Traveling on the Edge of a Primal Reality

Day 09

DAY 09: September 03, 2011 (Saturday)

Broken Arrow to Mazama Campground, Crater Lake National Park: 28 miles (204 thus far)

Got up at just before first light to begin preparations for the day. Gary didn’t sleep well due to unknowingly pitching his tent on a mound, and was not too keen on my decision for such an early start. I informed him that come this evening, he would understand my rationale, however objectionable to it he was this morning. We only had 28 miles to cover to Mazama Campground, however those miles are as grueling as they come, right up the side of a volcanic caldera to over 7,000 feet elevation, with both the steepness of the ascent and the thinner air conspiring to slow progress on tricycles to a crawl. To top all this off, the air temperature upon arising and breaking camp was very frigid at 5,000 feet, making for a miserable experience for anyone not accustomed to this type of gypsy life. Left the campground at sun-up. Rode more than 5 miles to reach the entrance of Crater Lake National Park, the only national park in Oregon. Gary purchased a lifetime federal pass for only $10, one of the perks for aging in our society. My yearly pass was $80, but in another year and a half, I’m eligible for the lifetime card. Today is sunny and warm, with temps reaching the mid 70s by afternoon. Gary experienced significant difficulty on the day’s ascent, which seemed never-ending and steep beyond comprehension on trikes, necessitating rest stops every hundred yards or so on the steepest portions. Later in the afternoon, he indicated that the potential for seriously damaging his knees finally outweighed his goal to complete the CCTE, and that he would be renting a U-Haul truck once we arrived in Klamath Falls to return to Florence and retrieve his car. By 5:00 PM, he was in dire straits with very painful knees and a pounding heart, so I stopped and talked with some National Park Service law enforcement officers about campsite availability at Mazama Campground (Labor Day weekend). We had to get Gary into a restful state as soon as possible, but the campground was full. One of the NPS fire suppression officers, who was monitoring a nearby forest fire, offered to allow us to pitch our tents in a campsite they reserved for parking their equipment only, which we readily and graciously accepted at no charge (this is usually a $30 per night campground). After arranging this at the summit of the park roadway, we coasted the final few miles down the southern side of the caldera to the campground area, where we gorged ourselves at the Annie Creek Inn smorgasbord restaurant. By the time we finished dinner, it was pitch black outside, so by headlight, we pedaled to the campsite of the massive campground labyrinth (good thing I had camped here many times and knew the way). The fire truck blocked access to the tent area of the site, so I had to walk around in the dark with my headlamp to find a little slot in the trees where we could fit our trikes to get back into the trees and pitch our tents by headlamp (site E-18, of loops A-G). So far on the trip, we have been averaging 22 miles per day.