When a Pacific Crest Trail thru-hiker reaches Oregon it’s like putting on a fresh pair of trail runners. The air feels full of fresh oxygen (no stinky foot odor), the trail itself seems smoother, and the uphills are no big deal. Hikers that reach Oregon usually have one thing on their mind: it’s time to cruise! Remember, the mornings are meant for cooking miles, not oatmeal! When thru-hikers talk about hiking 30 or 40 or 50 or 60 miles in a single day, they’re usually bragging about some stretch they did in Oregon. There are two well-known trail challenges that some people embrace. The first one is to hike the entire state (450 miles) in 14 days, and the second challenge is to hike as many miles as possible within 24 hours.
We did neither challenge. But ended up hiking Oregon in a casual 16 days.
Sure, this is a state for hiking big miles, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t beauty along the way. Crater Lake is one of our most memorable experiences on trail. To get to the viewpoint, you trudge uphill through a green tunnel, wondering when you’ll finally catch a glimpse. Once you break out of the trees, there’s this sandy walk to the caldera rim and GASP – before you is the bluest blue you have ever blued.
Tuna Butter hates walking on sand, absolutely despises it, but he was able to set that aside to walk the Rim Trail, catching amazing views of the lake. If you follow this alternate route (which you should), you’ll find yourself falling into step with national park visitors and day hikers. Can they smell you? Yes, most definitely. But at this point into the trail, what others perceive of you no longer matters.Continue reading