Pacific Crest Trail Quest '08 - Page 23
I thought the hitch into Crater Lake would be an easy one, but I thought wrong. I ended up
walking about 20 of the 23 miles. It wasn't because of a lack of cars. There were tons of
cars, but they were all sports cars and SUVs. I don't believe a hitchhiker has ever been
picked up by an SUV.
I finally got picked up by an old Buick. It was full of junk and there wasn't really room for
me (kind of like my pickup), but I squeezed in. It was driven by an older lady with her 12
year old grand daughter riding shotgun. They had a good Elvis tape going, so it was a
I had my eyes closed listening to the tunes when the little girl asked me, If you could go
see any dead singer, who would it be?
I said, Johnny Cash.
She said Johnny Cash is good, but she would see Liberace. She also liked Mary
Robbins and Jim Reeves. It was a good ride, and I hated to get out at the park gates. I
said my thank yous and started walking.
I walked along a long line of cars to the ranger station where I was supposed to pay to get
in. I had a plan. I came to a busy looking ranger who told me it would be $5.00 to get in. I
set down my pack and told her I had a whole stack of permits and if she had a few
minutes, she could help me find the one for Crater Lake. She told me to just go in. That
was good because I only had one permit, and it may not have been good to get me in.
I walked seven miles up the busy road to Crater Lake. It's beautiful, but overrun with noisy
white legged tourists. I prefer the solitude of the back country lakes in the High Sierra.
Tonight I'm stealth camping illegally in Crater Lake Park, because I have to pick up mail in
the morning. Tomorrow, I get away from all the fat tourists and noise and get back into the
I went to the post office to pick up my package this morning. I had way more food in my
box than I could carry, so my plan was to take what I needed and mail the rest ahead.
Unfortunately, the post office only took cash and the nearest ATM was 5 miles away. It
looked like my morning was pretty well shot. Luckily, the lady behind the counter was
really nice and let me forward my box for free.
From there, I followed the rim of Crater Lake for a few miles along the rim of the lake. It
was super busy for about 100 yards in either direction of the parking lots along the way,
but there wasn't really anyone ambitious to walk much farther than that.
The trail left Crater Lake and I followed. I met a girl at a trailhead who was hoping to hike
all of Oregon and Washington with her dog. Things were going well except that the dog,
being rather small, was only able to walk about 12 miles a day. It got me thinking about
how much I miss my dog. She'd love it out here, but I think her arthritis would keep us
down to about one mile a day.
There was a thunderstorm this afternoon and another one is brewing tonight. There hasn't
been any rain, but lots of lightning. I really like being out of the smoke. I hope this storm
doesn't start a bunch more fires.
The trail has been relatively mosquito free for a week or so, but not anymore. They were
awful today; they're awful tonight, and I'm sure they'll be awful tomorrow. I kept track of
how many I picked out of my dinner as it cooked tonight. 29. I also found a fair number of
stray legs as I ate.
I set off this morning into a cloud of mosquitoes. The air is really clear today and there
were lots of great views of snowcapped mountains. Unfortunately, the mosquitoes were
too bad to stop walking for even one second.
I stopped for the night at beautiful Summit Lake. I walked to a car campsite at the far end
of the lake, hoping the mosquitoes would be better. They weren't. Today and especially
tonight have been by far the worst mosquitoes I have ever been in. To make matters
worse, I'm sharing the campground with some noisy drunken hillbillies in a pop-up
I can't even imagine how bad it's going to be walking out into the mosquito cloud in the
morning, or tonight when I have to pee. Hopefully, the hillbillies will pass out soon. This
hasn't been a particularly good day.