Almost no smoke

Day 122 – 8/11/15
Crater Butte trail
Miles – 26.8
Total Miles – 1954.7 (PCT 1891.2)

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It was noticeable clearer today. We cold see details in the mountains as we past by. Looking back to the south was still very smokey. A group of bicycles were coming over one of the dirt roads that cross the mountains and they told us that yesterday the Crater Lake park service closed the campground at Mazama because of extreme, thick smoke. We wonder what they did with all the hikers. They do not have any way to leave and if the store closed tthey could not get their food. We’ll see what happened when someone catches up with us. We saw three hikers today we have not seen since Whitewater Preserve in Southern California. They were Brother Dude, Coppertone, and Day Dreamer. That was so long ago we vaguely remember them.  It was a hot day and all the hikers were standing in a pool of water that was once a fish hatchery. Today’s hike was pretty easy. We traversed around to Six Horse Spring. This spring is .4 miles off the PCT and down 300′. We left our packs at the top and hiked down. It was quite a climb up carrying full water bags. The trail next wrapped around the mountain and dropped down to Windigo Pass. This is where we met the cyclists. They were taking a detour because of the smoke however the dirt/gravel road was to much for them. They were waiting for a van to come and pick them up. As one of them was riding in, he blew out the side of his tire with a loud bang. We left Windigo Pass and headed up over the next small range of mountains. This dropped us down to Summit Lake. We hiked to the far end and then headed up the next ridge. Partway up this ridge is where our day ended. We are about 13 miles for Shelter Cove and we should get there just after lunch. I think all we will do is sort our box and get showers, then hike out.

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Brother Dude

Brother Dude

Coppertone

Coppertone

Day Dreamer

Day Dreamer

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Smokey

Day 121 – 8/10/15
After North Umpqua trail
Miles – 26.0
Total Miles – 1927.9 (PCT 1865.3)

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We woke this morning to clouds and lots of smoke. There was a good bit of condensation on the insides of both tents. We have not had condensation in awhile. Our trail this morning ran flat for almost 8 miles and then headed up Mt Thielsen which is the core of a very old volcano.  It towers up above the trees and dominated our view for most the day.  Finally, after wrapping half way around it, we started hiking down ridges north, away from it. One of the biggest problems of the day was the smoke.  For thirteen days now we have had  smoke. Some days it was flowing through the valleys as we hiked above it, others we were in the thick of it. Sometimes we would have clear mornings and then the smoke would move in on the afternoon.  This was one of the smokiest days we have had. It got so bad that our throats and nasal passage ways would sting. Two weeks ago a lightening fire started in the Rouge River area. It’s smoke was being blown down toward Ashland and into the mountains to the east. Then, ten days ago several fires stared north west of Crater Lake. These are the fires that are giving us problems now.  Yesterday, as we hiked the rim, we could see smoke billowing thousands of feet in the air, then the winds would blow it east straight towards us. This has made the air here hard to breath and dropped visibility dramatically.  We talked with a Sobo today and said that the smoke lasts for about 40 more miles.  It will be nice to walk away from this and be able to see the surrounding country again.

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Burnout, Caution Tape, and Big Tuna

Burnout, Caution Tape, and Big Tuna

Phoenix

Phoenix