Monday, August 4, 2008
Up early, pink sunlight reflecting off the big mountains in the distance was just beautiful. We could see Mt. Hood in the far distance. Mt. Washington and Mt. Jefferson were there too, closer and with snow. Hiked down to Rte 242 (which was closed for construction) and through more lava fields, lots of black rock to twist your ankles on. Cruised right along, hiked through a burn area where there were purple lupine everywhere and it smelled like grapes. Around noon, we crossed the 2,000 mile mark! Yeah! Neighbor, Slider, Thrust, Flippy and I were all there taking pictures! Then 1 mile later, Neighbor and I took a left turn to the Big Lake Youth camp where we had mailed ourselves some food for the next 4 days. We got our box, sorted through stuff and were going to stay there but they don't let people stay anymore, so we decided to hike on a few more miles to Rte 20 and hitch into the town of Sisters. Yeah, town! So, with fully loaded backpacks, we hiked to the highway where cars were flying by and within 2 rides, we were in the very touristy town of Sisters. The library was only open for another hour or so, so we went right there and caught up on stuff. We have not had internet access since Ashland (30 trail miles into Oregon) After that, Neighbor made a few phone calls and got us a room at the Best Western, it wasn't cheap, but it includes breakfast and we are here now (internet in the common room) We showered and there is a grocery store across the street that we bought some food at and we are calling it a night! We will stay until about 11am tomorrow and head back to the trail. 4 days to Timberline Lodge (where we mailed ourselves a food box) and 2 more to Cascade Locks (which is the LAST town in Oregon!!!) Washington state, here we come!
Nice warm cabin for the night was wonderful and we got to sleep in! We left around 0630 and boy was it cold out! Back up the hill, nice view of South Sister, nice breeze and no bugs! Our luck was changing! Took a nice break by a creek with Slider and Thrust, ate some snacks and we were feeling good! Started hitting the snow patches a little ways after that, more downed trees to climb over, but that's just part of the trail. Took another break by Obsidian Falls, tons of obsidian rock all over the place (black shiny lava rock that looks like glass). Good amount of snow after the Falls, we lost the trail once but found it quickly, suprised at how much snow there really is out there that hasn't melted from last winter! Then we hiked through some lava fields, what a change of scenery, past Middle Sister and The Husband. A beautiful area, breezy and just wonderful hiking (I love Oregon again) :) Camped where there was a breeze, a few bugs found us, but nothing like a few days ago. Camped with Thrust and Slider and Flippy came along later (he got all turned around this morning and ended up hiking 8 extra miles when he climbed over a downed tree and then hiked 4 miles BACK the way he had came!) 27 miles today was pretty good with a later start!
We heared the strangest noise this morning.......it was raindrops on our tent! Wow! That was a first of the trip! (it has rained on us once while hiking and twice when we were in a town) This was just sprinkles, but enough to get things wet. I put the rain jacket on and started hiking around 0515, I taped my photon light to my wool hat (cold mornings) and away I went. Somewhere along the way, I managed to take a wrong turn and never even knew it until I saw Thrust coming down the trail TOWARDS me! I asked, "where are you coming from?" Ummm, the campsite" he replied. Well, that confused us both and I turned around and started hiking with him and shortly after recognized a huge tree that I had climbed over about 10 minutes before! Oooops! We both continued north and eventually caught up to Neighbor who was wondering where exactely I was by that point! Bugs came out and the rain stopped, so the rain jacket came off and the bugnet went on. Elk Lake Resort was a short hike away and they opened at 8am for breakfast and we were there by 0810! I had some new Montrail Hardrocks waiting there for me too! Time for new shoes! Elk Lake was nice, we showered, did some laundry, organized our food for the next couple days and within an hour someone suggested that we take the rest of the day off and relax and take a break from the bugs! Well, I was all for that! Relax is what we did! The place was pretty expensive though ($2 for a can of soda or $2 for a snickers basr) ouch! Pipi and Outback showed up! We haven't seen them in ages! It was great to see them and chat and catch up on old times! The store sells ice cream cones and everytime a huge bucket of ice cream was close to the bottom, they would bring it out to all of us to "clean out"! How fun, we had chocolate, huckleberry, mint chocolate chip and one other! Then Alan showed up and he had a cabin rented for the night and offered to let us stay with him! Things just keep getting better and better! There was a live band playing by the water and I borrowed Slider's phone and called home, what a great day it turned out to be! Flippy, Antfarm and Swiffer in the ice cream barrels!
Up around 0430, chilly out, ate some cheerios, NO BUGS! Hiking by 0515 in the dark, but only dark for 15 min or so, easy walking, moving right along today. Took a nice break on a gravel road with a great breeze around 1015 and we'd already hiked 11 miles, we stayed there for 45 minutes! The mosquitos were out in full force again once the sun came up, we put on the deet and basically didn't stop for the rest of the day! If we slowed down to climb over a tree, the mosquitos caught us and feasted! Ahhhhh! I surrender! We never stopped for lunch, just ate our snacks and finally took a break towards the end of the day in a spot that wasn't too buggy. Camped by Island Lake, no good camping spots, we were just tired of running and eventually the crew showed up, we cooked dinner with headnets on and ate dinner with the headnets on! I practically live in the headnet! The funny thing this evening was that Slider cooked too much food and offered some to Thrust (who was 2 tents away) and there were so many bugs, neither one of them wanted to get out of their tent to give/receive the free food! (eventually Thrust made a run for it, but it took awhile!)
