocks have their own “music” as you walk over them. Shale goes “clinkety-clinkety.” Pumice goes “crunch, crunch” and regular rocks go “clunk, clunk.”  Just in general, today’s trail was pretty rocky, and it was obvious that at times the trail itself becomes a creek.  Both Bill and I got sore feet, since our shoes are pretty “dead” by now. But feet aside,  I continue to feel stronger and stronger!  Like I said, “Nutella rocks!”  I was able to hike right along and climb all the hills just fine.

Near the high point of the trail today, we met a gang of trail gorillas (some working hard, and some totally slacking).  They were dealing with one of the places where the PCT is basically a scratch across a slippery, slide-y, pumice-y slope.  The crew were positioning large rocks to form a support for the trail tread. As we headed down the north side of Devil’s Peak, well, well, there was snow on the trail again.  (Not bad, though.)   We were headed for a creek down below, because our water supply was low.  As we descended into forest again, the mossies were waiting!  We got the water we needed and took a Snickers break under headnets. 

Much more downhill took us into a barren, blackened, ashy mess of a fire zone. The damaged area was so large that I started being a bit worried about how we’d find a campsite before dark.  But we made it back into green forest near the Stuart Falls trail junction, in time to camp. Enthusiastic mosquitoes were waiting for us, so up went the net tent!  But there was a lovely cricket chorus here, too, so that was compensation!   And we made our 30 miles a day quota, too, even with all the rocks and climbing.

Walk with Aragorn to Minas Tirith:  Pippin uses the Palantir. Turn south.