Friday, August 31, 2012

Aug 31st - Bend Birthday Dinner

Hiking out of camp we slipped up and headed down the Glacier Way Trail.  Instead of backtracking I had the great idea to follow an old abandoned trail along the dry river but it turned into an interesting bushwhack back to the PCT.  Fun but tiring going uphill through the densely wooded parts.

Next some really cool lava flows.  Sybille hiked into Lava Camp Lake to pick up the rental car we had staged while I continued on to McKenzie Pass through huge lava fields.  Met another SoBo PCT hiker named Lezlie and had great views of the Dee Wright Observatory Tower from the lava fields.  A short road walk took me to De Wright Observatory, a neat stone tower with windows showing each of the mountains around the tower.  From the top platform you had even better views.  We gave Bryan, Lorak's brother a ride into Bend and we got a room at the Cascade Lodge Hotel.

While in Bend I tried to see if I could get some medication to be sure I had the giardia under control.  I am feeling much better but was not sure you could completely kick the giardia with medication.  They wanted lots of money and were insisting on doing tests and waiting 3-4 days for test results before they would treat me.  No way. 

We drove downtown, walked around a little and found ourselves at the Pine Restaurant for surf and turf dinner.  They even gave us a free birthday dessert!

Dee Wright Observatory

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Aug 30th - Obsidian Falls

Hiking by La Conte Crater, the Sister's Rock Mesa lava flows, and the views of South, Middle and North Sister was fantastic today.  Lots of wildflowers, varied terrain, and mountain views.  And Obsidian Falls was a nice treat. 

Aug 30, Day 100 on the PCT!

Still feeling weak but it's good to be back on the trail and having Sybille's company during my birthday week on the trail. We were able to get a trail angel, Lloyd, to stage a car and hike the Elk Lake to McKenzie Pass section as planned before I got sick. Yesterday we had a nice camp by Sisters Mirror Lake. Starting to get good views of 3 Fingers Jack, Jefferson, Washington, and just a hint of Mt Hood. The haze from the fires is finally lifting. Climbing through the lava fields and up over cinder cones and volcanic features is adding a new twist to this exciting adventure.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Aug 29th - Happy Birthday!

Driving to Sister's today to stage a car at McKenzie Pass.  We stopped in Bend to replace my hiking pole tips and found a great deal on a Big Agnes air mattress at REI.  My old Z-rest pad is definitely worn out.  Loyd, an amazing 70+ year old trail angel from Bend, drove us from Mckenzie Pass back to Elk Lake so that Sybille and I could hike together through the Three Sisters Wilderness.  He had great stories including a description of the Ring of Fire where he knew all the tongue twister names of the mountains.  After lunch and a beer to toast my birthday at Elk Lake we hiked seven miles to Sisters Mirror Lake. 
Worn out hiking poles

Elk Lake

Moon over the mountains

Birthday at Elk Lake

Celebrating my birthday with Sybille and a beer at Elk Lake!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Aug 28th - Leaving the Crater.

Another slack-pack day of recovery.  Hiked from Rim Road to highway 138.  Hiking a lot better now.  Finally feeling stronger and eating better.  We left some water at the empty water cache at highway 138 for other hikers and drove to Elk Lake.  After a few beers and appetizers at the bar we left a food drop and camped for the night.  We paid for a campsite at Elk Lake Resort and were told to take any open spot.  We  found a great lakeside spot, setup camp, built a great roaring fire and had an early birthday dinner with wine by the fire when the ranger showed up.  We were told that we were in the day use area of the state park and had to move and immediately started pouring water on our campfire.  Turns out we had paid for the Elk Lake private campground and had crossed over into the state park campground so we were not even in the right place.  Ended up moving in the dark and setting up a new site.  Oh well, just part of the adventure.
A forest of pregnant trees

Monday, August 27, 2012

Aug 27th - Crater Lake National Park

A great breakfast at a small cafe.  Starting to get some of my appetite back.  They offered another pancake challenge but they ran out of pancake mix.  She said no one has ever finished it anyway.  Still recovering so another short hiking day today.  Slack packed from Rim Village to Lightning Springs Junction.  The trail follows right along the rim with excellent views and lots of exposure.  At Lightning Springs Jct I met Sybille and we hiked together to the top of the Watchman with fantastic, if smokey, views of the crater from the Watchman Tower.  While Sybille hiked back to the car I continued to the Rim Road.  Still hiking weakly.  We drove to Diamond Lake Campground and had wine and cheese, a nice campfire, and potatoes and left over breakfast cooked on the fire.