Woke up at 0430 and started packing up in the dark. Camping by the lake wasn't the best idea, all of our gear was soaked in the morning from the condensation, soaked like it had rained out. The mosquitos were awful today, snow on the trail, lots of downed trees. We hiked to Shelter Cove Resort and dried out gear, drank some soda, ate some ice cream and then things were better. Amazing how 4 hours of relaxing from swatting bugs can make you feel MUCH better. At one point this day, I wanted to just call it quits on this whole walking thing, but I was feeling better by the days end. Hiked past Rosemary lakes and there was a nice breeze, then we camped by a ski hut and had a good day in the end :)
Hiking by 0540, mosquitos was the word of the day. Took a break around 8am and we had already hiked 6 miles. The break was on a gravel road where there was a breeze and we could actually sit and relax for a minute, not feeling like we had to outrun the bugs. Decided to go for Summit Lake for the night, a nice 25 mile relaxing day! And the guidebook says that there are less mosquitos there! Perfect! Well, that was wrong! We descended and hiked past tons of murky little swampy mosquito breeding grounds and when we got to summit lake......ahhhhh! The bugs were crazy! The only exposed skin on me (hiking in a headnet at this point) was my hands and they were actually biting the PALMS of my hands! It was enough to drive you insane, you are not even watching where you are walking, you are just running and slapping mosquitos! And there have been lots of downed trees, those only slow you down and give the bugs time to catch you! It's insane! Anyway, we camped there. The lake had dead fish and frogs in it, and smelled like fish....but a few of the guys went swimming in it anyway........Pretty sure the picture is Cresent Lake.
Awesome sunrise with Mt. Thielsen in the distance. Said good-bye to Crater Lake and hit the dusty trail. Flat walking, saw what we were later told was ELK! We thought they were big brown deer with antlers, but I guess they were elk, very cool! Mosquitos are still out in full force, took a break by Rte. 138 with "the crew". There have been 10 of us hiking together and camped together last night. Slider, Thrust, JZ, JB, Antfarm, Swiffer, Boomer, Neighbor and I. Had a 25 mile waterless stretch, ate lunch at the bottom of Mt. Thielsen and saw a dayhiker going up there! (it is a crazy steep peak) Wish I could attatch a picture of it! Amazing! Hiked a couple more miles to water which was glacial runoff and we drank right from the stream. Cooked dinner with the headnet on, mosquitos are just awful. 30 miles for the day again, we'll be through Oregon in no time with these miles!!
We got to sleep in and it felt great! Went to the "all you can eat" buffet at the Crater Lake restaurant and had a blast! We used money that was mailed to us as a gift from Frodo and ate until we were going to explode! Eggs made to order, bacon, french toast, sausage, fresh fruit, yogurt, it was all just amazing! Thanks for the great breakfast Frodo! It actually powered us through the day and we didn't eat again until dinner! Around 1030 we started the walk up to Crater Lake Rim and WOW! What a beautiful and amazing place. Took tons of pictures (that I would love to attatch, but can't from this library computer) I'll save them and add them later, wow! Hiked the Rim trail about 1/2 way around the lake and took pictures from all angles. A huge group of us camped near the Rim and took great sunset pictures, chilly night. The nights have been getting colder and colder as we make our way north, but we still have our gloves and hat and our 15 degree sleeping bags, so we are warm and toasty! :)
Up with the mosquitos, they never went to sleep! Hiking by 0530, wearing the gloves, the mornings have been chilly lately. Super easy walking through the Oregon desert. Made it 20 miles to the highway that goes to Crater Lake by 1230 and walked down to the campground. Took a shower and did some laundry (after Neighbor, Milky and I split a large Chicken, bacon and onion pizza at the restaraunt) food always comes first! Got a close campsite, picked up our food boxes that we had sent here and sorted the stuff out. Grammy Peg mailed us 2 boxes here and one of them was ALL chocolate! Yeah! I put a dent in that box in a hurry! :)
Hiking by 6am, mosquitos were out in full force, pulled out the 1.1 oz spray can of deet and hoped for the best! Can see some sharp pointed peaks in the far distance, hiked down, down, down to a mosquito infested hole and camped there for the night, after a 30 mile day, once you crawl in the tent and zip it up, it doesn't matter where you are.....you can always sleep like a log! 20 miles to Crater Lake, so we'll be there tomorrow!
It was still dark out when we got up at 5:15! A little cloudy today, so it wasn't as hot out. Chilly morning and if my gloves were not buried in my pack, I would have put them on my freezing cold hands! Nice pine forest to walk through. I saw a family of 5 out picking huckleberries, so I got to see what a huckleberry looks like. I was picking very small wild strawberries, but by the time they made it to my mouth, they were basically squished, but still tasted sweet. The afternoon hours were spent walking through lava fields. Camped by a small stream on the other side of a highway and listened to cars "peeling out" for about an hour while we tried to sleep! Camped with JZ, Lucky and Milky again. Neighbor and Milky in the picture.
Up early and caught a ride back to the trail with one of the workers at Callahan's Lodge. Hiked between 24 and 25 miles to Lake Hyatt Resort and camped there for the night with JZ, Milky and Lucky. The campground had a small restaraunt, so we ordered a pizza for dinner! Gotta love the trail in Oregon so far!! Easy walking and pizza!
Callahan's Lodge under construction to the left!