Start: Thielson Creek (1861)
Camp: North Junction Crater Lake (1841)
What an amazing day to hike in Crater Lake National Park. After four and a half days of rain the sun finally came out as I began the climb to The Rim, and though the clouds returned the overcast offered welcome protection from an otherwise searing traverse of the volcano.
I devoured snacks on my hike to the rim because I was waiting to make lunch. I thought how beautiful it would be to sit on the rim and just relax and cook. When I finally got there the view was astounding but what I was really excited for was simple: to sit on the flat, clean cement sidewalk in the parking lot, where you couldn’t see the rim at all.
After eating I began to wander up the trail but quickly decided I was done. I retired to a clump of trees overlooking the lake at North Junction and lay down on warm rocks to read. There’s an abiding satisfaction to be had by getting through a few pages of a book and then tearing them right off, the remainder of the book in your hands, something that otherwise would have easily fetched 50¢ at a garage sale. I got halfway through Me Talk Pretty One Day and tore off my thickest stack of pages yet, and then I couldn’t help laughing when I finally reached beneath me and removed something that made me infinitely more comfortable: that wasn’t a rock I had been laying on all this time, it was not done natural and unalterable protrusion, it was my phone. Laying on just the rock did, in fact, feel wonderful and I started to fall asleep as fog filled the crater and hid the lake from view.
A couple of northbounders came along and decided to camp with me. I’m not in the habit of hanging out in places where I’m forbidden except in national parks, and even then it’s relieving to have people to share the guilt with so I was happy they’d also chosen to end there day here, on the rim, where camping is never allowed.