Wednesday, July 27, 2016

July 21 to July 29 - Ashland, OR to Near Bend, OR

Day 68 - July 21 - end at mile 1725.6. mailed ups. walked thru neighborhoods and parks to outfitter. got new socks. had lunch at brewery with hikers last call and other guy fire protection engineer. walked back to hi way ride with rain to trail. 9 quiet miles to water. Found a sad cathole when looking for a rock to stake out tent... ew.

Day 69 - July 22 - end at mile 1760.8. clouds overnight meant a wet tent. left and walked thru cloud for first time on this trail. cleared up and I saw clouds below. easy terrain through forest. saw American dipper at lunch. later heard olive sided flycatcher. saw bear near road. saw a no pipeline banner. ended at shelter. wood fire stove inside with some section hikers. camping next to shelter.

Day 70 - July 23 - end at mile 1796.2. The day started off cool and flat through old growth White Pine Forest. After a few hours I started noticing  lot of blow downs. Then the day went on through this flat forest with constant blow downs. Thankfully none of them were that hard to get over, under, or around, nor did they slow me too much, but it'll be a big task to clear them all out. I saw a few Gray Jays. I got water in the late afternoon and there was a bazillion mosquitos at the source. Unfortunately this became the norm for the rest of the day. The infamous Oregon mosquitos are here. For hours I had a constant swarm of them following me. Running didn't help because more would be at the end of the run. I only have shorts right now and no bug spray so I probably got bit over a hundred times on my legs dispite constantly wiping them free of mosquitos. I did a nice ridge walk in the evening and saw three or four Black-backed Woodpeckers making a lot of noise. I found a place to camp just before dark and rushed to set up my tent while getting eaten alive. As I type this in my tent there is the hum of a hundred mosquitos outside my bug netting. I don't want to go out to brush my teeth.

Day 71 - July 24 - end at mile 1836.7. Broke camp at 6 as quickly as I could to escape the mosquitos. For about 5 miles they continued to be biting me constantly. Eventually I got away. Maybe it was the heat of the day that made them retreat? It would be about 20 miles to get to Crater Lake National Park where I had a food maildrop waiting for me. I had spartan rations to get me that far but made it work and I had a store to look forward to. I misread the water report and found myself in a 17 mile stretch with only a half liter. There was a questional bushwack to a pond but that was far off trail. Thankfully I found a small pond just 100 ft from trail. The tadpoles scurried as I collected the yellow water. I heard once that stagnant pond water is actual very clean because it gets so much UV exposure. Not sure if frogs affect that situation. Anyways go to the camp store and got my box, snacks, and and a few cold drinks. Also picked up some DEET-free essential oil-based mosquito repellant creme for my legs which now look horrible from all the bites. The rest of the day I walked along the rim of Crater Lake. This was really beautiful aside from the road in parallel to the trail and the hundreds of tourists. Thankfully most of the trail, I was alone as most people stayed closed to their cars. This section reminded me of the High Sierra. I saw many deer and marmot before dropping back into the forest to camp. The mosquitos returned half a mile before camp to repeat the horror of last night. Now trapped in my tent with chocolate covered teeth, I do not wish to venture out to brush again.

Day 72 - July 25 - end at mile 1869.6. Escaped camp as quickly as I could after waking up. Today's hike was wooded and flat with many blow downs to climb over. I hiked up to the highest elevation remaining on the PCT which was about 7500ft and walked over a bit of snow. I looked up at the jagged mountain above and got water from its melting glacier. I started to feel very tired in the afternoon and made slow progress. The mosquitos returned after their lunch break. I found a campspot on a ridge and it's moderately windy. The bugs are still flying but not as many tonight. Gonna get a little extra sleep tonight.

Day 73 - July 26 - end at mile 1903.7.
Mosquitos six hours. Summit lake swim. Woman gave me headnet... made my day. Climb to Diamond Peak.. snow and marmots. Descent to Shelter Cove. Hiker's aunts hook up with beer and fire. Met Sprout and Kibs.

Day 74 - July 27 - end at mile 1932.8. Had a real nice latte for breakfast at the shelter cove resort. Hiked with Sprout and Kibs today. Went to a lake for lunch to swim. Was a nice trail crew there relaxing after a morning of work. In the afternoon passed thru a really cool burn on a mountain high up. All the trees were gray and stripped of bark. After the burn the worst mosquitos ever. Camping with Sprout and Kibs now and there are a bazillion mosquitos outside. It's horrible.

Day 75 - July 28 - end at mile 1961.5. Mosquitoes all morning. Elk Lake for lunch: craft beer, good hummus plate, and yummy fries. Swim and cleanup in lake. Fun afternoon hike. Three Sisters forest is pretty with views after days of dense conifers. Camp by pond with Kibs and Sprout.

Day 76 - July 29 - end at mile 1992.6. Today was my favorite hike in Oregon so far. We hiked up to a volcano and walked on lava rocks. There was lots of shiny obsidian nearby. In the Mt. Washington forest there was more lava rocks and then a huge burn. Although there was lots of sun and hot weather today, it was really pretty and there was no bugs. Camping on the beach of Big Lake tonight with my new friends and a bunch of other hikers. The summer camp here fed us dinner and it was really good soup.

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