Daily Miles: 19
Total Miles: 1844
It was nice to sleep in a bit and have a relaxed start to the day. We have all been looking forward to Crater Lake for awhile. We were all relieved when the trail around the crater reopened last week after a fire. We really didn’t want to miss this highlight of the trail.
We got a ride up to the crater rim from Rob just before 8:00. We were amazed at how few people were up there at that time. It was nice to have the views to ourselves. After taking some photos, we headed to the lodge on the rim for breakfast, where Beardoh had the best French toast of his life.
After breakfast, we filled up all of our water bottles. We were headed into a 26 mile dry stretch so we all loaded up with four liters of water. It has been a long time since we have carried that much water, plus a full three day resupply. We have carried even more when we were in the desert, but it still felt so heavy and uncomfortable.
We headed out around 11:45am and took an official alternate to the PCT, which had us go on the Rim Trail which follows the edge of the crater. The first few miles of the trail had a lot of really steep ups and downs. We were not expecting the trail to be so hard, and it was worse with the weight of our packs.
The trail followed the crater with spectacular views of the lake and Wizard Island. As the trail continued, we were able to see Wizard Island from many different angles…we could even see back to the Rim Village where we had eaten breakfast. Eventually the trail turned west, away from Crater Lake, and back towards the PCT.
Once we got back to the PCT, we decided to hike another 7 or 8 miles to finish the day. That put us in an area which looked flat on the topo map, but which didn’t have a designated campsite. That area turned out to be covered with hundreds of small dead trees that had fallen like multiple piles of pickup sticks. Luckily we were able to find a spot with enough ground area free of fallen trees, so that we could get in two small tents and two hammocks. We were happy to find the spot, since there hadn’t really been camping options for a bit and we were quite tired and it was nearing 7:30.