The Views Above the Forest
Beginning Elevation = 6,300
Ending Elevation = 6,200
Elevation Range = 5,750 – 7,350
Weather: Sunny, high 70’s
Before I get into today, which was quite eventful, I need to write an addendum to yesterday’s posts…
After Snickers, Scott, and myself snuck into our tents with as few mosquito companions as possible, we all fell asleep soundly. Around 11pm or so, there was an awakening in the night. A hiker was stumbling around in the woods with his headlamp on. Eventually, the guy made his way over and after some pointers from Scott and Snickers about where he could find a flat spot, he began setting up…loudly. The whole thing got me a little peeved. Understandably, some hikers come in late. But this guy didn’t go about it right, flashing his headlamp into each of our tents and during our time conversing that night and in the morning, none of us got a good vibe from him, no apologies and a bit of condescending tones. Thus, we were ok to part with our new friend in the morning.
Scott left first, and then Snickers and I followed. Once back to the PCT (our campsite was a short side trail off of it), we found Dylan and Swissfoot there just finishing up their packing as well. Dylan was ready, so our squad of two became three. It was a pleasant morning. Lots of mosquitoes, which kept us moving headnets and all. I mostly listened to the other guys talk, they’re a little more peppy in the morning than I am.
We were cruising along nicely on a fairly level trail until Snickers took a tumble. An obtrusive rock was hiding underneath some foliage sticking out over the trail and grabbed Snickers’ toe as he went by, causing him to go down hard and just brace his fall slightly with his left arm. After hanging out on the ground for a bit he said all seemed to be ok. He did get some nice scrapes and cuts on his hand and elbow though, which we proceeded to add triple antibiotic ointment too and bandaged up. Snickers is a trooper and after a half hour maybe we were going again
By this time, Swissfoot had caught up so that our team of three became four. He was having his own issues. His blisters were causing him to have a serious hiker hobble going. When we started off, he led with me behind and I could just see the pain he was in as he limped along trying to keep as much weight as possible off the worst spots. Yikes! You may have guessed how he got his trail name, Swissfoot…Swiss cheese has holes, holes in his feet, you get the idea. I guess he’s always had the problem because he got the name hiking the Appalachian Trail. Despite our squad’s injuries, we kept plugging away.
Eventually, Snickers and I lost the other guys or they lost us I suppose. They’d gotten ahead. We took a short break for breakfast and then kept going. We soon were leaving the flat forest and climbing up to some views!
This stretch since Ashland has had limited water sources, it seems they’ve been about 10 miles apart usually. So, by 11:00am or so, we were running low on water. Luckily, we made it to Snow Lake, along with Swissfoot who we’d reconnected with. We filled up from the shallow lake by going out on that log and submerging our bottles/bags into the water.
Once back on the trail, Snickers and I kept going another hour and a half or so before stopping for lunch. The trail leading up to our stopping point was spectacular, traversing a ridgeline up to a sort of pass. It was an amazing spot with views of the peaks surrounding Crater Lake ahead and views to the southeast of Klamath Lake within some smokey haze.
We had a guy called Hobbs join us for lunch. He wasn’t a very talkative fella, but did mention he’s did 40 miles yesterday. Yep. And he’s shooting to get 50. We’re definitely in the section where super hikers are cruising by getting these monster days in!
I believe lunch was our high point for the day. We then went down and had a nice 3 mile section where there were a few streams even, something new we hadn’t seen in a while. At 17 miles into our hike we reached the last water source prior to the Crater Lake area, which is about 20 miles away or something. I filled up a woping 5 liters! It was pretty stagnant. And had some tadpoles and one frog hopped away from me as I filled.
We left the frog pond water feeling pretty good, pretty motivated. But the uphill later in the day wore us down. We were shooting for a site 6.8 miles away and ended up at the one 3.7 mile’s away seeing some of our friends, Scott and Dylan and Simple already camped there. We chatted a bit with the group (there were some others as well), and then set up our tents. By the time we’d set up and brought our dinner stuff out, folks had already retreated to their tents! Must have been an exhausting day because it wasn’t even 7:00pm at that point.
Lots of mosquitoes. Inevitably, a few made there way inside the tent.
Sleep came quickly!