I sleep poorly again, all slanted the wrong way on the slope. I should have listened to myself when I was setting up, put my head on the uphill instead of my entire body on a slant, but now I’m just awake. Or, at least, in and out. A couple of times in the night, I shift and my left kneecap does this weird shifting/clicking thing that doesn’t exactly hurt, more just worries the hell out of me. The moon wakes me a few times too, just for good measure. 5am rolls around, and while I’m awake, I am not exactly pleased to be so. Only 25.5 miles to Mazama, though.
The dawn is beautiful, all pinks and blues and purple mountains majesty.
I get a nice prelude to the day to come in the form of a sign promising Crater Lake’s ahead.
The landscape evolves into some pretty cool rock formations, peeking around corners and hovering to make sure I’m awake enough for them to notice.
I grab water at the site I’d hoped to make it to yesterday, about three miles from where I slept; I plan on topping off in a couple of miles just before Honeymoon Creek, which, a Southbounder informs me, is apparently a swamp. When I get there, though, I’m still full up – I’ve learned that I rarely drink water in the morning. Plus, I really need to dig a hole, so I race on past it to keep the source nice and uncontaminated.
Honeymoon Creek is, in fact, an actual swamp, all stagnant and kind of gross.
But, not a half mile later, 1800! I almost miss it, but it’s kind of hard to miss.
Walking in the woods, walkity walk-walk, until there are no more woods and just a lot of burn and blowdowns.
I curve to the right and over a ridge and back to the left again, and then, WHOOMPH. That was 100% a tree falling. I hope a thruhiker wasn’t under it. I hear another one a few minutes later – it’s not even windy out! – but then I’m out of the burn and into the woods again.
I almost go the wrong way down a different trail – the PCT takes a hard right, and it’s only because I happen to be looking down at my phone that I notice the giant stick arrow pointing in the right direction. If that way wasn’t shorter, maybe I’d’ve taken it. But I want to make all the miles today, particularly since I’m going to take the Rim Trail tomorrow. It’s shorter, but it’s meant to be the PCT for hikers – it’s just that horses can’t make it, so it’s not the official route. Still, it’s accepted enough that I’m not going to have walked all this way just to miss out on that sight.
Speaking of which, woooooo Crater Lake National Park!
Pineapple catches me as I’m crossing, and it startles me – I’ve seen naught but Southbounders all day. Between the two of us, we decide it’s best to make it a little farther, take the Annie Spring Trail into Mazama, avoid the long roadwalk. But it’s up, up to the turnoff, and I am not emotionally prepared for it – I feel like I should’ve done the road instead. The Annie Spring Trail itself doesn’t help, either – it’s a mile long and a bitch to walk, and I bitch the whole way downhill. Once we get off that trail, there’s a roadwalk anyway – short, but a roadwalk nonetheless. I’m a little less grouchy since it’s flat, but I’m not looking forward to walking back up that hill in the morning.
Finally, finally, we pull into Mazama Village. Butterscotch is out front with a beer and Bear Sweats and Tuff Broad, who are doing their laundry. I get bull rush tackle hugged by a streak of blon–HOLY SHIT IT’S DOM. DOM FROM OVER 1500 MILES AGO DOM. DOM FROM DAY ONE DOM. She’s Quick Change now, and she’s headed to dinner in the restaurant with other folks, but she wanted to say hey before she went, in case we didn’t see each other again. With how it happened before, that’s totally possible.
I head into the store to grab my resupply boxes, arrange everything, and get shiny new clothes that aren’t threatening to fall off my body. Thanks Mountain Hardwear!
I decide on a celebratory microwave burrito and an ice cream sandwich for dinner, munch on my 1000 calories while I drink a free beer that some car campers left at the table we’ve commandeered for our resupply purposes. I’m still hungry when that’s done though, so I buy another 780 calorie burrito, and before I know it, between the food and the beer, I’ve had a 2000 calorie dinner. If feeling full is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.
Once I’m done stuffing my face, Butterscotch escorts us to the hiker campsite way back in the back where we set up and chill out with the rapidly-arriving hikers until the cold settles in and sleep beckons. I text Spesh before I drift off – we’re still on to meet tomorrow at Highway 209! Happy thoughts fill my mind as sleep takes me.
Date: August 21 • Start: 1793.7 • End: 1819.2 • Day: 25.5 + 1 to Mazama = 26.5
Notable Accomplishments: All by myselllllf • In da woods • Made Mazama Village