Day 85, July 18th
Start: Mazama village, mile 1,829
End: diamond lake trail intersection, mile 1,851
Miles hiked: 22

I wake up as the sun pokes through the trees and onto my face. I look at my watch. 7am. Yes! Totally sleeping in. Most everyone else is out of camp already – likely getting breakfast at the restaurant. I pack my things and head to the little camp store. I take a shower and do some laundry, then I get my boxes. A full resupply, and an awesome care package from my friends kimmy and Chris back home in Denver. They leave an awesome note of all their summer plans. Sneffels, wetterhorn, Chicago basin, pyramid peak. Eleven or so fourteeners in just a few days. I wish I could be in two spots at once! They also sent a pack of yoohoo’s. Chocolate milk is the bomb. I drink two and save one for the rim. I also get some great letters from friends and family, helping to keep me motivated, and letting me know they’re envious. I have the best friends and family – so supportive. It makes me realize just how lucky I am to be out here.

The others come over to do their resupply, and it turns into one big hiker trash party. I make sure this time not to pack way too much food – though it’s hard not to with all the delicious items in front of me.

Not long after and were to the rim of crater lake. The first view blows me away. I’ve seen it before, back in 2007 with my buddies badgetown, jb, and pdiddy, yet it still is remarkable to see in person. JrSr, Guthrie, sheriff woody and I snap some funny pictures as the tourists crowd around for their one epic shot of the lake and wizard island. Some tourists ask woody why we’re all wearing backpacks. He tells them that we’re on the pct backpacking. They don’t know what that is. They ask where we started. “The Mexico border.” He replies. We continue walking around the rim getting stellar views of this giant water filled crater.

“Twinkle, we walked here.” Guthrie says, as he turns to look at the lake. “From Mexico.”
“Hard to believe.” Is all I can think to say.

The contrast is great. Everyone here on vacation, out for the day, driving here so quickly and easily. But we walked here. 1,840 miles of walking. It’s a bit surreal to ponder. At times it feels like yesterday that I started. And other times it seems so long, long ago. It’s not a vacation for us. It’s our lives, and it had been for the better part of three months. I’m not sure when this transition occurred, when it no longer felt like a vacation. I’ve taken a lot of trips under 500 miles, but all had imminent endings. I’ve gotten totally caught up in this life, and haven’t thought at all about the ending. It’s only 800 miles left, it will end. But for now, I’m living in the moment. I’m living in the woods, in the mountains, under the stars. That’s my life.

It starts to get crowded, and we feel a bit overwhelmed, so we all head into the little store and upstairs where there’s an empty ballroom/showroom. 10k, Sochi, Guthrie, not a chance, Mac, carrot, pockets, JrSr, sheriff woody and I all drop our things and start making plans for the hike. It’s a 27 mile waterless stretch. Looks like we’re chugging a liter and carrying out three. No big deal. I do some blogging and relax as we all sort our things when mile stone comes in. He tells us that his family out a water cache 18 miles ahead. Awesome! We all make plans to meet there tonight, and head out in small groups. Not a chance, carrot and I head out together in the last group (we’re the ones with blogs, so we usually take longer stops to update things).

The rim trail is out of this world, traversing around the western side of the rim overlooking the giant lake. Wizard island is all that is left of this once giant volcano. It’s the last cone jutted up out of the lake, with red and black rock. I wonder if you can climb that? I want to. The three of us tell stories, laugh, and take a ton of pictures. How could you not? The views of this lake, the deepest in North America, are unreal. The water is so blue. Lake Superior blue, the truest kind.

Unfortunately the views end eventually, and the trail begins heading north toward mount Thielson, a tall, jagged mountain in the distance. It’s 12 flat miles to the road, and we all cruise. I get to camp and find Mac, Guthrie, pockets, and sheriff woody all camped. I set up the tent as the last bit of light fades. It was another wonderful day on the trail. Another day that fully exceeded my expectations, but I’m beginning to expect that out here.

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Rim trail pose

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My two favorite ladies!

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JrSr, Guthrie, woody & I.

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Thanks for the yoohoo kimmy and Chris!

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Kimmy and Chris asked for a calf shot. Here it is. Photo by carrot, who has bigger calves than me.

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So good!!!

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Carrot and not a chance.

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More beauty.

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Mount Thielson in the distance.