You would think it was only 21 miles. But. We hit really heavy snow with a winter storm blowing in so half a mile short we turned around. That led to us doing 24.5 miles on day 3 and then 12 to Fish Camp Lake on day four.
Of the six NOBOs on the trail at that point, all turned around. We made it pretty much out of the snow and then camped. Went to bed early and slept through rain all night.
By 4:00 am the rain was over. By 5:28 am we were on the trail back towards Fish Lake. 21,000 steps later on Day four (and after getting lost in the right direction and some bushwhacking) we were having breakfast. Nine NOBOs, all realizing the snow was too heavy.
We have been focused on Crater Lake. But the trail is impassable before and after Crater Lake so we missed the crucial factor—snow on the trail at other locations.
That said, the basalt bolder fields were impressive on the way to Fish Lake. Until the snow the trail was great, blow downs regardless.
A year ago it was a low snow year. It was 115 degrees in June. This year it is a high snow year and the temperatures have dropped into the 30s each day.
24 miles. 21 miles. 24 miles. Today it was 21,000 steps or so. Would have been less but we got off trail on the way back, found our way to the road and then caught a ride into town from a CBD dealer.
Great breakfast. Caught a shuttle (Steph again! By a miracle). My missing Spot GPS unit turned up at a road crossing and I have it back.
All in all a great day so far. Laundry and a shower next. Then we adjust our hike.
I also talked to the “trail Angel” who had been giving us condition updates and telling us it was fine. Turns out they knew it wasn’t fine but “my job is to give hikers encouragement, not information.”
So SOBO (south bound) it is. Especially since parts of the trail north of here are impassible and the Forest Service was canceling permits and returning fees.
[note. In the time since the system swallowed this post and I’ve attempted to restore it, we’ve hiked South a lot. As of July 2 we are on the trail just north of Burney Falls, California right now.]
Currently we have completed 358 miles with an average day (including our NEROs) of about 19.99 miles a day.