Pacific Crest Trail – Day 77 (30 miles)
I was planning to wake up before dawn in order to not only arrive at Crater Lake early but to beat the heat on this 20-mile waterless stretch.
I slept well last night, with the temps finally lowering. Hopefully, this means today might be cooler.
The walk into Crater Lake and my resupply were uneventful. It was so much cooler, but there was a consistent heavy smoke haze around.
I arrived at the road into the Mazama Village and turn right to walk in. I stuck out my thumb to no avail as cars zipped past.
Walking into the village, I went straight to a restaurant. I ordered the all you can eat salad bar and started eating mainly eggs with a pile of cheese and ranch for calories.
It was at this point that I discovered that the west side of the rim was closed due to a fire. And, of course, this is where I wanted to be.
I looked into alternative options.
All I could come up with was to walk the east rim road. The 6 miles (10 km) of trail closed would take me 37 miles (60 km) to walk around. There were also other problems. I could not see any water sources on the route. One of Rangers stated that camping along the east was not allowed, while the other saying to give us PCT hikers a break. The ranger that was OK with me camping said the road is very narrow and he would not walk on it.
I set off for the walk around. The road started wide and flat but eventually narrowed, then a bit further on it lost the shoulder.
This walk was not worth getting hit by a car. I got a ride. They gave me a beer and we stopped at a couple of the lookout points further along the crater.
I was a little shattered. My continuous footsteps from Mexico stopped here.
We arrived at the northern end of the park and I set off once again.
It was late in the day now and I walked another 9 miles until the sun faded around me.
P.S.: I discovered today that there are another 3 fires ahead of me, with a fire near Mt Jefferson only a couple hundred miles away and growing fast.