Detour from PCT mile 1802 to 1836.7.
Bedazzled, Tramper, and I woke up at 5:30 in our improvised camp. We had only gotten 4.4 miles into the detour before we gave up on road walking. This morning, we got back on that road. Excited? We were not, but we were looking forward to getting it over with. Who knows, if we get a hitch early, maybe there is even a breakfast at Mazama Village with our names on it.
We started out on a downhill, but it soon flattened out and after 3 miles on an unpaved road lined with 150 foot trees, we turned onto a paved road and found ourselves looking out over golden plains bathed in warm early morning light. We had made it to….cattle country?! As we walked down the road, I noticed all the little black bushes in the distance were moving. There were thousands of heads of cattle as far as the eye could see. Who would have known all this was just a couple miles from the PCT.
We continued down the road for another 4 miles having stare downs and stare offs with the cattle. If we got too close to them, they would bolt and run away with other cattle joining them along the way. I won’t lie, I scared them on purpose a few times. It was a little comical to see these 400 pound heffers try to run away. Every once in a while, one would stand it’s ground and then it was my turn to be a little scared.
When we got to Highway 62, we had some initial trouble getting a hitch, but we got a ride from Jeff and Zach, a father and son, who were staying in the motel we were standing in front of. They drove us all the way up to Mazama Village in Crater Lake National Park.
After we picked up our resupply package in the store, we were outside getting ready to repack our food into our backpacks when a clean, but slightly gaunt, Fun Dip walked up! Vipr wasn’t far behind. We were hoping to see them in Crater Lake, but we didn’t have anyway to contact them. They had been racing through all of Northern California and southern Oregon to meet their parents by the 16th of August. It had been over 600 miles and about 1 month since we had seen the sister duo. It was a happy reunion!
After catching up for an hour, the four of us donned our packs, like in the old days, and started up the Anne Springs Trail to the top of the crater. There we met Vipr and Fun Dip’s parents for lunch on the rim.
We had initial views of the deep blue waters of Crater Lake, but after about 20 minutes, smoke from the nearby wildfire started to fill the crater.
After lunch, we filled up with 5 liters of water for a 26 mile waterless stretch and began hiking the 11 mile West Rim Trail around Crater Lake. It is the detour that will take you around the closed portion of the PCT in the park. In normal years, it is an alternative route to the PCT that many hikers take because of the great views it offers. By the time we started, however, most of the crater was filled with smoke and Wizard Island slowly disappeared as if a spell had been cast on it.
The four of us hiked together just like in the old days, and arrived at Grouse Hill Camp around 8:00 pm where we enjoyed a group dinner.