Day Eighty Seven

Today's miles: 23
Total miles: 1852

After yesterday's late night festivities, the four of us had a hard time waking up this morning. We slept in until 8, bid goodbye and thank you to MK, and went to hang out at the Crater Lake store for a bit before finally deciding to hike out. It was a five mile trek to the lake rim, and it was almost completely uphill. I was feeling very poorly this morning, for some reason, despite not drinking last night. I lagged behind, felt very nauseated and shook with cold sweats through the first two miles. After going to the bathroom and taking some medicine, I felt a little better and was able to finish the hike to the rim in better spirits.

The four of us got lunch and sat on the rim enjoying the beautiful view of Crater Lake. We felt like part of the attraction, almost, for we were sitting in the dirt behind the stone wall surrounded by our dirty packs, and all around us tourists were swarming to take photos of the lake. Meanwhile we munched on our sandwiches and soaked in the view, content with the knowledge that we had hiked over 1800 miles to be at that very spot.

Treekiller and Sunshine

After finishing our food we followed the PCT around the western rim of Crater Lake, stopping at each overlook to enjoy the view and (since boys will be boys) try to chuck rocks into the water. We made crass jokes and laughed so hard that some of the tourists smiled and told us that we were "having entirely too much fun." We laughed even harder, for if they knew what kind of jokes we were telling, they might be indecently horrified. Sometimes it's delightfully fun to be outside the scope of society.

We finally left Crater Lake around 4pm, still with 13 miles to go for the day. It had been a wonderful morning enjoying the views, but now we had to really put in some miles. Fortunately the terrain was incredibly flat, so we flew. We ran into a bunch of weekend hikers along the way, all of them setting up tents and pulling out their coolers at 5pm. We stared at them incredulously.
"Do you think they know they still have three hours of daylight left?" I wondered aloud. "Think how many more miles they could be putting in..."
"Or how nice it would be if we could set up camp at 5pm every night..." Treekiller said.
Sunshine, as he was wont to do, stopped to talk to many of the hikers and told them about the PCT. One of them asked him how much further he was planning to go today.
"Oh..." Sunshine thought for a moment. "I think about ten more."
The man's eyes grew very wide. "
Miles?!" he shrieked. "Ten more miles?!"
It wasn't strange to us anymore to do 25-28 mile days, but we forget sometimes that this not the norm. How novel it must be to go on a weekend backpack and only hike 10 miles a day!

As we walked, we passed through a very dry section with a lot of deadfall on the trail. We had to stop often to climb over trees and branches in our way. Treekiller lived up to his name and began one of his favorite activities in the woods: pushing over dead trees. He kept finding forty foot tall snags and would push against them over and over until they cracked and crashed onto the forest floor. This delighted Sunshine, and soon the two of them were pushing over every dead tree they came across, jumping up and down and whooping like little boys every time they hit the ground.

We didn't quite make ten miles before dark. When the sun set we donned our headlamps ("Don't worry girls," Treekiller said, "after chasing you all week, we're pros at hiking after dark!") and hiked in a tight, single file line all the way to the highway, where we found trail magic of water and cookies and soda. We set up camp by headlamp and passed out at 10:30, thoroughly exhausted.