July 25, 2019
Day 55, Sevenmile TH to Hwy 62, miles; 1802-1818
Distance; 23.6, trail time; 6:43, average speed 3.5, minimum elevation; 4911, maximum elevation; 6759, total ascent; 3746, total descent; 2456
We had one heck of a thunderstorm while camped at the Sevenmile Equestrian Trailhead. Lightning flashes followed immediately by crashing thunder, Rose headed for the bed. The initial lightning and thunder was closely followed by a hail downpour that bounced three feet in the air, was incredibly loud on the roof of the trailer and lasted a half hour then a deluge of rain that lasted a couple more, thundering and lightening all the while. We were joined in camp by a couple of women from Texas; they had barely gotten their tents up when the hail started. As it turns out these Texas ladies are friends with the couple from Fort Worth that we shared camp with on Hat Creek Rim. We all by chance met up together at the Mazama Village outside Crater Lake. They declared the fat pea almost marble sized hail that Janis and I thought was pretty big, really wasn’t compared to Texas hail, plenty big enough for me.
The trail was pretty much free sailing, if you discount the downed trees. The trail was far more dirt than rock, no big climbs or descents so we were for the first time in many days able to make decent time. BG and I went through large swaths of burned forests and even larger areas of bug kill. Thirty years ago it was all healthy trees, that is one of the reasons I found Oregon so boring at that time, days and days of trees, zero views. Today the silhouette of Mount Mazama was visible most of the day as well as Union Peak and Mt Thielsen. As I rode through the Trinity Alps and Siskiyous there were huge, rocky, nameless crags all along the way. In these southern Cascades every little knob has a name, today I rode by Bunker Hill, Big Bunchgrass, Maude, Ethel and Ruth Mountains, Lone Wolf, Goose Egg, Goose Nest and Jerry Mountain to name but a few.
Once I crossed the park boundary the trail improved dramatically. No more down trees to work around, the trail got wider and clearer. Truly a ride in the park. As I started to drop down off today’s heights towards Hwy 62, I started crossing snow patches, nothing untoward, even if I did feel it strange that the snow got heavier the lower I traveled. Tomorrow is going to be a little longer day; I would like it if it were snow and tree free.
I readily admit that I am terrible about keeping track of my phone. I’ve been a little better on this trip as the phone has taken its place alongside the camera, inReach and GPS as required tools. I have developed a routine for night and morning that ensures each piece of electronics is in its proper place, charged and ready to go when I ride out in the morning. That is until my phone went so dead it shut itself off. Out here where there is no reception is keeps roaming which wears the battery down fairly quickly if I don’t keep it turned off until needed. Anyway – I couldn’t get the phone to charge, the truck has usb ports, 12V power outlets, 120v inverter, I tried them all, I wiggled the cords twice, I let them sit over night on the charger – nothing. After a few days I decided to swap batteries with Janis to see if mine had gone bad. When I took the battery cover off my phone I discovered, no battery, I looked again, still no battery, I turned the phone over and shook it, still no battery.
I’m stumped, no battery, where could it have gone? It is held in the phone by a cover that is held in place with a latch that requires a tool to open. It couldn’t have just fallen out. Was the phone left places where some nefarious character could have poached it? Obviously, but why just take the battery, why not the whole phone or the wallet with cash and credit cards in the next pocket over, I dunno, it’s a mystery. Note to self; add phone batteries to the list of stuff to order and sent to the house in preparation for the next phase.
Day 56, Hwy 62 to Hwy 138 North Crater Trailhead, miles; 1818-1846
Distance; 28.4, trail time; 7:32, average speed; 3.8, minimum elevation; 5465, maximum elevation; 6501, total ascent; 2377, total descent; 2744
Today was the kind of day that ruins reputations. Last night we had thunderstorms and rain showers that lasted throughout the night. I have long maintained, and voiced my opinion to anyone who would listen that I am a fair weather rider.
If there is a cloud in the sky
Gary don’t rii————————————-de
Getting caught out in a rain storm is one thing, but to purposely saddle up and get ready for a ride while it is raining is just wrong. Your saddle is wet before you even get on; it goes against all the laws of nature. So when I found myself suiting up in my raingear even before I saddled Mercedes I thought perhaps I have been a bit of a hypocrite in the past. It was a good thing that I had the raingear on as it continued to thunder and storm until nearly eleven.
One of the items, that I may have failed to mention, I have been carrying in my SnugPax the past few weeks is a mosquito net. The rains today brought the ferocious little bugs out in force. As long as we were moving down the trail it was ok, but slow down for just a moment and you were swarmed. I like to let the horses graze a little while I’m walking, but today I just couldn’t do it until I remembered the net. It only protects the head area, but with the rain gear the only other skin I had exposed was my hands. What a marvelous invention. Mosquitoes, hah! I scoff at thee. I’m thinking now someone needs to design and make mosquito net pants and shirts, better yet a jump suit, so you can wear shorts and a tee shirt.
