118. August 6: Mile 1715.20 Ashland, OR to Mile 1725.61 Campsite
Why is leaving town always so stressful? I swear, even the most relaxing of town stays end with a stressful departure and apprehensive hike out. Today was the same way. We had a nice pancake breakfast at the lodge this morning and then got to work gathering information about the fire around Crater Lake National Park. The short version is that it’s on the west side of the park/lake and the PCT is closed before we get to the south entrance. So our plan is to essentially skip the park from Fish Lake which is about three days ahead to the north entrance of the park and continue on the trail nobo (hiker speak for northbound) to Shelter Cove where we have sent a resupply box of food. It really sucks because it feels like all of the major sights that I’ve been looking forward to on this hike I’ve had to skip for one reason or another. The only positive is that we could really use the time savings. We’re really flirting with October and therefore winter in Washington which is arguably far more dangerous than hiking in the Sierras with snow (Minus the river crossings which are incredibly dangerous. Four people have died on the PCT this year doubling the previous total of hikers to have died on the trail before this year, all years inclusive. Two of those people drowned in rivers in the Sierras. So we made the right choice to skip, despite how badly I wanted to do them, but we’ll come back and do them another summer when we have more time.)
Directly after Bend there is another fire that has been growing and looks like it will continue to grow that we’ll have to skip as well. Glowworm and I will likely skip from Bend to Olallie Lake Resort to avoid that. So in all we’re going to wind up skipping about 140 miles of trail which will help us with time, but is just disappointing and frustrating.
The hike out of Callahan’s Lodge was hot and sticky. My pack weighed so much. I definitely bought too much food. In an effort to change things up with my trail diet while we had access to a nice grocery, I wound up purchasing way too much food and this was before we shortened this section from Crater Lake to Fish Lake.
About five miles in, I was so exhausted from hiking with my colossal pack that I took a break and tried to eat my heaviest item, a pack of hummus. I wound up forcing down half of the thing and half a package of crackers too. Just as I was beginning to leave it began to rain on me for the first time in a month or more. As I resumed walking I felt queasy, weary, and weak.
A couple miles later I had to stop and empty my stomach of its contents in a desperate effort to feel better. Since the hummus was basically the only thing I had to eat since breakfast minus a plum, I was then hiking on an empty stomach. The misery was only adjourned for for a little while before it returned. When we got to camp it took everything I had to choke down some simple ramen and broth. Definitely not one of my better days.