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Brian "Gadget" Lewis
Begins: Apr 27, 2008
Date: Sat, Jul 26th, 2008
Start: Brown Mountain Shelter, mile 1770.8
End: Twin Ponds Trail towards Summit Lake, mile 1789.0
Daily Distance: 18.2
Trip Distance: 1,807.2
Entry Visits: 842
Journal Visits: 149,749
Guestbook Views: 84,070
Guestbook Entrys: 155
Pacific Crest Trail Map
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Goodstart walking through Lava Beds
Last night after I had finished typing up my journal entry and put away my keyboard, etc, more thru-hikers showed up at the shelter: Flippy, then Thrust, and then staggering in last came my old hiking partner J.B. Great to see them all. It got a bit noisy and very happily crowded around the one picnic table as all these ravenous beasts fell to cooking and eating. I had already brushed my teeth, but watching them eat for a while was more than I could stand, so out came my food bag again and I was soon munching along with them.
We all got started walking around 6 am or so, and they beat Goodstart and I into Fish Lake by a bit, but we all got there in fairly good time. Goodstart and I hit highway 140 a few minutes after 10 am (about 10 miles worth of hiking), and then we got a pretty quick hitch for the 2 miles to Fish Lake Resort.
All the Thru's decided to go into Fish Lake, because they realized that doing a couple of thirty's to get into Crater Lake on Sunday night wasn't too helpful given an $ 18/night fee for campsites and a post office that wouldn't open until Monday. So a sojourn into Fish Lake Resort was a no-brainer.
I'm already starting to forget that Goodstart isn't a seasoned thru-hiker, because she keeps up a great pace and her energy holds up well through the day. But when we got to Fish Lake, she showed in one clear way that she's not completely in sync. I wanted to go immediately to the little restaurant area and order a big breakfast (which I did, and of course which the other thru's were already eating). She opted to take a shower first. Hard to fathom. Worked out well for her, however, as there was just one shower for non-guests at the resort, so she got in. Each time I went to try it, it seemed that someone else had slipped in ahead of me, so I ultimately gave up on the shower. I'll get one at Crater Lake, no big deal.
What I did get to do is eat a lot, and we picked up our resupply box and bought some food so our food bags are pretty full again. We walked part way back to the trailhead before getting a ride the rest of the way. Back on the trail, we were pleased to see again (for me) and meet (for Goodstart) Antfarm and Swiffer, and after chatting briefly with them, we started climbing.
The uphill wasn't bad at all, however, not a lot of elevation gain anyway, maybe 1200', but very well graded, good trail, and not as hot as I had feared with a lot of shade along the way. What was a bit weird, however, were the number and aggressiveness of the mosquitos starting mid-afternoon or so. I've not seen them this bad I think since the Sierras.
We had originally thought to do about 15 miles today --- given the Fish Lake detour --- but we had plenty of time and energy to go a bit further, so we set our sights on Summit Lake. We got there, but a section hiker there ahead of us told us that it seemed to her that someone had intentionally put a lot of debris on campsites near the lake, perhaps to discourage people from camping close. So we filled all our water vessels and hiked back a short ways to sufficiently flat ground to camp.
One interesting feature of the morning hike was the lava beds we went through. On the whole it was good trail surface given that we were walking at times through nothing but rocks, though at brief times it was slow going. Oddly enough, the surrounding rocks were grey while the trail surface there was all red (and more pourous) lava rock. I'm guessing it was explicitly "paved" with that stuff on the theory that the pourous red stuff will break down into smaller pieces that make better trail surface. Dunno for sure.
Goodstart found it fun that we basically went around two mountains today. In the morning we went around Brown Mountain on its west side, and in the afternoon we went around McLoughlin Mountain on its east side. The latter is a very tall volcanic cone with a big patch of snow on the side; we met a couple coming down the trail who had climbed it (and it didn't sound like an easy climb).
We're now just over 40 miles from Mazama Village at Crater Lake, so we'll either get in late in the day after tomorrow, or stop just short and walk in early Tuesday morning. With trail as good as we've been finding it, it could be almost hard to avoid getting in on Monday!