Pacific Crest Trail (2018) 42: Do I Look Like the Teacher

Monday, July 09, 2018

Tourist day today! I took the free shuttle up to Crater Lake along with a handful of hikers who were skipping the climb up due to injury or not caring. I wanted to take a boat ride to Wizard Island, the cinder cone in Crater Lake, but unfortunately the boats leave from a dock many miles away and no transportation was available to get there. I decided to take a trolley tour around the lake instead. The driver warned me before I bought my ticket that I would be sitting next to a baby; apparently two potential passengers had demanded refunds because of it. How bad is this baby…? Do I have to take care of it…?

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Waterfall on the tour

During the tour, a ranger spoke about the geology/biology/history of the area. It was interesting, though several of the facts contradicted those I heard during another ranger presentation later. How many times has Crater Lake frozen over? I don’t know for sure, and that torments me. The first ranger mentioned that if ground squirrels are given bread and it spoils in their food cache, the whole cache could be ruined. A woman said ‘so we should only feed them nuts then?’. NO, DON’T FEED THEM ANYTHING.

The lake of course was beautiful, despite being dimmed by a faint haze.

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Crater Lake
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I missed the only shuttle back to Mazama Village, but I had already decided that if timing forbade the shuttle, I would slackpack down the PCT and take the shuttle up tomorrow. I searched for the trail, which wasn’t marked as the PCT since it’s an alternate, and eventually figured out that I was supposed to use the Dutton Creek Trail. At a junction I turned onto the Annie Springs Trail, which I thought went directly to the Mazama Village campground, but it began splitting into unmarked junctions after crossing the road. That seemed dodgy, so I returned to the road and walked back into Mazama Village from there. Immediately upon arriving, I went to the bear box for my Ursack. I noticed a pot and spork sitting in the box and thought ‘those look just like mine’. Oh wait! They were indeed mine, having been removed from my Ursack, which was missing.

I found another hiker and asked him whether he had seen it. He hadn’t, but had taken several of the opsaks that had been inside my poor pillaged Ursack, and kindly returned those to me and promised to ask his hiking companions whether they had seen anything else. Returning to the bear box, I searched some more, eventually discovering the opsak that I had been using for toiletries as well as the toiletries themselves, which had been dumped into a random cardboard box. Another hiker arrived. She said that two other hikers had been showing her my spork and told her that the entire bear box is a hiker box, even though it’s clearly labelled otherwise. I asked who they were and she replied that she didn’t want to ‘tell on them’. Girl, do I look like the class teacher to you? I just want my Ursack back. Eventually she disclosed some names. Unfortunately both hikers had already left Mazama Village and I know that one was skipping the Rim Walk because of her dog, so she’ll be far ahead. I’m trying to look at the bright side in that I can continue without an Ursack for now (I’m trying not to think about how much it cost) and at least I didn’t lose my pot and spork. 

I went to the store to buy hand sanitizer. They were out of hand sanitizer?!?!?! The employee, an absolute queen, offered me sanitizer from their large staff bottle. I had no bottle at hand though, since ironically I had given away the last of my hand sanitizer that morning to the mother of the baby on the tour and requested that the bottle not be returned because she had wanted the sanitizer for a diaper-related issue. Back at the campsite I had a bottle that I had been keeping a small amount of soap in, so I emptied that out and returned to the store for my sanitizer. I met another hiker there and he generously treated me to supper, but his trail name was lost with the entries deleted from my phone (again, more on this later). I want to say it was ‘Just Alex’, but I also thought that the Seiad Valley hiker’s name was Alex… maybe that’s the default name that my brain gives to every man whose name I can’t remember… Alexander Supertramp? Anyway, this guy had the trail name ‘Just Alex(?)’ (should we call him Alex #2?) as a jab at how some thru-hikers during his AT hikes were condescending towards section hikers. ‘Just’ a section hiker, ‘Just’ Alex.

Back at the campground, the hikers are quiet in their tents, but the staff began a party at their RVs behind the hiker site. Retribution? Eventually a woman, possibly the same one as last night, asked them to be quiet. They asked laughingly why she wasn’t at their party. She coldly replied that it was because she was tired from working hard all day. They wound it down after that.

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