Date: Monday, 17 July 2017
Start: Camped by the trail at Mile 1804.5, 6424 ft
Finish: Mazama Village, Crater Lake National Park, 1.0 miles from Mile 1818.4, 6178 ft
Daily Miles: 13.9 PCT, plus 1.0 to Mazama Village
Total PCT Miles: 1278.1
Weather: Cold early, then warm and sunny.
Accommodation: Motel room in Mazama Village, Crater Lake National Park
Lunch: Hamburger & fries
Dinner: Pizza and ice-cream
Highlight: Apart from getting to Mazama Village for a half-day off and some more interesting food, I relished my morning break sitting in the deep shade of towering pine trees on a pine needle-covered forest floor, listening to the quiet hum of bees/flies and the occasional bird call.
Lowlight: Could have done without the large amount of snow cover on the last few miles to the road crossing from which I walked into Mazama Village. It wasn’t dangerous, being mostly on flat or gently sloping ground, but it was tedious and energy- and time-sapping.
Pictures: Click here
I was on the trail at 6:00am with the mission of reaching Mazama Village in Crater Lake National Park in time for lunch and a half day off. It was cold, and my sleeping bag was wet with dew, but not too cold for the mosquitoes who had returned with a vengeance.
For most of the morning, the walking was very pleasant, though there were still many trees down across the trail. My hands were very cold and I will have to add gloves to my pack (currently in my “bounce box” waiting for me at Cascade Locks). However, once the sun rose a little higher the temperature was ideal for hiking. After a few hours the trail crossed into Crater Lake National Park, and I noticed that it was better maintained, with only a few trees down. It climbed quite high at one point to give good views in all directions, and the jagged rim of the Crater could be seen in the distamce.
The further I hiked into the Park, the more snow there was on the ground. It wasn’t difficult to negotiate, just had poor traction and there was always the danger of slipping over. I finally reached the highway just after noon and then had an easy mile walk down the road to Mazama Village. I pretty much went straight to the restaurant for lunch and later did my food shopping at the small camp store which had limited supplies. I’ll be eating a little differently for the next few days. I then did my washing in the camp laundry and talked my way into early access to my room (1:50pm instead of the advertised 4:00pm) for a shower. The room is basic (no TV, no fridge) and expensive, but is comfortable and I’m glad I booked. Apparently there is a not very convenient/attractive place for PCT hikers to camp, but otherwise the place is full (height of summer vacation).
Later I had pizza for dinner at the restaurant and will get breakfast there when it opens at 7:00am before returning to the trail tomorrow. I am taking the Rim Trail alternative to the PCT, which follows the rim of Crater Lake, but apparently there is still a lot of snow up there, and they are only permitting hikers to walk on some parts of the snow-cleared Rim Road because of construction work. I’m not sure how its all going to work out, but there are plenty of other PCT hikers here, including my German-American friend, Octane (who I haven’t seen since before the Sierras), that are planning the same route, so we’ll see.
The last time I came to Crater Lake was in January 1986 and we were unable to even see the crater and lake because the snow was so deep – twice the height of our small Dodge Van RV – so I’m looking forward to finally seeing it.