August 16th, 2018
Crater Lake Rim trail to Jack Springs Trail Junction, mm 1809
Distance: 14 PCT miles, 8 miles on Crater Lake Rim trail, 3 miles to and from Mazama Village; total 25 miles
I was on the trail plenty early for the sunrise over Crater Lake. I had such great expectations, after seeing so many pictures of it online and on TV. I was not disappointed. It was quite extraordinary, despite the smoke. The reflections off the lake were really interesting.
I meandered along the rim for about 6 miles, in walking bliss. I stopped often to take pictures so it was slow going. That early, I had the trail basically to myself. It was great being a tourist but all alone. There weren’t as many tourists visiting because of the smoke, I guess. But I could see everything well enough.
I tried to go to the visitor center at the rim but it was still closed. Most things didn’t open until 9 or later. So I read all the interpretive signs. I learned that it is the deepest freshwater lake in the US at nearly 2000′. It is 6 miles across and also is supposed to have the clearest water, though Blue Lake in NZ also claimed that. The original Mt Mazama stood about 12,000′ tall and blew up 7,700 years ago. Native Americans would have been witness to such an event.
Feeling satisfied with my experience, I headed down the trail towards Mazama Village. It is really just a cafe and campground store, along with a HUGE campground, mostly for RVs. The grounds stretched for miles. At the store, I claimed my box, only after the standard difficulties in locating it. The place was chaotic, with probably 30 to 40 thru-hikers coming and going while I was there.
Many had to go to the nearnby post office to find their boxes. The kind lady at the store called the post office for me and they said they didn’t have my box. It was only after she went back to personally check that she found it. A previous feeble attempt by another employee had turned up nothing. It’s all about who you deal with. But they didn’t charge for this service and I can see how it can be frustrating dealing with so many boxes.
With so many people milling about, I just wanted to get out of there fast. I charged electronics, took a shower, and repackaged my food. I had just done laundry at Shelter Cove, so I only washed some of the clothes I had been wearing while I took a shower.
I ran into Lucas, the Swiss guy I hadn’t seen since Stevens Pass. He told me that Taylor and Plants had just left the day before. I had no idea I was so close behind. I also met a bunch of new SOBOs. It seems that I have caught up to some of the bubble, finally. Most were heading out to try to get to a water source that was 20 miles away, so I didn’t get to talk with them for long. I also met The Kid again and he was very helpful in sharing info on the campground and trail.
I hung around another hour just eating junk food that was being passed around and sharing stories. The store was out of fuel canisters and mine was spent, so it was looking like I would have to cold-soak all my food for the next 4 day section. But then a guy came up offering a box full of snacks and also mentioned that he had fuel. I jumped at the offer and followed him to his van. Like offering candy to a kid, this might have been a great abduction strategy but his van was filled with water bottles, not female hikers.
I realized then that he was the trail angel that stocks the water cache further north. In fact, he was none other than the famous Devilfish, a notorious Trail Angel that has been doing this for many years. He was even in a few podcasts that I have listened to. I wanted to at least compensate him for all the resources he had provided me, so I gave him $10, which seems piddly now. I should have given him more for all he has done over the years. Can you imagine how much work it is just filling all the water jugs and lugging them around everywhere? Not to mention all the gas it takes to drive to and fro…he also helps shuttle hikers when there are fire closures. What a great guy.
I headed back to the trail around 2 pm in the company of the Kid and another SOBO, Twist. We got in another 17 miles and stopped where there was a dry spring in a burn area. My map showed some ponds in the vicinity so the Kid and I went exploring. We found the ponds…2 were dry but one had a little bit of water left. I even scared a blue heron from the pond. I had enough water from Mazama, but the Kid was happy to be able to fill his water bag.
It was nice camping with some other SOBOs again and I had a good night. I did have a dream about some predator stalking me while I slept and woke up screaming. I hope no one heard me. I don’t usually have bad dreams on the trail.