Got up 6am, had breakfast outside our tents with a view on Mt Jefferson, left campsite at 7.15am.
After taking water at Milk Creek at mile 2025, we ran into MathMan, an older section hiker. We chatted a bit – he thruhiked the PCT in 1975, now section hiking 100 miles of the Oregon PCT. An impressive guy. He recommended to take an alternate to the PCT right after the Timberline Lodge – the Paradise Loop trail, his favorite part of the trail.
Had our lunch break at water around 15 miles in, nice campsite with shade. Happy Hermit and Paradise showed up shortly later and joined us.
We pushed on another 11 miles to Olallie Lake. The small shop there was actually an unplanned resupply stop for us. But since it was right on trail, we headed for it and made it at 7.20pm, in time before it closes at 8pm.
Slept long and well at the Shelter Cove campground, the night was comfortably cool. But I realized that my sleeping pad is loosing air… again. I had it replaced just before the Sierra and now it was loosing air again. Probably not a puncture but maybe a failure of the valve – just in the early morning I hit the floor. Will try to get it replaced again – hope Thermarest / Cascade Designs is again customer friendly.
Went for breakfast around 8.30am. We were hanging out a bit longer, using internet, having snacks and another shower. Chatted with Medicine Man, Sharpshooter and Pinecone – they have also been hiking as a group for long time and we ran into them again and again. Left Shelter Cove finally around 1.30pm.
A 1000 feet climb was waiting, but with the short hiking day yesterday and today’s late start, the hiking went well. We had missed the 1900 miles marker, so we created our own.
Made use of a water cache at mile 1913.
Pitched the tents at Bobby Lake at mile 1915 around 7pm.
We got an early start at the water cache, on trail 6.30am.
Found the trail head for the Oregon Skyline Trail (OST) and started the hike for about 20 miles towards Shelter Cove. A shop for resupply, potentially a shower, laundry and some hot food were waiting for us.
We did 10 miles by 10 and walked a bit further to the Whitefish Horse Campground for tap water and an early lunch break in the shade.
Continued through the heat and humidity. We walked behind a family riding horses on the OST for quite a while. The trail was so dusty… Dust everywhere and the horses created even bigger clouds of dust.
But the trail was easy to walk and we made good progress towards Shelter Cove. The Oregon Skyline Trail is an alternate to the PCT. We had expected better views – at the end it was again lots of trees and some lakes with mosquitoes.
The last section just before Shelter Cove was beautiful – following a river leading into Shelter Cove.
With just 20 miles today, we made it early enough to Shelter Cove for all the errands we had planned. We ran into Happy Hermit leaving the resort already – he had been taking a dip in the lake instead of a shower and was heading back to trail.
Waking up around 5.30am with two guys cowboy camping just around our tents, we left quietly and early without breakfast. Had breakfast later on trail with a great view.
Hiking on towards the famous Crater Lake and Mazama village, the nearby campground. We tried to push it to make it early enough to pick up our resupply packages, take a shower, do laundry and have dinner. Thruhiking can be really stressful… :-p
Soon we came to the 1800 miles marker… With the daily mileage of 25+ miles, we are hitting a marker every four days. Miles are flying… time is flying…
Watched a chipmunk munching on a mushroom for a while…
The trail led through another burnt forest area. With all the sadness of dead trees, these landscapes have their own beauty… On hot days you realize how much you miss the shade from the trees.
Shortly after, we entered the Crater Lake National Park.
Coming into Mazama village, we efficiently got everything done and even had dinner with Spirit Kick in the Annie Creek restaurant. We went to the campground after dark and pitched our tents. It would not be a quiet night. A couple got into a fight in the nearby RV camping area. Shouting, crying, a woman calling for help. I was getting ready to round up other hikers to head over to the RV when I heard already other RV campers knocking the RV door. The fighting stopped for a while, but the shouting continued. I expected police to show up any minute. At the end, the fighting stopped.
With just 6 miles left and leaving at 6am, made it to the highway before 8am. Crumbs and I were walking together to the the highway and met another hiker from Switzerland who had already called a trail angel for a ride. We were lucky – with basically no waiting time, we got into Ashland!
I went to the motel where Cactass and Tinkle were sharing a room with three other hikers. My early arrival was a surprise and being reunited was really nice! But it also meant good bye again soon after! Cactass is attending some weddings in September and for that, she decided to skip forward a couple of days to Crater lake.
With Cactass gone, we spent the rest of town time shopping for food, eating and resting. I used the life long Darn Tough socks warranty the first time and exchanged a pair with holes with a new one in the Mountain Provisions shop in Ashland.
It was also time for my forth pair of shoes:
First was Salomon X Ultra Mid, 0-700 miles
Second Lowa Camino Leather for the Sierras, 700-1100 miles
Third Salomon X Ultra 1100-1700
Fourth Salomon X Ultra 1700-?
The smoke situation from the forest fires is quite bad, especially around Ashland.
You see many people with filter masks on their faces on the streets – we will check out a local hardware store before hitting the trail later.
Got up 5.30am, on trail after mini breakfast in tent at 6.15am.
Water stop at Paradise Lake. Heard first barking from wild dogs, followed by howling… Guess I heard the first time wolves!
Stop at 10am with 10 miles, a break for the feet with some stretching. A curious squirrel sits on a close tree and starts whistling… Also never heard a squirrel before.
Walked into a group of 4 deer – one of them was small with cute spots on its fur. Finally saw a baby deer! A day of animal encounters it seems…
Lunch 1.15pm at mile 1641 at Grider creek – only 12 miles more for the afternoon.
The last miles into Seiad Valley turned into a long roadwalk. But here were were so many bushes with blackberries and some variant of raspberries…
Seiad Valley is a very small community. But the general store was open until 8pm, so I had no trouble getting resupply for the remaining 2-3 days to Ashland. The Seiad Cafe next to it had already closed in the afternoon, so I ate for dinner what I had bought in the shop. I pitched my tent in the RV park on the other side of the store. Shower, bucket laundry, charging phone and powerbank… falling asleep around 9pm.
The last night had been comfortably cool again for sleeping. Had trouble to get up at 5.15am when my alarm went off. Stayed in the tent another 15min. But the thought of getting into town (equals food, shower, laundry) after just 13 miles motivated me enough to be on trail by 6am. Breakfast only on the go today.
After some uphill, the trail led rather even through the Russian Wilderness with its rocks and burnt trees – a nice change of the view I had the last days.
I was coming to the road leading to Etna around 11.45am. With three other hikers waiting there already for a hitch, I expected a longer waiting time. But lucky us – an SUV coming up from Etna turned around and a nice lady from the Etna motel took all of us into town.
After breakfast, I did grocery shopping in the Dollar General and pitched my tent in the city park. They offer showers and restrooms for hikers. A good place to finish my town day – doing nothing.