With our water situation, we were spoiled rotten in Washington. I think I carried at most a liter of water at any given point except for a few spots (for reference, I tend to drink a liter every 5 miles or so).
Oregon was definitely feeling a little flatter
Oli was ahead of everyone, and had sent a message through our group chat (oh right, we were also getting cell reception pretty often these days) that he had come across some trail magic where a guy had a ton of gummy bears and Dr. Pepper. I reached the road where he had come across the trail magic and there wasn't anyone there, so I knew I had missed it.
Well, the next day, I ran into this guy on another road! (I recognized him as the same guy because he had a lot
of Dr. Pepper.) Turns out he was driving around bringing trail magic to hikers over several days, and I was happy to indulge in some gummy bears.
So much trail magic!
I camped alone most days, but I was seeing NOBOs all over the place now! I was also running into trail magic everywhere. After hiking through Washington, which was relatively quiet, both in hikers and trail-adjacent people (like trail angels), it was kind of overwhelming.
One of the things about Oregon I was really excited for was Crater Lake, and that was coming up. First, though, was Little Crater Lake. It was about a quarter of a mile off-trail, and it had some of the most clear water I had seen so far. It just got me even more excited to see the real deal.
Little Crater Lake was insanely clear
Like I said, I camped alone often. That night, I camped out next to some power lines. It was raining so I heard the rain hitting the buzzing power lines all night. I was also possibly camped next to a pasture, because something kept mooing.
It was starting to cool down, definitely
The next day, I got to Olallie Lake Resort, which had a small general store, a dock, and a campground. It was a tough day of hiking, and I was feeling a little beaten, so I decided to stop by, since it was only 1/10 of a mile off the trail. It was a really good decision; I felt a lot better after a cold drink and snack.
Hearing thunder from Olallie Lake Resort
The weather was getting more grim, though, and I started hearing thunder in the distance. Because I was further from camp than I thought I was, I got caught in the rain, and everything got soaked. I ended up cold and wet in my tent that night.
The next morning, I passed by about a dozen NOBO hikers within the first mile of my hike telling me to get ready for some epic trail magic at the end of that mile. I had grand plans to pull my longest day of 28 miles, but did you say trail magic? Forget that idea.
much trail magic!
I ended up staying for 3 hours. When I got there, it started raining again, and they had set up these large tarps so we could sit under them. They even had a portable fire pit! The trail angels were making egg sandwiches with English muffins. I had 4. And they had puppies to play and cuddle with.
The weather was not convincing me it was time to leave the trail magic
I got to hang out with some pretty cool people, including a guy from France, Val, who I kept running into. We all kept saying we ought to get going, but then it would start raining again, and our collective motivation would disappear. I finally left around lunch, and only ended up getting in 19 and a half miles.
Something else kind of fun that happened this section: we hit the 2000-mile point for NOBOs. That meant only 2000 miles left for us! (No, but seriously, I couldn't believe I had walked over 600 miles!)
Only 2000 miles left to walk
I reached Big Lake Youth Camp the next day, which had one of the coolest hiker spaces I'd seen. They had a hiker hut with outlets everywhere, WiFi, free laundry and showers (with towels for us to use!), a microwave, and a massive hiker box in the corner. They accepted our resupply boxes. They let us camp right next to the water nearby for free. They truly were angels for us thru-hikers.
Got up early from camp to get to Big Lake Youth Camp earlier
The camp is incredibly kind, and they feed thru-hikers home-cooked meals while we're there for free. The camp was shut down the couple days after we got there, so we happened to get the last warm meal they were serving for a few days. It was pizza, but they had vegan pizza without cheese. Yay!
The hiker hut at Big Lake Youth Camp
I was also really happy because I got to see other hikers I knew again. I met Blue again, the guy who was doing the portrait project I met in Stehekin. Tyce also caught up, and I got to see him again! We didn't know this then, but it would be the last time we'd see each other on the trail. I also met another hiker named Waist Deep, who, like many other hikers I met far north on the trail, I'd not see for a long time but with whom our paths would cross again later.
I absolutely loved Big Lake Youth Camp. There wasn't a store, no restaurants, nothing to do but hang out with other hikers, and it was so much fun. I knew there was no way I would be leaving early in the morning. I was enjoying myself too much.