Northward movement has been sparse this past week.
Arriving at the Rim village of Crater Lake and allowing myself a few precious moments to chuckle at the scene in the parking lot; children, backs turned and oblivious to what is unquestionably one of the greatest geological formations on the planet, hurling snowballs at each others faces and sliding down a dirty remnant pile of plowed parking lot snow. Kids are like that though. It has to be tangible, felt experience. Give a kid a cardboard box and he’s happy as long as he can smack himself in the head with it. Put a work of art at a distance and there is no connection….bored to tears. I chugged down a quart of water and moved on.
I made it through Crater Lake, nay, I reveled precipitously in her presence, slept on the knife edge that is her defining perimeter, and awoke for sunrise in stillness apart from the Clarks Nutcrackers singing up the sun. And yes at times it also kind of felt like just ‘making it’ while glisading through snow fields. The going was slow and water (ironically all around me in both liquid and solid form) was not at hand. This is a 27 mile section without water (the photo above betrays the fact that to get down to the actual lake would mean pretty much throwing yourself off a cliff).
Unsurprisingly, the botany was not exactly steller with all this snow. By the time I got through the hot lodgepole pine low land, skirting the Pumice Desert and onward to Mt Thielsen, the remnant snow (10 feet thick in places) had made the going sufficiently slow that I bushwacked my way down to Diamond Lake Resort. I was planning on taking this weekend to go to the Oregon Country Fair and meet up with my brother anyway, and therefore decided to take the better part of the entire week off too, allowing time for these hot dry July days to melt off the snow. It is going, and fast, but it never seems fast enough.
Rewind two weeks back to Ashland:
I was blessed to have met Sunshine, friend of Bri whom picked me up hitchhiking in the Klamath last year. Sunshine provided me with a place in Ashland to really recharge, re-gear (thanks to my superb new Mariposa pack courtesy of Gossamer Gear), and replenish. She is a whirlwind of talent and well…sunshine. I am so thankful for her help in preparing me for starting north into Oregon even if it was temporarily stymied by a late spring and lingering snow.
The location for getting bogged down was not too bad though. I was only 20 miles from the Umpqua hot springs and therefore made my way there (with a little help from Sunshine again) for a couple of zero days. My feet were grateful, but I kept itching to get back on the trail. I finally caved in and hitched back up to Mt Thielsen, only to bail on it again a few soggy, exhausting miles (and hours) later. I made my way back down to Diamond Lake, and as luck would have it, I ran into some of the early bird thru hikers, there also bailing on that area, but with some Bay area friends up for a couple days…and with a car. They ended up getting me all the way to Eugene where I caught a bus up to Portland.
Seeing long time friends and trail angels (of sorts) Bob and Kate…and the wee one Cassidy in Portland is a treat I hope to never be foolish enough to pass up when given the opportunity. Solid gold these friends are.
Well…there’s more…there’s always more, but the Fair calls…time to reconnect with my brother…it’s been too long