to California border 500 miles
Lake to the Californian border
August Sunday Crater Lake From
our great campsite on the crater rim we sauntered down to the rim
cafe for breakfast then descended through forest to the post office
only to find that it was closed on Sundays. As we were due to pick
up our resupply box we would have to wait until tomorrow.
The campsite was down the road so we set off to pitch our
tent and enjoyed inactivity for the rest of the day. Chatted
to Rebecca and four female hikers dubbed 'The Nike Girls'
as they were bedecked in sports lycra clothing. They were
thru-hiking south with the help of a parent with a support
vehicle which handily for us, gave us a lift back up to the
village for some supplies.
L-R Martina, Scott, Sundog, Rebecca
collecting our packages the next day and reading our mail we hiked
south at 12 noon with heavy packs in hot weather. We walked on until
8.30pm through more lodgepole pine forest spotting some elk along
the way and passed Rebecca and Scott bivvying beside the path (they
were hiking 'ultralight' and were using a tarp sheet instead of a
tent to save weight).
the possibility of more swimming potential, we took the Sky
Lakes trail for the next few miles descending down to sparkling
Margurette Lake for a swim before regaining the PCT. This
area was 'lake heaven' as the terrain was dotted with lakes
much to our glee and we camped between Island and Dee lakes
just off the trail.
water in these high lakes still felt cold and there was some
magical quality about immersing our overheated bodies into
the waters. It seemed like it could revitalise us and add
strength to our hiking limbs!
Map of Sky Lakes showing lake dotted landscape
was up and active the next morning at 6am
cooking breakfast. I followed groggily in the dark and put my feet
into my boots to go to the toilet.
I hit something distinctly soft and squidgy and let out a yelp! When
I looked at my boot there was a big 'Western Toad' sitting inside
that had found a lovely dark warm home for the
night. I jumped back and Martina had
to empty it out for me as I was a bit squeamish.
The toad didn't seem
too bothered by its ordeal and leapt off into the woods.
hike continued round the east flank of another volcanic mountain,
Mt McLoughlin. Unfortunately the trail stayed in the trees most of
the way past the hill and we didn't see too much of it. The heat was
almost unbearable that day- not helped by the red lava rock that we
hiked over which seemed to intensify the suns rays. It was probably
the hottest day of our hike and we visibly wilted in the heat. Our
lunch stop was by a gurgling stream near a road crossing of Hw 140
which we made use of to cool down a little. In the afternoon we struggled
on to gain 10 miles over more lava slopes in stifling heat. Martina
was delighted to find a diversion picking berries alongside the trail
which now were ripening perfectly. Our bed for that night was in a
small wooden shelter with its own water pump.
left at 6.15am the next morning and by 7am it was already getting
hot as we climbed the slopes of Baldy Mountain. We passed lots of
variety of trees which was nice to see- Douglas Fir, Sugar Pine, Cedar,
Ponderosa Pine and others which we couldn't identify! At a road crossing
near here we were startled as we emerged from the forest by huge trucks
coming trundling by at speed (see picture below.....).
reached Hyatt Lake that afternoon where we had sent a resupply box.
Unfortunately it hadn't arrived so we decided to hike on the next
day and go into the town of Ashland nearby and try and intercept
the parcel there. An interesting meeting for us is with a hiker called
Jonathan Breen who had hiked northbound all the way through the snowy
Sierra Nevada mountains that we retreated from in early June- our
first northbounder encounter!
day after a bit of hiking we hitched into the town of Ashland. The
guy who gave us a lift is planning a golf trip to Scotland this year
so we had plenty to chat about. Ashland is small, touristy, expensive
- and we loved it! It has an annual Shakespeare
Festival which was running when we arrived and the town felt bustling
it was Sunday 16th August we waited in Ashland for our parcel
to arrive on Monday. It was no hardship and Martina in particular
enjoyed the cosmopolitan feel of the place.
managed to deal with our parcels on Monday and were able to hitch
out back to the trail without too much difficulty with a young girl
driving her fathers Range Rover - I guess we must have looked trustworthy!
next few days were on open rolling ridge lands with plenty of flowers
our interest as well as views south to the Trinity Alps - our next
major mountain range in California. About thirty miles south of Ashland
we came across a PCT California border post - we had made it back
to California. A hiker trail book was attached to the post and
we had an interesting time reading the comments of hikers we knew
who had already passed this way. Marathon Man was heading south
at speed but Brian Sweet, our fellow hiker on many occasions,
seemed to be having difficulty hiking alone and his entry sounded
a bit down. When hiking a trail of this length every one of us had
their ups and downs (ours mostly when we were ill, or it was too hot
or there were too many trees and no views!) but it was more difficult
I think for Brian hiking alone as the days through trees can seem
very lonely indeed.
we were in good spirit, it was 17th August and we were in our
final US state with only a mere 1,050 miles to go !
In deep forest Oregon
Brian in the mountains reading about.... mountains !
Martina filtering water from a stream