Day 66

PCT Mile Marker 1820 – 1820

Miles Hiked 0

Smoke billowed into the sky. Huge bubbly grey balloons of it. I thought maybe on our way back to the motel tonight, I should stop and get a dust mask and a handkerchief. I could wet the handkerchief and hold it against my face with the dust mask while I hiked tomorrow.

How many miles would I have to walk in this nasty smoky yuckiness? The PCT official route was closed, but from what we could gather from the Rangers, the Rim Trail was now closed too. All the way to North Junction. If any more of the trail or road closed, Mom would have to drop me off all the way on the northern edge of the park tomorrow. Long drive.

Mom had purchased a boat tour of Crater Lake for my birthday. We had to hike 1.1 miles down 700 vertical feet of trail just to get to the boat!  

Mom and nephew and his other grandma and me. All trekking down into the bowls of the volcano.  

This was our first time inside a caldera, and the first time inside a volcano, if you don’t count Yellowstone. Since that whole thing is a volcano.

I was worried that we’d miss the boat, so my nephew and I raced down the final bit as we saw people boarding a tour boat. But it was the 11:30 boat, not our noon boat. So we all made it with time to spare.

“You were supposed to check in at the parking lot.” The check-in guy said.

“Well, we didn’t.” I said.

“Then you’ll have to use these tickets instead even though they’re the wrong ones.” He drew all over some tickets, crossing out a few words and adding a few others. “There. Sorry that they’re ugly, but you should’ve checked in before you hiked down here.”

“Next time,” I lied. He knew I lied. I knew he knew I lied, and I didn’t care. I didn’t care if my boat tour ticket was ugly. I was going on a boat tour!!! So exciting!!!

We got a close up view of the rock formations as the boat cruised along the edges of Crater Lake. They were jagged and swirly, looming and silent. They were white and orange and black and grey. A dragon’s backbone with tenacious trees sprouting impossibly from rock.

We went around Wizard’s Island, the sapphire water impossibly blue, impossibly deep, impossibly pure.

They took us close to a part of the fire that started yesterday from a falling ember. The trees suffering silently as they burned away, their skin bruising and blistering and finally being carried into the deep blue sky above the crystalline waters.

We came to Phantom Ship Rock and circled it. The water going from thirty feet deep to a thousand feet deep with no in-between. My nephew and I identified every rock that would be a good jumping off spot.  

The boat picked up speed after we saw the brilliant orange Pumice Castle, and waves sent water splashing over us.  

Soaked and screaming with bits of laughter.

I’m On A Boat, I’m On A Boat, Everybody Look At Me ‘Cuz I’m Sailing On A Boat!

Such an amazing birthday present.

We made good time coming back up that hill, and I was super proud of my family. Trucking along with smiles on their faces. 700 feet back up in 1.1 miles.  

That’s pretty steep, in case you didn’t know.

We set out to find Turtle.

We went to the Rim Village but didn’t see him, so we went back down to Mazama Village. In the store, they were telling people that a PCT hiker inadvertently started the fire. I felt sad.

That’s why I haven’t started a single campfire on the PCT. I’m always too worried about not putting it out all the way. It concerns me enough that I just wouldn’t build one. But that’s just me.

We found Turtle at his campsite, and he met my family. We agreed to meet at the restaurant around 9am tomorrow and we would give him a ride around the fire, whatever that meant, come morning.

Back at the motel, I washed my pot and my pan, I filled up my water bladder with clean water. I fiddled with my resupplies and sorted everything I’d need for the next 80-ish miles. I attached my new in-line Sawyer water filter to my water bladder. I was excited that I didn’t have to sit and filter water anymore at any lake or pond or stream. I could just fill up my bladder and it would filter as I drank it. It would save me time and effort, and I was happy.

I loaded my pack up with four different kinds of bug spray. DEET as my final backup. I hate that stuff. I don’t want to use it except as a last, last, double-triple-last resort. But this was Oregon, after all, with mosquitoes the size of birds.

Finally done figuring out what I needed to carry with me, I re-packed all the extras to go back home.

I packed my pack and realized far too late that I didn’t wash the straps of my pack as I’d intended to. They were stink-o-rama.


Maybe before Washington.

Categories: Life


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