Day 127: August 7th
Mile 1829.3 (Mazama Village) to Mile 1853.1
Today’s hike was along the very scenic and beautiful Crater Lake Rim. Thankfully the air was mostly clear, less effected by the smoke from the wildfires than the past few days.
It’s interesting to note that when I last hiked the Crater Lake Rim in 2008 the trail had Pacific Crest Trail signs. Then it was as if there were two PCTs: the Hiker’s PCT and the Equestrian’s PCT (that takes a lower route). It appears the National Park has removed the PCT signage from the Rim trail and today the Rim trail is now an alternate to the PCT.
I met Deb just north of Highway 138. Unfortunately she had a bad day and had a nasty deep cut on the heel of her foot that was still bleeding several hours later. After some discussion, we hopped in the car and drove to Medford to find a doctor. We booked the last available room at the Motel 6.
Day 123-126: August 3rd – 6th
Mile 1762.8 to Mile 1829.3 (Mazama Village)
Technical difficulties that have prevented blog updating for the past few days. I ordered a new Suntastics battery for my iPhone thinking it would work well with the excellent Suntastics solar charger, but it was defective so I was not able to keep the iphone charged enough for blogging. Here is a a multi-day post to catch up.
Recently I have been hiking around the same 30 or so hikers. I usually only see 10 or 12 of them each day because we are all moving at more or less the same pace and are spread out along the trail. The fires around Etna have changed this some as hikers have had to skip closed sections of the Pacific Crest Trail and are now suddenly further along the trail than they normally would be. So, I have been meeting some new folks.
We also have encountered more Oregon section hikers than I was expecting and most of them started at the Oregon border or Ashland — probably a dozen so far. Many have been inspired to hike the Oregon PCT by Bob Welch’s book Cascade Summer.
On August 4th I passed by Highway 140 near Fish Lake and a sign there declared the PCT closed due to a fire ahead. After a phone call to the ranger station we found out the PCT was not closed so we continued on.
Heavy rain from a thunderstorm pelted my new one person tent during the night. The tent performed well and kept me dry.
I reached Mazama Village on August 6th where Deb was waiting with my resupply. She had traveled from Ashland to San Diego and back to Crater Lake in only four days. Wow.
Lon got a late start hiking as is typical of most town days. Smoke from the area wildfires was not too bad this morning but increased as the day went on. None of the fires are near the section of the Pacific Crest Trail he is hiking today, although a fire is burning near the trail about 40 miles to the north.
Callahan’s is a nice, hiker-friendly lodge with excellent food that lets hikers camp on the back lawn. Unfortunately it’s close proximity to Interstate 5 made for a noisy night. We moved to the Ashland Motel Friday which was convienantly located and allowed easy access to the grocery store, outfitter, bank, and Post Office.
We took care of our town business including checking on airport transportation for Deb. She has decided to stop hiking at Ashland and will return to Oregon with Lon’s car to sightsee and support his hike. Lon will continue hiking on to Canada.
Today’s hike along the Pacific Crest Trail was mostly high on the ridgetops and we could see many of the wildfires started by the previous day’s thunderstorms. The Ashland paper reported 34 fires were started. Most were small and some distance away but still it was alarming to see two or three new fires with each ridge we crossed or bend the trail made. Toward the end of the day the smell of smoke was very noticeable. We stopped at Callahan’s Lodge for the night.
We strolled out of camp this morning at 6:30 am since we had done the two climbs yesterday (almost 7000 feet!) The trail meandered around the tops of the mountains all day: up, down, around. The typical PCT day.
Until, finally, really, no mirage, we hiked over the Oregon-California state lines at 4 pm. Egads, we had completed a thru-hike of the entire state of California!
We feel privileged to have made it this far in under 4 months – wow, that is a really long time to be on the trail. And still be walking! Because we were chased out of California by late afternoon thunderstorms: we saw two, and maybe three, forest fires started by the lightening. The smoke made Deb nervous so we hiked three miles further today to put more distance between us and the fire and to camp near a road.
So here is the recap of our dramatic day: fires, rain, state borders, and 1700 miles. We are safe and happy and overwhelmed in our tent tonight, watching the stormy skies.