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Begins: Jul 6, 2009
Date: Sat, Aug 1st, 2009
Start: PCT crossing at Highway 62
End: Somewhere in the Pumice Desert
Daily Distance: 17.6
Trip Distance: 338.7
Hours Hiked: 9
Entry Visits: 397
Journal Visits: 14,396
Guestbook Views: 1,868
Guestbook Entrys: 31
Tom brings the Thunder (and the Lightning)
After I found out that I had in fact smelled smoke at Stuart Falls on Wednesday, and there had in fact been a small fire started by lightning very close by, I said my biggest concern for the remainder of the trip was weather. Our recent bear encounter is still very fresh in my mind, but my brother brings our party to three, which seems like a lot more commotion than the average bear would want to deal with. Plus, my brother is not a slight, soft spoken person like Chris or, somewhat, myself. Tom is 6'7 and loud. We'll have more food and smellables than the average solo hiker, bu we'll also have a lot more noise and bulk.
The weather presents more of a concern, especially given the two (contained) fires northwest of Crater Lake. We started hiking north from Crater Lake today, tackling what will most likely be the longest dry stretch (no water sources on the trail) of the trip: 25.9 miles. The area we're hiking across is the fallout zone from Mount Mazama's eruption, which created Crater Lake. The landscape was buried under ash and pumice, covering up all water and leaving the resulting terrain extremely dry.
We had the lightning storm on Wednesday and sinister looking clouds Thursday and Friday, so my primary worry has been hiking through and camping in the Crater Lake desert with potential thunderstorms and a high fire danger. After hiking 17.6 miles today, I now find myself in my tent, four and a half miles short of the highway, waiting out a small storm. My biggest concern about the final 22 days of the trip, and I didn't even have to wait a full day.
We crossed through the driest stretch of the desert, with pumice littering the dry ground and vulnerable looking fir trees constituting a thin forest, and have since arrived in denser forest. Tom and I put our tents up next to each other just off the trail, with Chris about 25 feet away.
It's now almost 8:30, and the rain and thunder in our immediate vicinity have basically ceased. I've heard at least a couple planes that I initially confused as thunder.
My big concern was and is a fire from lightning strikes, but we do have reason to feel reasonably safe tonight: the mosquitoes are still out in force (I assume they would flee if there was a fire nearby), none of us have smelled smoke throughout the evening (I've been asking Chris and Tom to smell away) and, most importantly, we just experienced, by far, the heaviest rainfall we've had all trip. It's damp, the trees are dripping, and the insides of our tents have remained dry.
We should arrive at the highway about 12 hours from now, possibly sooner. I hope that distant thunder I hear is a storm dissipating or moving away. As always, I want to be safe.
Lucretia Walks Into The Woods
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