Friday 1st July
Start: Mazama Village
End: Crater Lake Lodge, off mile 1820.5
I admit that we did consider catching the free park trolley ride up to the Rim Village this morning, and hiking back down without our packs on to complete those PCT miles! But a feeling of cheating prevailed so we set out up the steep Annie Springs connector trail to rejoin the PCT fully loaded up.
I feel like a broken record, but it was hard-going. We climbed 1420 feet in a short space of time and had to use GPS to find the path through the snow. Our packs now have 5 days of food in them, so we choose to carry only half a litre of water each to compensate. What’s 5 miles anyway?! We could have stopped at a few streams to refill, but once again the mosquitos were terrorising us. Luckily a generous young couple from Colorado gave us an application of 100% deet which did seem to help towards the end. We need to get hold of more of the stuff – why don’t the United States Postal Service offer road-side deliveries?! Water and deet please.
During the hike we bumped into Dan who had decided to take the trolley up and hike back downhill without a pack! That guy makes me laugh!
On arrival at the ‘historic’ Rim Village we guzzled about 2 litres of soda each from the ridiculously over-priced and understaffed cafe. It’s the beginning of the July 4th weekend so the RVs are out in force, and kids played around slushing in patches of lingering snow.
Just beyond the gift shop we scoped our first view of the famous Crater Lake. Wow it really is blue. A trip to the small visitor centre taught me that Mount Mazama is a stratovolcano with caldera, and decreased in height by nearly 5000 feet when it collapsed after an eruption 7700 years ago. The resulting lake is the deepest in the US.
We tried to speak to a Park Ranger to find out more information about the trail conditions in the next section. The resulting conversation was staggering for the sheer lack of any insight of information that he could provide.
We hung around the lake taking pictures and waiting to check into our room at the Lodge. The veranda area overlooking the lake has wooden rocking chairs which made for a tranquil resting place.
Whilst there we received an email from a lovely lady called Joan who is a friend of Loren’s – the seasoned hiker we meet last week at South Brown Mountain shelter. It was a real surprise to be told that Loren was about to come off of the trail at Shelter Cove this evening, some 200 miles short of his target destination. He had said that he COULD get through, but that it was no fun, and that there is no point “doing it the hard way”. This did make us think once again – are we doing the right thing by continuing?