Day 111 – crater lake

I heard someone getting up at 5:30am and packing up their food bag. The hazards of camping! I decided I wasn’t going to get out of my tent until 7am today. And I didn’t, and nor it seems did anyone else! 

I went to breakfast at the lodge with Bonus Miles, Dana and her friend. I had a very disappointing omelette. The food here has been pretty terrible. Then back to the store for a litre of chocolate milk! Nips was there – someone I haven’t seen for about 1200 miles so it was nice to catch up with him, I gave him the last of my chocolate milk that I couldn’t finish. He got caught in the storm last night, golf ball size hail stones apparently. Glad I missed that one!

 
We had 4 miles to rim village where we could get water then a 27 mile waterless stretch. We weren’t going to make it 31 miles today so Dana’s friend agreed to put a water cache by the road 23 miles away. I ended up not hiking out until 10:30am. 

I felt sluggish and tired after breakfast – I always do, I don’t know why I do it to myself! I was walking along in my own world following the PCT signs and I came across Hoarder walking towards me ‘Puff Puff! Are you taking the crater lake alternate?’ ‘Yep’ ‘Then you’re going the wrong way!’

What? We had both missed the turn, luckily for me I had only gone a few yards, he had gone 1.2 miles! We find the right path and get to Rim village which is busy! It is a Saturday I guess. The official PCT doesn’t go by crater lake which is nuts, so 99% of people take the alternate so they actually get to see the lake. When I got there I saw Tortoise who I haven’t seen since the start of the Sierra! He is off trail now. I chatted to him for a while. By the the time I had filled my water and got my first view of the lake it was 1:15pm!! I set off around the lake, although today was a bit cloudy the lake was worth it. I bumped into a nice couple – Ron and Diane – who chatted and took my picture! She remarked at how much like Reese Witherspoon in Wild I was. Ha! 

     

Half way around the lake is a lookout tower, I stashed my pack in some trees and went to the top chatting to a lovely couple on the way. I tried to take some photos but there were thousands of flying ants making it difficult. The lady took my picture for me. 

    

I could see a fire in the distance and the thunder and lightning started as well as the rain so I made my way quickly down to retrieve my bag. Dana was coming along the trail, she couldn’t be bothered with the lookout so we carried on hiking. Progress slowed by all the views of the lake. It was now nearly 4pm and we had done about 8 miles. Time to pick up the pace! 

    

We seemed to be getting closer to the fire and the thunder was coming from in front of us and behind us. We had a few drops of rain but we managed to stay on the edge of it. The trail was pretty flat but I was tired and losing the will to keep going.
Sometimes when you need to pee on the trail you have to go right away. There is no waiting. I have developed a finely tuned swift move to achieve this. I throw my poles down whilst I undoing the buckles of my rucksack, swing the bag down off my right shoulder and grab my pee rag with my left hand as the bag is falling to the ground. Shorts are down and then I’m peeing. 2 seconds flat. 

At one point I didn’t think I was going to make it to the road where the water was and thought about dry camping 5 miles away, but when I was 5 miles away I decided I should get to the road. I stopped to have my dinner at 7pm before it got dark, I didn’t think I was hungry but I soon realised I was ravenous and scoffed it down quickly. I got a second wind and managed to hike at a 4mph pace. After I filled up my water bottles from the cache I arrived at the camp area where Dana had just finished setting up her tent at 8:45pm, just as it was getting really dark. I made it. Just in time. 

    

I don’t like hiking at night. The forest gets creepy. I thought I heard rodents trying to get in my bag. But it was just giant ants, crawling all over my stuff. 

23 miles. A good start. 

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