Daily mileage: 27
The unexpected night off was amazing. I woke up feeling better and almost ready to hit the trail. Ate some breakfast and finally managed to get moving after 9. Ahh early morning starts where have you gone? And wow was my pack heavy, because guess what? 27 miles without water, oh long water carries you are definitely not my favorite.
The trail starts out along the rim of the lake and it is just so gorgeous.
But then as you climb you lose your lake views to patchy snow and surprisingly confusing snow. But still great views, and fun to see where I'm going.
That pointy peak, pretty sure that's Mt Thielsen and where I'm headed. And then with one last look it was goodbye to Crater Lake and down the trail went.
At first I was feeling good. Then the trail flattened out, there were burn sections and so many mosquitoes, recipe for a long afternoon. Plus isn't it just sort of wrong to have 27 miles without water but mosquitoes everywhere?
I found Wrong Way right after the trail crossed State Highway 138. After a nice break I felt like I got a second wind and flew up the climb. I love when I can hike like that, it's so satisfying. Rounded a corner and finally found the snow. There had been plenty of patches to climb over but this was a little more than that. A few sections were pretty steep too, sure glad the snow was soft and not too icy.
It was starting to get late but with only a mile or two until Thielsen Creek it seemed silly to stop. As it got darker I started to have my doubts. We finally hit the creek but 100% lost the trail in the snow. After wandering in circles in the quickly darkening night we crossed the creek and found a campsite. The trail had to be there but it could wait until morning. The way down to the water was steep and sandy so even though I got to camp with extra water it's okay because I don't need to go battle the creek in the dark. In my tent hiding from the mosquitoes. Pretty pleased I made it this far because I had not had such high hopes this morning.
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