Friday, September 2, 2016

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, Crater Lake to Elk Lake

As we hid in the woods, waiting for the serial killer to pass by, we made a plan. One of us would grab Triscuit's bug spray and aim for the eyes. The other would make a run for it. Hopefully that would be enough.

Finally the clicking of trekking poles alerted us and we watched, holding our breaths, as the strange man hiked on by, not spotting us. We decided to give him a ten minute head start before hiking on.

Probably he was just a socially awkward man, we had decided, but there was something about him that gave us both a creepy vibe as we passed and said hello. He said nothing, didn't even smile, just staring at us with what could be interpreted as hostility. So, better to let him pass us, we thought.

As we swung our backpacks onto our shoulders, I thought about how angry I was that we had to even consider hiding. The world shouldn't be like this for women, but it is.



Besides Serial (his trail name, we decided), Triscuit and I enjoyed a near perfect week on the PCT. First we hiked the rim trail around Crater Lake, and despite dodging tourists and construction, the views did not disappoint.


After that we curved around Mount Thielsen, which reminded me of the day fifteen years before when I had climbed that peak. It looks impossible from below, and I had done it solo, meeting a nice guy named John on top, and keeping in touch with him for years. This spring he shot himself, proving that you just never know what lies beneath.


My sadness faded as we marched through the easiest terrain I have ever hiked in my 1400 miles of PCT walking to date. Twenty mile days were nearly effortless, marred only by our respective shoe problems. (Dear Brooks, why did you change the Cascadias?) After the shortest and most expensive shower of my life at Shelter Cove ($1.50 for three minutes), we came into the lake country. In July, this is well known as being mosquito hell, but for us, it was heaven. I managed to swim in a couple of lakes that we passed.


The trail was the quietest I have ever experienced, with only a few thru-hikers about, ones that probably will not make it to Canada at this rate. We hiked alone for hours. Although views were sometimes scarce, I found the deep woods comforting and sweet. This would not rank high for beauty, but this in many ways was one of my favorite PCT section hikes to date.

13 comments:

  1. Did you get holes in the sides of your Cascadias too? I had two pairs of version ten (complained to the store and they traded the first pair for the second for free) and neither of them lasted 200 miles before they literally fell apart too much to actually wear. Super disappointing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the same happened to my tens. I'm really unsure of what kind of shoes to wear now.

      Delete
  2. $1.50 is expensive for a shower? I paid $3 to take a short, lukewarm shower in a really mangey bathroom at Whitney Portal a couple of years ago. Thought it was a deal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought for three minutes it was spendy esoecially because if you wanted any more time you had to add another dollar fifty, not just another quarter. But maybe it's not that bad in comparison.

      Delete
  3. There is a different feeling I feel when I hike in deep woods that I have learned to appreciate just as much as when I hike in wide open spaces. I think I would enjoy this section you just hiked through.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I am a big alpine views person but this was pretty great and I have changed my mind somewhat.

      Delete
  4. It's unfortunate that us women have to consider such horrible realities. Fear has stopped many women from living adventurously. I'm glad fear hasn't stopped you. For you inspire me. FYI I get really excited when a new blog entry comes to my email. Your writing for me is a breath of fresh air.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you!! And I do get afraid but I feel like living life is more important. That being said I have definitely backed away from some situations when I felt something was wrong with them.

      Delete
  5. I would love to hike this section of the PCT - I think it's such beautiful country. Too bad about the creepy guy, but I'd rely on my instincts too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you would like it and not too far from you. I am looking forward to continuing north from there.

      Delete
  6. Looks like the fire and smoke abated for you. Lovely tribute hike to John. Those easy miles are sounding pretty delicious after these Washington mile made for mountain goats and Joan.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember those Washington miles! This felt pretty nice after NoCal also. Which I see is on fire now.

      Delete
  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete

Hello out there. If you liked this post, please leave a comment so I keep writing!