Mile 1818 to 1845
We wake again to wet bags and tents, with dew and condensation being the primary suspects. We will need to dry our gear later, assuming we can remember.
We road walk back to the PCT then hike up the old PCT route to the rim. Why it has been rerouted away from one of the most beautiful lakes on the planet is beyond my comprehension. We hike the old route guilt free, as it still has the PCT emblems embedded in trees along the way. At the rim we are treated to awesome views of the Ty-D-Bol blue lake. It is so blue it simply does not look real.
With cell service on the rim, we call Terri and beg for an external battery rescue. She agrees to purchase something and ship it to Shelter Cove, our next resupply.
At the Rim Village store we treat Kevin’s blisters which are becoming a significant problem. We also load up on water which will be our last for over 27 miles. We must look particularly pathetic outside the store, because a stranger offers us nectarines and plums, then runs out to his car to get them. We are appreciative and they are awesome.
Walking the rim of Crater Lake requires a lot of stopping to ogle or take pictures. At one stop a couple appears and the guy asks if we are thru-hikers. I admit I am. He then declares he has hiked the PCT. I fall for the trap and ask what year. He says “1970”. I comment that his pack must have been heavier than ours. He then proclaims he was the first person ever to hike the PCT. Now he may or may not have been, I really don’t know nor care, but I can’t help asking how he knows he was the first. He looks dejected and says “You don’t believe me.” I say “Even if you were the first how would you know?” She then jumps in as if to clear up the confusion and says “You know those medals you get for completing the PCT?” He jumps back in and says “You can thank me for that” and sticks out his arm to receive my appreciative handshake. My hand however is already clinched into a fist, so I offer the classic PCT fist bump instead.
As we continue along the rim, laughing and unclear what just happened, we enjoy more awesome views of the lake and Wizard Island. The golden-mantled ground squirrels, cheeks bulging with food, are begging for more, exactly as I remember from my childhood.
Later down the trail a clearly thru-hiking couple catches up to us. The woman says “Hey, you were so engaged in your conversation that you walked right by us. We were having a snack.” We have no idea who these people are, did not notice passing them and if we did we would not stop to chat as if they were long lost best friends. When she asks our trail names we tell her Rick and Kevin. She is so confused and dejected by our unwillingness to participate in this fantasy that she wanders off mumbling that she loves trail names but ironically fails to tell us theirs.
Thru-hiker egos seem to be a lot like golden-mantled cheeks. No matter how much attention and love you stuff in there, they are always begging for more. Kevin and I are clearly not good at this game.
We stop at 4:30 to dry gear and cook an early Indian curry dinner. We hike the rest of way to camp being eaten by mosquitoes, punishment for not having trail names. Where are the frogs when you need them?