August 2011- Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail around Crater Lake
At one point in our young married life, Trish and I were under the impression that we could hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon in chunks. Since we both work full time, this seemed like the most practical way to hike the PCT, but as anyone who starts researching the PCT knows, it is not an easy trail to break into chunks, partly because there are vast sections of trail that have zero vehicle access.
Another problem we faced when trying to accomplish this goal was transportation. The PCT never loops back on itself; it moves north to south, no questions asked. So on the few hikes we actually have done on the PCT, we’ve had to drive two cars, a very impractical endeavor when backpacking. Still, here is one of the hikes we’ve done along the PCT. It is the section from Mazama Campground to Highway 138. Altogether, it is a little under 30 miles, with some moderate elevation gain and drop throughout. We did the hike in two days, although it could be broken up into three days if someone really wanted to take their time.
Here are a few pictures from our experience.
A shot of Mt. Thielson on the way in.
Even driving into Mazama campground was picture-worthy.
Our Mazama campground picnic table. Here we’re getting breakfast ready.
Breakfast of champions? Yes!
After spending the night at Mazama campground, it was time to get started with the hike. We met up with the PCT a few different times throughout our hike, but generally took the trail that we thought would provide the most scenic views as we headed north.
The hiking started out in a somewhat lush forest.
After getting through the touristy area of Crater Lake, we finally got to the lake itself and had forgotten how unbelievably blue the water is.
There were small peaks all around us once we got up to the lake.
As if we didn’t already know.
Views abounded once we were up above the lake.
And the trail scenery had a number of terrain changes.
At this point we were no longer within view of the lake, looking for a good campsite.
After setting up camp, it was time to eat. Check out the calories and protein our freeze-dried food was packing!
What’s the best thing to do after pounding 27 grams of protein for dinner? Play Settlers of Catan of course. Yes, we bring luxuries like Settlers with us when we’re hiking.
And yes, for breakfast the next morning we did use our backpacking French Press. We like to treat ourselves to the finer things when out on the trail.
The terrain of the trail by the end of our hike was very dry, with sparse vegetation. Very different from where we started.