Day 104: The Bluest Of Blue

Date: July 22, 2017 
Miles: 1818.4 – 1836.7 

The monotony of miles of buggy forest walking was broken today by the wonder that is Crater Lake National Park. We had a perfect day for the views, with barely a cloud in the sky, warm temps and a slight breeze. Joe Dirt, Polliwog, Donkey, Roi, Matthew and I headed up to the Rim Village, where we were greeted heartily by a touring group from France and had a delicious breakfast and a wonderful server at the lodge restaurant. After we finished we all found comfy chairs inside by the fire or the window, or the rocking chairs on the outside patio, and threatened to take naps there for the rest of the day. 

We knew we had to get moving eventually, however, so we filled our packs with four liters of water each (on top of waaaay too much food) and hauled our loads up the Rim trail along with the other tourists. The Rim trail is an alternate to the actual PCT, which runs further West of the lake, and I am really glad that we took it. The views of the lake and of Wizard island in the middle were stunning from every angle. 

It took me a long time to go a few miles because of all the photos I was taking. We took a side trail up to the Watchman’s Tower and the view became even more spectacular. We could see Diamond Peak, Diamond Lake, and Mt. Thielsen to the North, the expanse of Crater Lake just below us, and Union Peak, Mt. McLoughlin and Mt. Shasta to the South. It was a highlight of the whole hike so far. 

l-r: Mt. Bailey, Diamond Peak, Mt. Thielsen

We descended back down to the rim trail and continued on through snowy patches, making trail slushees along the way, until the trail headed into shaded forest with melted snow puddles…prime mosquito country. 

They came out in force and we tried to outrun them but it was impossible. Only deet got rid of them. We camped at the junction between the PCT and the Rim trail with Valley Girl, A-Game, Rodeo and Bug Juice, built a fire and had dinner together with some water and beer that Bug Juice found at a water cache a few minutes away.