Mile 1779 to 1802 + detour toward highway 62.
I awoke on the edge of a misty meadow amidst a forest as old as our country, perhaps even older. The trees stood by silently and the sun still hid below the horizon. I slowly put on damp clothes and packed away my damp sleeping bag. There was the smell of burning wood in the air and as soon as we started on the trail, there was an ever present thick haze always 30 meters ahead. The trees appeared like spectors and the sun seemed as if it was a dieing star, its rays bearly reaching the earth.
With nostrils full of smoke and a heart full of trepidation, we made our way yhrough the forest towards the fire and smoke. We were searching for our first water source of the day. We saw Chou Chou Camped next to it. He is the somewhat peculiar Frenchman who lives in Columbia. He carries a tea pot and a plastic egg carton to protect the eggs he packs out of town. Later in the day, we would see him rolling and smoking a cigarette while reading a paperback book on the side of the trail. He strikes me as a true Bohemian.
With water replenished, we continued on. The smoke began to clear up slightly and we entered the Sky Lakes Wilderness. We climbed up to a ridge and spent the midday hours tracing the ridge with our feet and looking down on half-hidden lakes.
We met Anna from Eugene, who is hiking the Oregon section of the PCT. We talked about the upcoming closure of the PCT in Crater Lake National Park and the somewhat nebulous detour. We knew that we were supposed to get off the PCT near mile 1802 on the Seven Mile Marsh Trail, but we had no information on the length of the detour our potential water sources.
We carried on hiking through old growth forest and filled up with 4 liters at the last water source before the start of the detour. When we arrived at said detour, there wasn’t much helpful information from the NPS. There was simply a sign saying the PCT was closed in Crater Lake and this was the last bailout point.
We startes in the bailout route at around 5:00. About 1 3/4 miles in, we ran into a trailhead parking area. There was an information board and some kind soul had hand drawn a map and written out directions on how to get to Mazama Village in Crater Lake. It wasn’t a simple detour and it involved over 25 miles of walking and at least 9 miles to the first potential road you could hitch from. We love walking on trail, but not road walking.
We got about 2.4 miles in before Bedazzled didn’t want to carry on any more so we set up camp in the forest off the side of the road. Later on, Tramper came up and joined us. Chu Chu came along too, but carried on.