August 12, 2015
Snow Lakes (1803.7) to Hwy 62 – Mazama Village (1829.5)
25.8 PCT miles today, 1 non-PCT mile today
1870.8 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 3,234 ft, – 3,676 ft
This evening could not have ended more pleasantly than it did. We looked forward to arriving at Mazama Village because it meant we’d receive our packages (socks, insoles, our repaired steri-pen, and our food ration) and take showers, but the incredible trail magic that greeted us upon our arrival was more than we could have ever hoped for. Unfortunately, along with seeing many of our hiker friends and getting fed great quantities of food, we were also informed that a fire is burning just north of us that will likely close a part of our trail and force us to skip a section and return at the end of our hike. The silver lining is that all of us hikers are in the same boat together and there is no better place that we could be right now for getting updates and making decisions.
Most of our day was spent in typical Oregon PCT fashion, walking through a tunnel of tall trees on an impressively flat trail, the sun beating down on our backs, taking small sips of our carefully rationed water. We ate lunch in a bare patch of dirt where we were swarmed by bees that forced us to rush back into hiking without as much rest as we would have liked. Both of our feet hurt for most of the day, but we took ibuprofen and pushed through the pain, eager to arrive in “town”.
Our plan was to pick up our packages, maybe buy one calorie-rich snack to help us tame our hunger before starting another 5 day stretch, take a shower in the coin-operated showers, and then get back on trail to camp for free for the night. When we neared Hwy 62, we spotted a sign informing us of trail magic that would be happening tonight in the campground and it included taco salad and beer. We both agreed that we’d at least stop by for some food, but then we still planned on moving on after that. We arrived at the well-kept general store and were greeted by our friend Chedda who told us about the fire and the “imminent closure” and about how great the trail angels were whose sign we had seen. After grabbing our boxes we headed over to their site, and haven’t left yet.
The angels, it turns out, are the parents and siblings of our fellow hiker, Clutch. They’re from Portland and they brought their RV down to Crater Lake for some camping and “angeling”. Despite their humble protests that this is their first time, there is no denying that they’re absolute pros. They had perfect timing and there were at least 20 to 30 of us hikers here today who got to partake in the magic. They provided us all with unlimited snacks (fruits and veggies along with cookies, jelly bellies and other sweets), drinks (lemonade, beer, wine, etc.), great company, a taco salad dinner, and even a roaring campfire where we got to roast marshmallows. Not to mention that we all got nice hot showers and a place to sleep for the night. I told you it was phenomenal, didn’t I?
Riding the tide of conversation and laughter were the murmurs and rumors surrounding the “Crescent Fire” just north of us. The information is shotty at best, and has left us all a little perplexed as to whether we can hike in the morning or not. The prospect of having to skip, and interrupt our continuous steps, has us a little down, but fire closures are all just part of the trail, and we’ll absolutely come back at the end if it comes to that.
As we’re lulled to sleep by the crackling of the dying fire and the whispering of voices, we’re reminded once again of what a great community we’re surrounded by on the trail. We’re finally at a point where we know almost every hiker we see while hiking or in town, and it makes us feel like we’re a part of a great big, smelly family.