Tuesday, July 10, 2018 – 8.60 miles
I rushed around doing last-minute chores before catching the shuttle at 9:00 AM. The official (stock-friendly) PCT is closed, but the Rim Walk alternate that follows the rim of the caldera is more scenic anyway. The negative is a 27-mile water carry, but that’s not going to faze this AZT thru-hiker. I filled my water containers at the cafeteria in Rim Village and started along the caldera. The views were much better along the trail than from the village – something to consider if you visit as a tourist.
I slackpacked up The Watchman, which didn’t offer many views unavailable from the Rim Walk, but it was a short hike so I would recommend it. The skies were clear today and Mt. Shasta was visible in the distance along with closer volcanoes like Mt. Bailey, Diamond Peak and Mt. Thielsen.
My mind had difficulty absorbing the whole of Crater Lake, maybe because of its size or because I have trouble visualizing Mt. Mazama as a mountain. The caldera looks more like Wilpena Pound filled with water. A gorgeous, incredibly blue Wilpena Pound filled with water.
Sometimes I think that it would be nice to thru-hovercraft the PCT, but at other times I feel that walking is an important medium for connecting with the landscape.
Largely because of my misconception about how far from the trail one needs to camp within the park, I chose to camp at the established Grouse Hill campground. It’s pleasant with plenty of space though, albeit the mosquitoes are back after being 97% absent since my arrival in Mazama Village.