I stayed the night at Mazama Campground, right at Crater Lake, and woke up tired. The day before I had hiked my furthest day yet, a little over 31 miles, and it hadn’t been easy. For some reason the day had been a constant battle. I struggled to keep moving, took more breaks than I normally do, ate more, had a tough time getting into a good ‘thought groove.’ But as Crater Lake drew closer, I picked up the pace, and ended the day with some great thoughts and two hours of solid hiking. My left quadriceps muscle had been really hurting all day for some reason, as well, and I’m sure the fact that I was generally struggling with every step didn’t help much throughout the day.
I ‘stealth’ camped on a picnic bench (does that count as ‘stealth camping’??), and sleep came stubbornly. I was exhausted! Why couldn’t I sleep? My racing mind was one problem. Benadryl helped very little.
I finally slept for a couple of hours, and woke in time to check to see if my resupply package had arrived at the Mazama store. No luck. Frustrated, I threw my clothes into the laundry (a rare thing, unfortunately!) and began getting ready to leave. I resupplied there at the store, figured out my game plan, and finally headed out. Oh, wait, no I didn’t, because as I started walking out to the parking lot towards the trail, it started pouring rain. No worries…Southern Oregon afternoon thunderstorm, I told myself hopefully. It should pass soon…and it did.
I set off towards Crater Lake, where I’d walk around the western rim before heading north. It continued raining sporadically, but I enjoyed being able to use my wind jacket in some real weather. I passed so many great campsites I would have loved to have camped at (even though camping is looked down on along the rim), and eventually found a good spot deep in some lush forest north of Crater Lake.
If you have never visited Crater Lake…wow. I can’t remember ever being there before (unless it was when I was very small), and the pictures I’ve seen just don’t do it justice. It was incredible. Throw in the threatening & dramatic storm clouds hovering overhead, and you’ve got a photographers dream. Wizard Island, the little island in the crater, looks like it would be fun to explore, and maybe someday I’ll have that chance. But for today, taking it all in was just sensory overload!