Thursday, July 2, 2015

Walking from California to Bend-Day 5-PCT mile 1804-1818, 5+mi side trip to Stuart Falls

Day 5 is a light day. I'm in a section where water is hard to find. In order to beat the heat, I'm up at 4:30 am and on the trail before six. The goal on these hot and dry days is to get 10 miles behind you before 10 am. Once you've done that, you can slow down and really take your time for the rest of the day.
Self portrait of my shadow in the early morning on a ridge

Coming up the ridge that hosts Devil's Peak I could start to see vistas to the north of Crater Lake mountains and beyond. After 60 miles and 5 days of hiking north it feels great to start to see signs of leaving Southern Oregon.

Devil's Peak
The view north from Devil's Peak. Tallest mountain on the right in the distant is Mt. Scott above Crater Lake. The very distant one above the tree at left center is Mt. Thielsen. It feels great to see things that are only an hour some drive from my house.

Devil's Peak vista looking north
Baby fir trees
Three hardy buttes including the one pictured below, Ruth Mountain, had endured a fire a few years back. Without shade, the hike was hot and dry. This was a section where it would sometimes be 20 or 30 miles without water. I went off trail to find Jack Spring near here and couldn't locate it.
Ruth Mountain re-vegetates after fire.
Giant pine cone
The day ended with the incredible Stuart Falls. Stuart Falls is just a few yards south of the National Park border. This is effectively Crater Lake leaking out of the mountain. A bunch of rivers have their headwaters as springs just popping out of the mountain. I've detoured from the PCT a few miles to this sweet spot to get water and avoid the people (mind you, I've only seen a dozen or so at this point).

Just above Stuart Falls is the beginning of the creek gushing out of the hillside. This falls drops some 30+ feet. This would be my campsite for the night. I arrive mid-afternoon on this light hiking day and have hours to bathe, do laundry, and relax. 

Stuart Falls
Jelly Dog finds me and we camp together for the night. Tomorrow, I'll rejoin the PCT and the many visitors at Crater Lake National Park.

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