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Begins: May 6, 2010
Date: Thu, Aug 26th, 2010
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Pacific Crest Trail Map
Arrived at Elk Lake Resort on Tuesday evening 8/24, enjoyed dinner, and camped there. On Wednesday morning, trail angel Lloyd Gust arrived at 7 a.m. for a ride over to Bend. Thanks Lloyd! Zero day yesterday to rest the feet and get to REI for new socks and a few other items. The trail has been very dusty and sandy lately, so my feet are constantly dirty (oh the SoCal memories!). My mileage average has been about 24 per day, with one day up to about 28 miles. Ouch! No wonder my feet hurt. I have a couple of those fluid filled things on my toes, but I don't even want to type the word since I thought that I left those behind in the desert. But, they are not causing me too much trouble.
After my friend Brett departed at Hyatt Lake, I hiked on alone for several days, stopping at Fish Lake and then Crater Lake NP. It was great having Brett hike with me if only for a day and a half. We had a good time, especially drinking the delicious wine that he brought along just as a thunderstorm rolled in for the evening. I won't tease him too much about those new boots he had on. :) As I left the Fish Lake area, I entered the Sky Lakes Wilderness where you pass the trail the climb Mt. McLoughlin. The trail is not very well marked through this wilderness, junction signs are very old, and at times difficult to interpret. One afternoon, a huge storm was brewing to the north and when I finally got up to a ridge I got a good look at the sky. Yikes! Black clouds with a red sky underneath, wind, lightning. The storm was still to my north and I later heard that many were caught in it around Crater Lake, complete with rain and hail. I quickly began to look for a camp spot before the storm arrived, but there were few spots along the trail and many. many dead trees. I ended up walking until 7:30 p.m. looking for a place to camp. The storm atayed to my north, thankfully, but I did get some wind and a little rain just after dark. And, suddenly I heard a rushing sound and a very loud crash! A tree fell somewhere nearby, which is why it is a really good idea to avoid camping near them, especially in bad weather. Whew!
I really enjoyed the Devil's Peak area which is just north of Mt. McLoughlin. Very rugged, rocky, and great views. Oh, almost forgot to mention that I saw a bear cub in a heavily wooded area near the Rogue River Wilderness last week. It was just up the trail and did not seem aware of me. I stopped to look and listen for mama bear and heard her up and to my left. I waited to see which way the cub would go - I did not want to end up between the two or have it come in my direction, in either case I would have started noise making. But it continued to my left, away from the trail, so I carried on. Cubs are extremely cute, but an encounter with one is no time for pictures IMHO! Later that same day, I stopped for water across a gravel road at a gated spring. No one was around. But, just as I started back up the trail past the road, a dog suddenly started barking. And barking and barking. I never saw the dog or anyone around, so it was a bit strange. Things like that are always more unsettling when you are hiking alone.
I spent one night in Crater Lake NP at the Mazama campground, then headed out with Charley Tango who is also from the Portland area. Hiking past Mt. Thielsen was spectacular and the water from Thielsen Creek has my vote for best tasting water on the trail. I continue to pass southbound hikers, probably half a dozen in just the past week. Stopped in at Shelter Cove Resort for the night last Sunday and saw Bump, Animal and Steve Climber. Saw Bump again at Elk Lake and Animal and Steve Climber here in Bend. They are all headed up to Cascade Locks this weekend for the 4th annual Pacific Crest Trail Fest.
There are several fires ahead that are causing problems on and near the trail. The Scott Mtn fire in the Mt. Washington wilderness is to the west and causing poor visibility due to smoke, but no trail closure. The View Lake Complex fire has closed the trail in the Mt. Jefferson wilderness from Jefferson Park to just north of Olallie Lake, about 16 miles of PCT from what I can gather. There is a Forest Service shuttle for hikers. And the White Lightning fire is near Warm Springs. I have waited an extra day in Bend since the winds are increasing and now from the west. My plan is still to arrive at either Hwy 26 at Wapinita Pass or Hwy 35 at Barlow Pass on 9/3 or 9/4. I guess a lot depends on the fire status. I should arrive at Big Lake Youth Camp near Santiam Pass on Sunday. I might bail out there and skip around the View Lake fire and just head on up to Government Camp. Here's a good site for checking fire status: http://www.nwccweb.us/information/fire_info.asp
I am looking forward to beer and celebration at Timberline Lodge so get ready!
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a 2,650-mile national scenic trail that runs from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington. The PCT traverses 24 national forests, 37 wilderness areas and 7 national parks. The PCT passes through 6 out of 7 of North Americas ecozones. Learn more: www.pcta.org