The Watchman, crater rim highpoint

View from The Watchman Tower

Watchman Tower View

Diamond Lake Campground

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Aug 26th - Bonked at Crater Lake NP

Feeling very, very, very weak as I slack-packed up the 4-1/2 mile climb to the crater rim.  Met Sybille at Crater Rim Village and decided I had to stop hiking for the day -- Totally Bonked.  It was probably a bad idea hiking long mileage the last three days while still sick with giardia.  I think I burned through all my reserves.  Several hikers, including Pacemaker, said I lost a lot of weight in just the last week and I feel drained.  So, I take an easy day and enjoy Sybille's company.  We did the Rim Village Tourist views and museum and then the full driving tour around the Crater Lake.  Had a nice lunch and a nap at the Vidae Falls picnic area.  We spent the night at a hotel and watched movies.  My first night in a bed since South Lake Tahoe.
Crater Rim Village

View of Wizard Island in Crater Lake NP

The Watchman Peak

Crater Rim

Phantom Ship rock formation in Crater Lake

Vidae Falls Picnic Area

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Aug 25th - Mazama Village

Long stretch with no water and fire damage.  Jack Spring was dry.  Still sick and weak but the amazing trail work through the rocky lava fields and smokey views are keeping my spirits up.  Met Sybille at the road crossing for Mazama Village.  Lots of hikers hanging around the Mazama Village Store.  After a shower we headed back to the road crossing and hiked south on the trail a short way to stealth camp in the dark.  Looking forward to sharing the hike experience ahead with Sybille as we enter the Crater Lake National Park.
Hiking through the lave rocks

Last water

Warning that Jack Spring is only mud

Friday, August 24, 2012

Aug 24th - 1800 miles!

Met Little Brown who remembered me from the Appalachian Trail in 2010.  Near sunset the ski was filled with a big red sun but when I hiked out to an outlook the clouds had blocked the sun before it set.  Had cellphone coverage - Sybille will be here on Saturday!  Passed Mt McLoughlin which looked like a great side hike but I am saving my energy after this bout with giardia.  Still feeling weak.  Camped a mile and a half past the 1800 mark up on the ridge. 
Mt. McLoughlin

Sunset view from outlook

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Aug 23rd - Deer, Deer, Diary

Today was the day of the deer!  They are everywhere.  Saw one hiking into camp last night right by the campsites.  Then footprints everywhere in the morning.  While hiking I kept seeing groups of them all over.  Then in the evening more deer.  The trail was mostly uneventful but I did go out to Wildcat Hills Overlook with a view of the hills and lakes.  The Brown Mountain Ski Hut was cozy with a dirt floor and benches inside.  Lots of hikers in the register for last night but it was empty today.  Only Miner and Dr. Hauss ahead that I recognized. Too many yellow jackets outside by the well pump to stay long.  The next section of trail was covered in loose lava rocks.  Great trail work but the footing is loose.  Glad to find some flat spots to camp in this rocky area.  It's definitely an excitingly different environment with all this lava.

View from Wildcat Hills Lookout

Brown Mtn Ski Hut

Miles of Lava Fields

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Aug 22nd - Hyatt Lake

A late start but I did eat some oatmeal and coffee.  No energy but feeling better then yesterday.  Yesterday I skipped the side trail to Pilot Rock.  Today I skipped the one to Hobart Bluff.  Not like me at all.  I almost turned around to go out to Hobart Bluff but I had no energy.  I decided I needed to admit I cannot make the miles I thought to meet up with Sybille where we planned.  

Saw a rattlesnake on the trail and some nice views.  I stayed at Hyatt Lake campground which was a very nice spot and they only charge PCT hikers $2.00.  Shared a picnic table and campsite with a 70 years young women and we had some fun conversations at dinner.  Hot shower, cleaned my clothes, and had a supper of rice and potato soup which stayed down.  Hoping I'm over the worst of this giardia.  Charged my phone in the bathroom.  I also noticed after my shower that I had lost my baby toenail.  I didn't even feel it.  My feet are feeling good since my new shoes in Mammoth. 
Pilot Rock


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Aug 21st - Giardia

Well, didn't make it far today.  Left around 10am from Callahan's but I had no energy.  Had to stop every mile or two to rest.  Didn't want to eat or drink, but was dehydrated.  Drinking just gurgled in the pipes without having to pee.  At one point I was laying on the side of the trail and a hiker asked if I was still alive.  Camped early at a nice spring at 3pm because I was worried about hiking while dehydrated.  Could not bring myself to eat anything for dinner and slept from 4pm till almost 9am.  That is with the exception of getting up with diarrhea.  I camped near another hiker who said he was sick for 7 days and had just spent four days in Ashland recovering.  So, I guess I'm not alone.  Still, it's my first sick day on an adventure that has nothing but fantastic days so I'm not complaining.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Aug 20th - Callahan's

Spent the day at Callahan's Lodge.  Showered, sewed a tear in my backpack, laundry, and picked up Sybille's care package of resupply goodies.  They had a hiker deal to tent, laundry, shower, and all-you-can-eat dinner and breakfast which I couldn't turn down.  Met the Chowdown, Dr Haus, Lorax gang heading back to the trail along with the last remaining member of Team Sardine.  Good to see you Molasses.

I slept under the gazebo after dinner and listening to live music in the bar.  And the first beer is free for PCT hikers.  I didn't eat much of the all you can eat because I am feeling sick.  During the night I had to get up many times to use the bathroom.  I might have gotten something in that bad water with the Mac-n-potato surprise.  Talking with others it sounds like at least 8-10 thru hikers have come down with giardia.  All started showing symptoms around the Seiad Valley and Ashland area.  Decided, since I have all the food I need that I had no reason to go into Ashland.  Plan to hit the trail again after breakfast and looking forward to another visit with Sybille next week.  The good news is they may have re-opened the trail in the 30 mile fire detour ahead.