Friday 8th July
Start: Odell Lake Resort, near mile 1905
End: Charlton Lake, mile 1922.6
Overnight the US National Weather Service had decided to upgrade the Oregon mountains region forecast to ‘Hazardous’. A weather front from Alaska was to bring an unseasonable cold front south. From 9am the rain would start, escalating to potential thunderstorms and a mix of rain and sleet by tomorrow. Great!
Over coffee we sat and debated what to do. We had already received a message from Dan letting us know that he had booked a room for the next 3 nights. Hmm. I am particularly eager to reach our next resupply point at Bend on schedule so that we can celebrate Conrad’s birthday properly! We also don’t have much contingency anyway before we have to make our flight out of here in early September. Delaying getting back on the trail we decided wasn’t a good idea. But we discovered neither was hiking in the rain for most of the day!
We were very grateful to be given a lift back to the trailhead by Jamie and Marni, who we had met at the resort yesterday. They are headed up to Alberta, Canada to start a new life there from England and Australia. I was very excited for them. It sounds awesome. As we pulled into the trailhead Dan was on the other side of the highway trying to hitch back to where we had just come from. Jamie the Legend turned the car around and went to go pick him up! What a nice guy.
Just as we were about to set off we saw one lone car parked up. Out sprang Vicki and Laurie who we had met at Mazama Village over a week ago. They had just had a few days away from the trail at the town of Eugene. We left them to say goodbye to their friend. I’m sure we will be seeing more of them in the coming days.
The first 6 miles of trail went well. After the rest and the fact that the trail had been cleared, it seemed as though we were flying along. I felt confident that 20 mile days were going to become our new norm. The forest itself was dank, and the trees covered with what looked like green candy floss draped over everything.
The climb up from Odell Lake was steady but not too intense. We caught an occasional view of a distant lake, but mainly we were in a green tunnel. The set of Rosary lakes were surrounded with a fluffy white mist. Maybe the rain will pass over us we thought – it had passed 10am! Then it started spitting. Constant drizzle ensued. The rain jackets went on. The mosquitos loved it.
We hiked for 11 miles in the rain to reach our camp on the edge of Charlton Lake. It was miserable. We slowly descended into despair. What are we doing?! Both of us were daydreaming about being back at the lodge, or anywhere else but here, where we were warm and dry. Without being able to stop for proper breaks we also thought about all the hot food and drinks we could have if we weren’t here! I’m so jealous of Dan right now.
We made the 17.2 miles to camp in 7 hours, which is a record for us on this trip so far. The rain had slowed a bit so we quickly put the tent up and started cooking. It got bad again. Just as we were about to dive into the tent to dry off a man walked into our camp. He was on his own, wearing a hunter style jacket and carrying just a water canister. He said he was camping over at Waldo Lake 3 miles away. There was something about him that I found unsettling, I’m not sure what it was. He was nice enough, he even offered us some of his big bag of weed (which we gratefully declined). Then his friend arrived, who is apparently camping on this lake. He is younger and American, with duct tape fixing a hole in his trousers. They seem to be living on the trail. Maybe I am crazy and jaded from living in a city, but I would feel a lot more comfortable if we weren’t camping here with them around tonight.
We have officially broken another personal boundary today – we have a pee potion the tent! Yes, it’s mortifying, but the alternative is getting wet and bitten outside.
Ending on a more positive note – we broke our personal 200 mile mark today! We surely must be getting closer to Canada!