Grouse Hill on the West Rim Trail in Crayer Lake NP Near Mile 1835.7 to 1865.4.
We were woken up by some inexperienced day campers returning to their tent site. I couldn’t make out everything that was going on, but I did here one guy ask, “didn’t you cover the food?” His friend responded, “yeah, I put the lid on the pot with a rock on it.” It appears that our animal friends are smarter than some of our human brethren.
With a not so solid night of sleep under our belts, we left our camp at the end of the West Rim Trail and were back on the PCT within half a mile. My time in Crater Lake National Park was entirely too short, but given the fire and smoke conditions, perhaps coming back another time is for the best. I recommend the Watchman Trail for sunrise if anyone every has the chance. I didn’t get to go up there because it was closed, but I saw photos from someone who did, and they looked amazing.
As we were making our way towards the park boundary, we passed some southbounders and got news that there was a water cache ahead. We were in the middle of a 26 mile waterless stretch so that was good to hear. We ended up not taking any water from the cache since we were carrying enough, but it was nice to have as a back up.
After leaving the park, we started a climb up to a ridge that we would contour until lunch. As we slowly looped around to Mt. Thielson, there was a spur trail you could take to the top, but unfortunately we couldn’t spare the time especially since it was in the middle of the waterless stretch. Mt. Thielson is a rough jagged peak that I would like to come back to climb one day. It would have been a great place to watch the solar eclipse from.
As we were walking along a cliff, I was looking at the water for the upcoming miles and realized that we had another potential long carry of 30+ miles. It all depended on if a source in the middle of the carry was dry. There hadn’t been any updates on the source for two weeks so it was a little uncertain.
As I looked back, Bedazzled some how dropped her 1 liter water bottle off the cliff. Oh, brother! Just before the longest potential water carry of the whole trail. She had to scramble and climb down holding onto tree limbs and crumbly rocks to get it. Luckily, she made it back up without any catastrophic incident.
We had left camp a little before Vipr and Fun Dip so the two of us ate our lunch together and just as we were leaving, they rolled up. Our one hour lunch break somehow turned into three! At the end, we loaded up on water and headed off.
Tomorrow will be the full solar eclipse, and we are hoping to be in a good position to see it.