PCT Day 122 – Sunday August 13
Mile 1743.9 to Mile 1764.7
PCT Miles Hiked Today: 20.8
Total PCT Miles Hiked: 1314.6
Feet Ascended Today: 2703
Feet Descended Today: 2857
Current Elevation: 5214
I awoke to the sound of owls hooting nearby. There were several different owls, each with a unique call. It was the first time I’d heard anything quite like it on the trail.
Today shouldn’t have been a hard day. The elevation profile was relatively easy, with very gradual elevation changes. The path was smooth for the most part, except for some patches of trail with lava rocks at the end of the day.
But I’m tired and dragging. It was a real struggle to make miles today. When I take breaks I can barely keep my eyes open. Also, the muscle in the top of my foot (the one that bothered me in the beginning of my hike) is acting up again. I can no longer take Ibuprofen to alleviate the swelling and pain, so I’m doing my best with stretching and my massage ball. I take lots of breaks. I feel like I need a proper day off, a full day off in a hotel room. Maybe when I get to Crater Lake.
I mostly hiked through lush green forests today. Oregon is known as “the green tunnel” on the PCT. I am starting to see why. I noticed some trail signs located higher up on posts or trees. I finally figured out that these trails must also be used by cross-country skiers in the winter. Well the sign with a picture of a skier might have helped me to figure it out…
In the afternoon I came to the junction of a road at milepost 1759.1 and found a water cache. Hooray! Perpetual Motion and Dropout were also there. I met both hikers back in Etna and it was nice to run into them again. They were discussing plans for approaching the upcoming trail closures due to wildfires.
I had heard of some wildfires in Oregon, but hadn’t spent much time digging through the details. Conditions change all the time and I figured I’d wait until I was closer to a fire to worry about it. The nearest fires were in Crater Lake. After giving the closure memo a cursory glance, I decided to hike to Mazama Village at the southern end of Crater Lake and sort out the details once I got there.
Dropout and Perpetual Motion informed me that I couldn’t hike to Mazama Village – the PCT was closed at the southern end of the park prior to the junction with Mazama Village. This was news to me. I hadn’t seen that anywhere in the closure notice on the PCTA website. If this was true, I was going to have to figure out a plan to bypass the closure ASAP as I’d encounter it in the next couple of days. Of course, I had no cell reception here and no way to look up the information on the internet.
I eventually figured out that there were *two* fires in Crater Lake – the Blanket Creek Fire and the Spruce Lake Fire. The information about the closures was not very clear and kept changing. When I re-read the closure memo a third time, I confirmed that the trail was indeed closed at the southern boundary of the park until it reached Highway 62 at Mazama Village. I’d have to either hitchhike around or walk around. Hmm. The West Rim Trail had also been closed but, thankfully, it had re-opened. This was good news, as it provides views of the lake and is one of the highlights of the entire PCT trail.
Tomorrow I’m planning to hike into Fish Lake Resort as I have a resupply box there. I hope they have wifi so I can do more research and determine how to proceed.