20.5 miles (Miles 1829.3 – 1849.8)
Mazama Village – PCT Mile 1849.8
Crater Lake. Incredible. I had a lot of built-up anticipation for this particular spot on the PCT, and I was as far from disappointed as I possibly could be. It was more blue than I’d imagined, it sparkled more in the sunlight than I thought it would, the hills surrounding the lake were spattered in grays, purples, blues and a whole array of other colors, and the hike around the rim was more fun and challenging than I expected it to be. We also had great company. My mom and dad hiked the 6 miles along the Crater Lake Rim Trail with us before they head back towards Portland with Aloha.
The day started when Tears and I left Mazama Village this morning to do the four miles to Rim Village where the views of the lake open up from up on the rim. Those four miles were mostly uphill, but it felt good to push them out early. Aloha met us at Rim Village with my folks, we took some photos and had a soda, then we took off down the trail.
We got some great views of the lake from the trail, and we were all stopping often to take photos. We were up high enough that we even got some nice views to the west, too. There was quite a bit of smoke, but it was hanging heavily in the valleys so that the higher mountaintops popped up through it like islands in a sea of smoke. The trail was dusty, winding and steeply hilly in spots, but we had fun with it. Every corner we came around offered a new angle of Wizard Island, the teal shoreline, the giant inner slopes of the caldera, and even sandy meadows spotted with colorful leafy shrubs and a few tiny flowers. It was a really nice, and really special way for Poots and Pappy to spend their last day here with us… and it stretched out the good-bye in a satisfying way. Good-byes are always hard, but a few hours of smiles leading up to it softens it a little bit.
We met Aloha at a road crossing where Tears and I filled up on water and food for the next few days and said tearful farewells to Poots, Pappy and Aloha… we watched them drive away as Aloha cranked some music by The Who for us. Before we knew it we were back on the trail, heading away from the lake, downhill off the rim and back into pretty lodgepole pine forests. We are headed into some Oregon desert country with some waterless stretches, so our packs were both weighed down with a lot of water, which made us even more thankful for the break in challenging terrain. The afternoon was mostly downhill and flat.
We’re camped amongst the tall lodgepoles where we felt at war with swarms of meat bees trying to steal our dinner, along with their black and white wasp enemies. It was a battleground for a while. The black and white big waspy guys were diving for the yellow and black smaller dinner-stealing bees as we waved and jerked as they flew around us and landed on our dirty, stinky toes and the edge of our dinner bowls. Maggie showed up and we were happy that she joined us at our camp. She battled the bees, too, but they finally slowed down around dusk. They must have a “be home at dark” curfew. Thank goodness! Our tent view tonight is a giant full moon and an open view to the starry sky.
I feel like I’m kind of coming down off the week with my parents visiting, and I hope these next few days aren’t too hard mentally. I miss them already, and I’m looking really forward to seeing Aloha when he gets back from Portland. But for now, sleeping, hiking, eating, and enjoying the adventure is what’s on my agenda. Sounds pretty sweet to me!
So really quick history for today… Crater Lake was formed after several huge volcanic eruptions over 6,800 years ago caused Mt. Mazama to collapse into itself, which created this ginormous crater, or caldera. Then other smaller eruptions kind of filled in the cracks, allowing the crater to fill up with snow runoff water. There are no inlets or outlets to Crater Lake – it’s all snowmelt and fresh rainwater, and I believe it’s the deepest lake in the country. Pretty cool stuff, hey!?
Tonight I love my tent mesh. It’s currently keeping out a few pesky mosquitoes, it saved my sanity from the meat bee swarm, and it’s still allowing me a clear view of the moon through the trees and winking stars above. Something as simple as tent mesh can really be a great thing to love.
Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!