a journey of 2,652 miles
THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL 2018
starts with a single step.
Miles 1820.9 to 1844.4. Mazama Village Camp to Burnt Forest camp (Crater Lake Rim Trail Alternate instead of PCT).
Day 100 out on the PCT! We have been looking forward to reaching this milestone. We don’t factor in the 18-day break while we were off trail traveling to and from Europe, so 100th day on trail actually means 100 days living outside in the wilderness, on the PCT. Feeling right at home on a 30cm wide and 2652-mile long carpet consisting of dirt, rocks, gravel, wood, pine needles, sand or water streams depending on where we are.
We start hiking together with BigBro at 06.15 am. It is very steep terrain today. We climb about 300 meters in a bit more than one mile! The trail goes all the way up to the rim of the huge caldera and is well worth it! After exhausting 1.5 hours we can finally see the end of the climb. We hit a road and realize we are there! Right next to the crater!
We have heard from fellow hikers that Crater Lake was more like Smoke Lake for the last 3 weeks and there was hardly anything to see due to all the wildfire smoke. But not today! Today is beautiful, sunny, almost no smoke! We approach the actual rim and have a spectacular view all over Crater Lake! The water is azure blue and extremely clear. In the middle of the lake is a small island where the actual volcano is located on. Several smaller boats have anchored in front of the island where the water is turquoise and their seems to be a small path leading from the tiny harbor to the top of the island which would be the volcano.
We enjoy the incredible view for a couple of minutes, take some great pictures and then realize that we are oh so hungry. So we check our Guthook App and decide to have breakfast at the lodge close to where we are now standing. BigBro and I go for the omelette, Maya has her eggs over easy with bacon as usual and it is delicious!
We now go back to the rim and start hiking along it. It is not the official PCT we are taking here since the PCT would not pass Crater Lake at all. But almost every hiker takes this alternate (except maybe Speedy who is really into doing every single PCT Mile ;)) We take it very easy today and enjoy the beautiful and stunning lake.
We have lunch right underneath a large tree overlooking the pretty spectacular scenery, where we cook our lunches, pasta for Maya and ramen noodles for me. We shipped the last boxes from Ashland where they had an excellent ramen selection, so I get to eat my favorite kind: Chili and lime with shrimp. I am actually really excited about this because I haven’t eaten them in ages! But just when the noodles are ready I kind of manage to knock them over, and here they are, lying on the floor in all their ramen glory. And here comes the moment why thruhikers are often referred to as hikertrash. I am hungry, the noodles may lie on the floor but are cooked, our meals are calculated for each day meaning we don’t really have any food to spare. So what can I do but eat them off the ground! Yummy! We are soon joined by a brave little chipmunk helping me with the rest of the noodles lying scattered on the ground. But ramen doesn’t seem to be a favorite of his, he is more interested in our nuts and not scared of coming close. He even mistakes Maya’s finger for a nut and bites into one of them! We delay our hiking start because our chipmunk friend is just too much fun to hang out with.
Eventually we get going, we now leave the lake and walk downhill back to the PCT. A water cache there is well stocked due to a rather dry stretch in this area, and we gladly fill up our bottles. We run into a SOBO called Firefly who has achilles heel pains and can help her out with some tape and cream. She is very grateful because she has been hiking all by herself at a loss of what to do. With the tape and muscular cream she seems to have gained new energy and is determined to make it to Crater Lake from where she can hopefully hitch to a town to rest. The beautiful and dense forest following the lake is very mystic, BigBro and I go ahead while Maya takes it slower. She has been feeling sick since breakfast (we really don’t digest town food very well!) and when she finally catches up with us we decide to call it a day. We are all kind of bloated and shiftless and happy with the mileage we’ve done today despite an extended breakfast and lunch break. So we set up camp at the next flat spot we find, which happens to be in a burnt area zone and settle down for a good night’s sleep. Crater Lake was amazing and exceeded our expectations particularly in terms of the sensational weather we had.