PCT DAY 7: Sunday July 2nd, 2017
Mile 1836.7- Mile 1854.2+ 7 miles rim trail 23.6 miles (37.8 km)
Glorious view of the sunrise over Crater Lake set us for the day ahead. After taking hundreds of pictures of the sunrise we were packed and on the road by 5.30. The rim trail was under huge banks of snow so we decided to road walk since the rim trail parallels the road before rejoining the PCT.
Being a Sunday and a holiday and we were early, there were hardly any cars. The morning views of the lake were sensational, not a ripple broke the surface of the water. We also had our last view of Mt Shasta as we moved north of Crater Lake.
Once we rejoined the PCT, the trail was under some snow untill we left the shadow of Grouse Hill. We were still energised by the splendour of Crater Lake. As we left the snow behind we entered mosquito central, hiking through open forest with very little understory growth. It was hot and the mosquitos were ferocious. We hiked in silence to avoid swallowing them. Despite the heat of the day we crossed Highway 138 before lunchtime. We were running low on water and the next creek was another 8 miles. We were figuring our options when we came upon a well stocked water cache about a half a mile beyond the highway crossing. Such a welcomed relief as we were not looking forward to the next few hours of uphill hiking, probably through some snow around Mt Thielsen.
We were so relieved we stopped at the cache, we drank litres of water and cooked lunch before entering the Mt Thielsen Wilderness. The dry heat reminded us of desert hiking. Hard to believe that the snow is persisting.
There were miles more of hot open forest hiking before we again hit snow about 3 miles from the Mt Thielsen Trail junction. It was slow going with plenty of mosquitos prividing the soundtrack to our laboured breathing. The trailfinding was not overly difficult but it is mentally draining. When we reached the top we were in awe. The peaks of Mt Thielsen look so daunting closeup. We sat at the top enjoying the view before beginning what we expected was going to be a long slow snowy descent off the north side of Mt Thielsen.
And sure enough the snow just kept going on and on. Our expected water source at Mt Thielsen Creek was completely under snow, so no water for another 16 miles. We left the creek valley and started to go up what will be the highest point of the PCT in Oregon.
We were beginning to really struggle and decided to camp before we ran out of daylight. Hammer sat about melting snow for drinking water for tomorrow while I sat up the tent. It was such a welcomed relief to get horizontal. Such a spectacular scenic day today. Hoping to hit the rest of the snowy trail with renewed vigour tomorrow.