7/22/17 9.3 miles PCT Mile 1836.7
Today was to be a leisurely day being tourists in Crater Lake National Park. One caveat is that we would still have to walk and carry our backpacks stuffed with our food resupply and extra water. We made a plan the night before to take the trolley to the rim and have breakfast at the Lodge. From there we would hike along the rim and then take the lightening trail back to the PCT. Most hikers take the rim trail as an alternate to the PCT but we were told it was closed.
We caught the shuttle at 9am which consisted entirely of PCT hikers. When we unloaded and Lt. Dan saw Crater Lake he said, “no one would ever believe us.” Lt. Dan is Israeli and says this anytime he sees something beautiful. We took picture after picture and then walked to the lodge for breakfast.
The waitress was very friendly and asked how our hike was going. When she took our order she gave us each a nickname based on how we looked or what we ordered. During breakfast we all remarked how jealous we were of the tourists napping on the porch in the big rocking chairs. So we became tourists, we lounged in rockers and overstuffed chairs in the Lodge.
Eventually someone had to make a move, Rodeo an 18year old Texan decided it was time to leave at 12:00. The rest of followed suit and walked to the gift shop/cafe to fill up our water bottles. We ran into Valley Girl, A Game and Scoops who told us a park ranger said the Rim Trail was open. So we changed our plans we would do the alternate which meant we would have a 26 mile water stretch. I thought I was out of the desert. 2 of our water bladders have developed leaks so we had to buy new bottles except the NPS doesn’t sell water bottles due to the waste generated. While I agree with this policy we needed bottles so we had to buy orange juice and Powerade bottles.
We set off weaving our way through all the tourists stopping at each new vantage to take pictures. At one point it actually started to feel like a vacation as we went 3 miles in 3 hours. We even took our packs off and walked up to Watchman Tower. I felt like I was flying once I took my pack off and walked up he trail. Our packs were so loaded down with water and 6 days worth of food I felt weightless, I was galloping up the trail.
We stopped at one last view point for a quick snack surrounded by tourists when we heard a beeping noise. Matt had left to go the bathroom and the beeping was coming from his backpack. Flufffy and I assumed it was a townies phone but when the noise persisted I started to investigate. I grabbed our GPS sos device from Matt’s hip belt and saw that he had pocket dialed an SOS. It flashed and read SOS activated. I panicked and tried to deactivate it as Matt was now in my ear freaking out. In the meantime while I was cancelling the SOS the company managed to call both my sister and Dad and freak them both out. My sister said, “I just talked to her I’m sure she is fine.” We were but matt Matt said this is when Lisa Logic could get us in trouble. What if I had fallen down the caldera and was stuck. Afterwards we laughed about how ridiculous it would have been to call an SOS when there was tons of tourists everywhere.
Now that the sightseeing was over we continued on down the trail and road leading us back to the PCT. After only 9 miles we stopped at a camp to have a snack and no one made an attempt to leave. It was only 5pm far to early to set up camp but the site was nice and had lots of level camping spots. We decided to call it quits. This was a vacation day after all. We started a fire and Valley Girl and A Game soon joined us. In typical Scoops fashion he paused when passing and said he hoped to get as far away from us as possible. A bit later Fluffy walked up the trail and says he is camping .3 miles down st the junction to the PCT. He claimed there was no mosquitoes there. Liar! We put the fire out with some nearby snow and walked down the trail. It turned out to be a good idea as another hiker told us there was a water cache back where the PCT crosses the highway.
Matt, J.D and Lt. Dan made a new fire ring and started a fire. Back at the water cache someone left some coors so we had beer for dessert. Eventually the fire died down and the mosquitoes had us running for our tents where they would buzz for the rest of the night patiently waiting for us to wake up.