Day 101, 23.5 miles
Crater Lakes National Forest Mount Thielsen Wilderness Umpqua National Forest
I couldn’t sleep in. Today I could have. I’m so programmed to wake early and hike every day. I packed up and had to wait in front of the restaurant till it opened at 7. My friend Freighttrain joined me. We have been leapfrogging one another since before Etna. I get to watch him in action again. He can eat.
I wasted a lot of time buying resupplies, finding the post office (far away), and dilly dallying. I am posting ahead my new Hoda shoes, that gave me blisters and pain, so I don’t have to carry them. I am going to try duct tape on my old Altra shoes to keep them together. Also I’m going to try using cardboard around my hip belt to soften the pressure on my back bones. I lost my seat pad that had been working great.
There is a shuttle bus taking tourists and hikers the 3 or so miles up to Crater lake. Some section hikers suggested I take it also, thereby missing the uphill climb on the pct. There is no way I would do that. When I say that I hiked from Mexico to Canada, I want to know in my heart that I did. I do not want to skip any boring sections. I won’t take a week of zeros to have fun in town. I am not dabbling in the pct. I am hiking it. I have respect for fellow hikers that are also committed to completing this trek from start to finish.
The Rim Trail along Crater Lake was pretty cool. So many tourists in the gift shops, cafe, and in the car pull outs.
I was happy when I got farther and farther away from the crowds and deep back into the quiet. The duct tape seems to be holding out. The cardboard is not working. My back hurts so much. I am worried.
I pass a note written in the dirt. Water. An arrow pointing. I keep walking. I have been carrying 4.5L of water for 12 miles. This is another long waterless stretch. Then I change my mind. I turn back. I should top up, just in case. There is a bear box. I open it to see large jugs of water. Someone has left a pair of slipper boots. Hey! Maybe I can use them to pad my back? Yes! They work great. Phew! No more pain. There were some empty cans of pop. Oh, one full one. I picked it up and was about to open it. Wait, it’s not pop. It’s….. Beer! Yes! I put it in my pack to enjoy later. Magic, magic, magic. I love trail magic.
I am camped beside the sandy trail. I am 7 miles short of making it to Thielsen Creek where I was suppose to meet and camp with Rafiki and Pillowtalk. No worries. I may see them in the next few days. I love the solitude. So peaceful.