After crossing Hwy 138 this afternoon I overshot our camping spot for the evening. I went to where I thought we would be camping and no one was there. I knew immediately where I had gone wrong and rode back the half mile to where Janis was waiting in record time. I passed a group of hikers that were traveling in a pack twice on my way. The first time by they were resting by the highway, I stopped and chatted for a minute, the second time they gave me good natured jeers as I retraced my steps. “Get lost much?”
July 27, 2017
Day 57, North Crater TH to Windigo Pass, miles 1846-1876,
Distance; 32.4, trail time; 8:15, average speed; 3.9, minimum elevation; 5845, maximum elevation; 7578, total ascent; 4168, total descent; 4264
Easier trail today, the ups and downs weren’t too steep, the footing was good. There wasn’t much along the trail for BG to eat or drink. We were in the trees all day, none of the burned or bug kill areas where the grass has taken root providing a little grazing for a hungry horse. The water sources were covered in snow so the only water she got today came 17 miles into the day and was nearly a mile off trail.
There was a bit of snow on the trail, all the patches but one small drift were good snow, snow easily crossed. The one drift that could have stopped my journey was by passed without too much difficulty. I was able to cut cross country over a small ridge that separated two legs of the trail, regaining the trail after the offending snow wall. When crossing the snow covering Thielsen Creek you have to ride down the creek a hundred yards or so. As I approached the creek I could see where the creek had melted through the snow for about eight feet upstream from where I was, downstream three large boulders pierced the snow; I could hear the creek rushing by them. I arbitrarily picked a spot to cross where I thought the creek was, riding straight across then riding parallel to the creek on the high edge of the snow, where I knew the creek wasn’t. I sure didn’t want to break through the snow to land in the freezing water.
The shady tree cover and good trail makes for an easy ride, but one needs to keep a sharp look out if they want to see any view of the peaks and mountains we passed. The highlight of the day was passing the highest point on the PCT in Washington and Oregon.
The pack of hikers that teased me yesterday, as I searched for Janis, caught up with and joined us for refreshments in camp this evening. We were able to provide soft drinks and beer to their genuine appreciation. They in turn provided us with good humored entertainment.
July 28, 2017
Day 58, Windigo Pass to Willamette Pass, miles; 1876-1906
Distance; 24, trail time; 6:22, average speed; 3.8, minimum elevation; 4875, maximum elevation; 5985, total ascent; 2328, total descent; 3117
Last night we had some familiar and some new faces in camp. Felix from Georgetown neighborhood in Seattle and Heidi, whom we refer to as the last Swiss Standing, we last saw on that awfully hot afternoon at Ash Camp. Back then Felix was traveling with a friend from Seattle and Heidi was part of the Swiss Five. We were also joined by a new group of six, who shall be known from now on as the Ramblers. This group is as informal as they come, they don’t really hike or camp together, but they do pass each other throughout the day, have become supportive of each other, has only come together in the past few weeks and are home based across the US and Canada.
Today we rode trail that I am pretty familiar with. Mercedes and I took an alternate route today because we had heard the trail over and past Diamond Peak was littered with trees and still ice covered in critical spots. The fact that the trail we chose, the Metolious Windigo trail to Whitefish Horse Camp and the Diamond View Lake trail back to the PCT near Willamette is seven miles shorter had absolutely no bearing on my decision. The route we took had very few downed trees and no snow.
As I was riding through Whitefish I came across a large family camp. I didn’t stop to count but I think 40 men, women and children would be a conservative number. Several of them greeted me as I rode past their dining area where they had half a dozen sun shades set up over a collection of picnic tables where they cooked and ate. The smell of frying bacon was heavy in the air, when I was invited to join them I gladly accepted. Most of them came from the Eugene Oregon area, all appeared to be having a great time. The breakfast was excellent.
This afternoon after my ride Janis and I went down to the Shelter Cove Resort on Odell Lake. We ordered burgers from their fine dining establishment the Hook and Line, gourmet dining at its best, burgers so thick plus nice slabs of tomato, onion and lettuce, I had a hard time getting my mouth around it. Janis and I shared a table with Randy and Bigfoot, whom we had last seen on Bartles Gap Rd, back in Northern California. It turns out one of the Texas women that Janis rescued at Sevenmile is Randy’s sister. They are both on the trail but have no idea where the other is. While at the resort we also enjoyed their clean, modern, full size shower facilities, camping at its best.