Sunday, August 10, 2014

PCT day 2 Crater Lake Park to highway 138

Day 2 Crater Lake Park to highway 138
5.5 miles

Our tent site in the morning

We were up and hiking by about 6:30. I put my tent in my mesh pocket so it could dry out a bit and I meant to put my tent poles inside my pack body.

We had 5.5 miles to go to get to our next water cache at highway 138.  We had 3 liters of water to drink.  Sounds easy if you’re hiking alone, but not so easy if you are hiking with a suddenly obstinate ten year old child.  We passed through very interesting forest again, interesting me to me because it was so different to my home forests.  I saw Letharia Columbiana lichens, Bryoria was everywhere too. I saw several of the same type of bolete that I could not readily identify.   

 I had explosive diarrhea all morning and was not feeling too good. 

Bryoria, Letharia and Usnea Lichen Rainbow

Letharia columbiana lichen

Thru-hikers had written stuff on every single diamond on the trail.  Many of them had written their trail names on the markers.  I found it interesting, but did not think it was a good thing.

Every marker had writing on it


My daughter lagged a little but not as much as she did on the first day.  I reached our water cache at ten PM and then we crossed highway 138 and took a break.  I had heard that there might be a water cache about ¼ of a mile north on the trail and I hoped that was true.  I had cached one gallon of water for us at highway 138 but with the slow pace we were doing, I was worried that would not be enough water for us to reach the first water on the trail 11 miles away at Thieson Creek.  We drank 6 liters of water on our first day.  Would a gallon be enough to get us to Thieson Creek?

Our one gallon cache with the two empty 2 liter
bottles are from our first water cache.

We poked around the campground a bit looking for another water cache and then for some reason just at that point in time I realized that I had left the tent pole behind at our campsite. 

We would have to go back for our tent pole, my tent cannot stand up to thunder storms without its one back pole.   I knew that I could not drag my daughter 5.5 miles back to the tent and then 5.5 miles back to 138 and even if I could, we would not have enough water for the next day.  So I devised a plan to hitch back to where the road parallels the trail, bushwhack one mile in to retrieve the tent pole and then hitch back to Mazama Village to get water and to get an extra days worth of food out of the hiker box there.  Then we would hitch back to highway 138, spend the night there and restart our hike to Thieson Creek in the morning.

We left the PCT and stood on highway 138 and stuck our thumbs out, little did I know that we would never step back onto the PCT again.  We got a ride almost instantly, a nice woman in a Subaru who was happy to help PCT hikers.  She went out of her way and took us back into Crater Lake Park even though she was headed south and she gave us water and took our empty water bottles from the water we had cached.  She left us on the road one mile from the trail. 

nice place to bushwhack!

I was relieved to see that bushwhacking was going to be easy, there was actually a meadow for the first half of my bushwhack!  A one mile bushwhack in the Olympics can be very difficult with slide alder and devils club and all manner of vegetation to block the way, but the forest here was wide open.  I drug my daughter about a quarter of a mile from the road and plopped her down under a tree to wait for me while I retrieved the tent pole. 

Right where I left it
She had been lagging and I wanted to get out of that meadow before the full heat of the day was upon us.  I left all of our gear with her and then set out alone with just the GPS in my hand.  I was easily able to go back into the forest, find the trail and find our tent pole.  On the way back out of the forest I did not use my GPS and at 12:15  l came out exactly even with the tree I had left my daughter under.

Right where I left her
 We packed up and headed back to the road to look for a ride to Mazama Village.  We were in the park and hitch hiking is not allowed in the park but there was a large parking area nearby so I went there and asked the first couple that I saw if they could give us a ride to Mazama Village. 

 They happily agreed to give us a ride!  They were from Colombia and I talked to them about my visit to Panama and asked them if Colombia really was as dangerous and our news makes it sound like.  They said no, Colombia is safe as long as you don’t go to the wrong places and sometimes watching the news in the USA makes them scared of their own country, but they know that it is safe there.

Inside the car of the Colombains, Laura and Filipe who gave us a ride to Mazama.
  They are standing outside waiting for the road construction to end

Dangerous road construction project!
There were two delays for road construction and we did not get to Mazma Village until about 2pm.  The Columbian couple asked to take their picture with us.  I think they were  happy to meet some friendly Americans with international travel experience.

Back at Mazama Village we found plenty of food in the hiker box and got to meet lots of through hikers.  It was so fun!  They were so nice to us, we were through hikers for a day.  Since we were in town we decided to go ahead and take showers and drink Arizona tea.  What a great experience it was to meet some thru hikers.   One hiker named Mugs or Bugs let me take pictures of her maps and let me use her tablet to sent and email to my husband, another hiker gave us quarters for a shower and wanted no dollars in return.

L-R Cree, Bugs/Mugs? and I forget at the Mazma
Laundry Mat on August 5th  thanks for the help!

It's tent city as through hikers dry out their
lightweight shelters at Mazama Village at Crater
Lake National Park on August 5th.

Through hikers dry out their tents at
Mazama Village in Crater Lake National
Park on August 5th

At 4pm we filled up all our water bottles and bladders and started trying to get a ride back to the trail.  Trying to get a ride was hell.  Hitchhiking is not allowed, everyone in the parking area was going to The Mazama Camp ground, the rangers could not help us get a ride unless it was an emergency.  It was so hot and the elevation was so high and I think we dropped our guard and did not drink enough water.

We tried and tried to get a ride, we asked so many people for a ride.  I was lost, could not figure out where the road out was, we kept wandering in circles in the heat trying to get a ride.  My mood getting worse and worse. 

At this point I realized that I was not thinking straight and that the elevation was to blame.  For four hours we wandered around lost and confused trying to get a ride.  Finally a thru-hiker was able to point out to us where the road out was, she also told me where the thru-hikers were camping and invited us to join them if we could not get a ride.

Once we found the road out I knew that everyone on that road would be going north through the park, so we should be able to get a ride, we walked just until we were out of sight of the ranger booth and we were even with the Annie Smith Trail.  My plan was to try to hitchhike there until it got dark and if did not get a ride before dark we would camp just off the trail.

It only took about ten minutes for us to get a ride once we were standing in the right place. At about 8 pm a man driving a truck towing a trailer stopped and asked us if we wanted to go to Diamond Lake.  Diamond Lake sounded perfect, it would get us to water and it would get us 4 miles up the trail to make up for the time we had lost. 

In the morning wee could hike up the Mount Thieson Trail along Thieson Creek and have water most of the way.  What luck for us to get a ride to Diamond Lake! 

 Maybe that is why it took all day for us to get a ride; this bit of luck was just waiting for us.  It turned out that the man was part of a couple; his wife was behind him also driving a truck but towing a boat.  They had come all the way from Nevada in two pickup trucks.  They were going to spend the week camping and fishing with their kids at Diamond Lake.    They were both ex-truck drivers and I felt like I had a lot in common with them.

Finally a ride out of Mazama at 8pm the trailer in
front was part of the convoy that took us out.

It was a shame that they took us to the wrong side of the lake, but since it was dark and we were in a strange place, I did not say anything, I just stayed with them until they got us to the campground they were staying at. 

At the campground we stumbled out of their truck and found ourselves a camp spot for the night in the dark.  We were exhausted, hot, tired and elevation sick.   I did not pitch the tarp.   I told my daughter that we could take a nero or a zero day in the morning to make up for the hard time we had getting out of Mazama.

The camp hosts agreed to let us pay in the morning since I did not have change and we had been dropped on in the dark and we had not been expecting to stay the night in a car campground.

I had a headache again tonight.

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