From the Oregon border we headed basically due east towards Mount Ashland.
Showers and clouds cooled us down from the excessive heat.
I spent three days in Ashland at the local Youth Hostel while Stacey flew home to buy a new car under the cash for clunkers program. She has a brand new Soul.....a Kia Soul, that is. Her car dealer joked that he sold a priest a soul just other day.
When we arrived in town, we were talking with a women at a coffee stand when a mysterious lady pulled up to us and ran from her car. She said, "you guys are Pacific Crest Trail Hikers, right?" We nodded yes, and she handed us an envelope and went running back to her car. It was a 12 dollar gift certificate to a local restaurant where the gift was labeled for a PCT Hiker, whereas the issuer was labeled as being from a Trail Angel.
We were given a ride back up to Siskiyou Pass by Chuck Norris and Tigger from the Youth Hostel with the official PCT Van. "By the Book" also joined us, but he soon had to stop because he contracted giardia which eventually took him off of the trail.
We found ourselves walking through many lava flows near Mount McLoughlin with "Buck 30".
The ridgeline through the Sky Lakes Wilderness gave us views of Klamath Lake and kept us moving through our last swarms of mosquitoes.
As we approached Crater Lake National Park, the regional weather and climate began to shift. Along with mountain rain showers, we suddenly found ourselves in 50 and 60 degree temperatures. We re-supplied at Mazama Village and stuffed our stomachs at the all you can eat Annie's Creek Restaurant. Our bellies nearly exploded.
The next morning we walked to the rim of Crater Lake and had a fancy breakfast at the Crater Lake Lodge.
The awesome views of Crater Lake were coming and going as clouds rushed in like a raging river and waterfall at the northwest side of the Lake. The winds were truly whipping and the wind chill blasted below freezing temperatures at us. It went from very Hot to very Cold almost overnight. However, it was always just right.
Crater Lake National Park was battling about 40 small fires from lightning strikes that occurred while we were staying in Ashland.
Wizard Island is a volcano within a volcano.
Imagine Crater Lake having several more thousand feet added to it where it was once called Mount Mazama. Mt. Mazama blew its top off 7,700 years ago.
We said goodbye to the views and walked into the clouds.
In the park we ran into our first south bound Pacific Crest Trail thru-hikers.
We probably saw a total of ten in all, over the next couple of weeks. I wonder if any of them made it in time to beat the big snows in the High Sierra's.
At the junction of Highway 230, we found our last cache of water on the trail. It was so cool, that we really didn't require any additional water through this waterless stretch. In the morning we would be enjoying views of Mount Thielsen.