Miles: 13.54
Camping: PCT mile1831.88

Today we were going the distance to just outside of Crater Lake! I have lived in Oregon for 4 years and still have yet to visit this gem. I have been looking forward to this part of the trek since the beginning and I’m very excited. Our hike today brings us to Mazama Village, 7 miles from the rim of the lake. Tomorrow we hike to the lake, and even follow the rim for several miles. It will be one of the most scenic parts of the journey.

Our camp was 11 miles from Mazama Village and I was first to head in that direction. There is a restaurant and store there, as well as a resupply box for my next leg. I packed all but one of my boxes for Oregon in Ashland, so I can enjoy some down time in towns instead of running around trying to buy everything. It is a new strategy that may or may not work out. I’m pretty sure I’ll continue to enjoy the down time. It really is critical to my overall enjoyment of this trip.

I arrived at the store and saw a few familiar faces among many I’ve never seen before. There are a lot of people who hitchhiked around the fires and have been behind me until recently. Now we all come together in Oregon. It’s strange to see so many new faces. Of the familiar faces was Duckets! I haven’t seen him since Warner Springs (mile 107), and I thought for sure I’d see him sooner. We hiked together a bit in the beginning, but he got behind and it’s been a long time. So strange to see him after all of this time, but really cool as well. He was part of a group that had to skip around the fires which is how he not only caught up, but got ahead of me.

When Caboose and Sacred Cow rolled up, we went to lunch with Half Step and Dances With Bacon. We all ordered hamburgers and milkshakes. The waitress made “too much milkshake,” (what is that anyway?) and we all ended up getting 2! I had strawberry, and the second one was as delightful as the first…until I contemplated hiking on a full stomach. I was in no hurry though so I sat in a digestive state with the other hikers before packing my food for the next section.

I was impressed with how efficiently I had planned for this section, though it will be a heavy haul. We have a 27 mile waterless stretch tomorrow, and the extra water weight with a fresh resupply is going to be a lot of work. It is the last big stretch without water though, so I will take it like a champ and happily leave all that dry terrain behind me. As everyone sifted through their boxes, trades were made and people made offerings of things overpacked (Caboose’s uncle sent her pounds of Slim Jim’s and jerky, which caused a hiker frenzy). It’s always fun to get a few bonus treats and to share with others. Three people had sent me VIA after my spell without it, so I’ve had some extra in each box. It is like gold to hikers, so I save a few to trade on each leg. So far, it’s been the perfect amount to get through Oregon. There is a promise of more to come for Washington too, so I should not be without coffee again! That’s a nice thought. So much more is certain now that I can see the finish line. Things are so neatly lined up from here on out.

Angles, Caboose, Sacred Cow, Sloe Jin, String Cheese and I all hiked about 3 miles out of Mazama Village in the evening. We set up camp among some pines, and thunder is rumbling in the distance. They are all staying up late tonight but I’m in my tent ready to call it a day. I want to get up early for Crater Lake in the morning, and see how many waterless miles I can finish before nightfall. The earplugs are going in and I’m going down for the night. Goodnight.

Too much milkshake!?!?!?