Monday, July 20, 2009

Near Mt. Thielsen Trail

I got up early in my sanctuary from buggy Hell which I never left for one minute during the night and packed up and nit the trail running for shelter. I went down the Annie Creek trail to the highway and back to the Mazama store. I was too early to use the bathrooms so I waited. Once open, I enjoyed the serenity of a civilized public bathroom. I also took one last hot shower. Then I went over to the restaurant for one more all-you-can-eat breakfast. I would have a little more restraint this time.

Moosa and Boone were there with Jesse, a section-hiking woman they had met along the way. I had driven at least a week or more up the trail from when I last saw them in Old Station and now here they were, caught up. Fast, young and strong, I expected them to pass me while I slept tonight.

We compared notes over breakfast. They had missed Jack Spring and had had to drink melted snow. Jack Spring had been hard to find. The sign points toward Southbound hikers and is nailed to a small, leaning tree. The trail had been marked with sticks but it was very faint otherwise. They also complained bitterly about the mosquitoes.

After breakfast I bought coffee at the store and tried to finish my book so I wouldn't have to carry an empty book. People would come up to me and talk about their experiences hiking the PCT or completing the AT or the triple crown. They always seemed excited to meet a fellow long trail pilgrim.

I hitched a ride to the Post Office and sorted through my resupply package. I got my skirt out for an extra layer over my legs. It would feel great not to have that pin-pricking sensation from the bugs every time I crouched down to set up my tent or refill my water bottles. I mailed all my stuff forward to Government Camp.

I hitched again up to the Rim and resumed my journey on the Discovery Trail with 5.5 liters of water. It would be 26 miles until I'd see water on the trail again.

I walked along the west rim of Crater Lake all morning. I felt sad when I had to say good-bye to the Ultramarine Blue. The trail left the breezy, viewful rim for more hot, dry, viewless forest teeming with mosquitoes. A forest fire was burning near by and I seemed to make a large arc around it. I was determined to get in at least 20 miles but not to pass up a place to camp that had a breeze and few mosquitoes. I finally found a perch on the side of a slope covered in pumice. Just enough breeze to cool off a little and blow the bugs away. Just enough tiny space for my tent.

Oregon so far seemed boring and painful to me and I just wanted now to get out as fast as I could.

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