July 26, 2016 - Well another day of painful hiking. I’m not sure how much longer I can take. I would try to get off trail but I’m not close to any road so I’m kind of forced to head on to Shelter Cove and pick up my package and maybe take some time off.
I should have mentioned yesterday that hiking along the Crater Lake Rim is a beautiful hike but it comes with a price of a 26 mile water carry. I’ve had longer carries so it wasn’t too bad, plus I did it in the cooler weather.
Since I only got in half the miles planned yesterday I was going to try and make it up some of it today, try for 36 where I originally planned 29.
Got up at 5am and the other hiker gave me some bengay cream to see if it would help my ankle, it did not. I was hoping to hike with him since he is a faster hiker but with my ankle I just couldn't keep up as it was slow going from the start and painful, ankle felt very tight. He had mentioned where he had planned on stopping for the day but things can change and with my ankle has been I’m not sure how far I’ll get so I might not see him again.
My ankle was in pretty good pain at the start of the day but after about 2 miles it finally started to loosen up and the best it had felt in over 2 days, flat trail helped.
I was making good time and very little pain until I started heading uphill towards Mt Thielsen and the pain came back. That lasted all the way to Thielsen Creek.
After about a 30 minute break of filling up water I took off again and the ankle felt somewhat good so I kept going. Soon after I ran into my first southbound thru hiker, I figured I would start running into them. We exchange info about the trail. He recommends taking the Oregon Skyline Trail as it’s much flatter and cuts off about 8 miles of PCT trail and it has more water and heads straight to Shelter Cove where I would have had to hike 2 more miles if I took the PCT, plus most tend to take it as well. I figure I probably would take it since I bet with the name skyline it would have great views. I got hiking and it didn’t take long for the pain to come back. I had several down trees to go over going up and downhill which didn’t help.
After another long water carry I got to Six Horse Spring. I was hoping to skip this water source as it was almost a half mile down a steep trail that was swarming with mosquitoes but I had no choice, I needed the water.
After the hike back up to the trail I ate dinner and tried to figure out if to stay or move on. I really didn’t want to hike through more pain but I figured the more miles today meant less tomorrow so I headed another 3.5 miles where I found a little campsite next to a cliff just as it was getting dark. I never did see my hiking friend again, I guess he decided 36 miles wasn’t enough, to be honest if I hadn't been in that much pain I would have good further as the trail was pretty easy in that section.
Today was probably the hardest and most painful for me and all those mosquitoes didn’t help. I just hope tomorrow is better or I got to think things over about this hike and if its time to quit.