PCT: Day 127: Crater Lake

Crater Lake

Miles today: 26.9

Trail miles sum: 1165.5

Trail location: 1847.8

Elevation: 5924

Spinning on the turntable: Paul Simon: Graceland

Word of the day today (actually since last week) is that part of the PCT trail near Crater Lake is closed due to aggressive mountain lion activity.

Guthook Screenshot

Guthook Aug 9

This made it a very simple decision to hike the Rim Trail rather than the PCT. I followed the blue line instead of the red line. (Aggressive Mountain Lions?!? Good God! No! The PCT purists, who refuse to miss a single hiking foot/meter, can haul their hard asses into the “aggressive mountain lion” territory, and not miss a precious piece of the trail. This chubby boy needs no such thrill, thank you very much!)

Crater Lake

Sunrise over Crater Lake

The sun was just peaking over the horizon as we began our hike. Noelle hiked out for about six miles along the super scenic section of the Rim Trail.

Crater Lake

Noelle at the Lake

The views were spectacular!

Crater Lake

Such blue water

It was an amazing morning hike. I can’t believe we’re here doing this crazy hike! The water is super, super clear.

I read somewhere that the water visibility was around 147ft during a previous test. (Or was it 47 feet? Hummm….)

Anyway, the water is very clear. We skipped the trail hike down to the water, roughly a 700ft drop in a quarter mile. The Park Rangers call it heart attack hill.

We saw a few Olympic Marmots moving around. They blend in very well with their surroundings.

PCT Animals

Marmot sighting!

We saw a few Black Tailed deer. This doe allowed us to move very close to it, perhaps ten feet. It wasn’t bothered by our presence too much, she just moved a few feet further away when we were too close.

PCT Animals

Deer posing for pics

Once the trail began to move away from the lake Noelle headed back to the van and I continued to mosey on down the trail. I’d like to return to Crater Lake again in the future to spend a little more time exploring.

Crater Lake

I do have to admit, I may be in a visual sensory overload situation with all the amazing scenery I’m encountering. Mt. Shasta was mind blowing and I was able to enjoy her presence for weeks. Crater Lake was a one day experience.

The thru-hiking scenery experiences are amazing, but it’s a lot to take in. I suspect that my senses are overloaded. I liked Crater Lake, it was great, but….I saw tourists and day hikers who were quite emotional at the site of the lake. I wasn’t. It was great, spectacular views, but I was ready to move on. Next!

So maybe what I’m trying (poorly) to enunciate is that the amazing visual smorgasbord of the everyday PCT hiking has momentarily decreased my ability to appreciate the incredible, amazing experience of Crater Lake. This may be the most logical thought process I have when it comes to section hiking the PCT versus thru-hiking the PCT.

PCT sign post

PCT Sign

I was happy to return to the PCT after the Rim Trail detour. Aggressive mountain lions are now behind us!

PCT Views

Last views before the forest

Once the trail dipped below the lake the trail was locked in pretty tight in the forest.

I kind of zoned out and listened to podcasts this afternoon while hiking. It was a nice break from the tunes.

I was walking through a burned out section for several hours. This was the first time I’ve seen evidence that trail blocking tree removal is being done via axe. There are some serious bad asses volunteers working in this section! Thank you!

PCT Views

Fallen trees


  1. Angus McCamant

    Even if the official PCT were open, if you have not seen Crater Lake the rim would be the way to go. At least you spent a day there.

    • mcgarveysan

      We could have spent a week there! It was magnificent.

  2. Anonymous

    Great pics-wow.!. Steve, did you really clock in 35 miles in one day? Sounds Olympian..Love, Mom n Dad

    • mcgarveysan

      I’ve had a few days with miles in the low 30’s but I don’t think I’ve hit 35 in one day (yet).


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