After a night of deer behaving weirdly, it was good to see the morning light rise and confirm that the noises of the night were nothing more than that. We packed as much as we could within our tent to avoid the buzzing hell that awaited us outside, but we had to face the music at some point. Mosquitoes filled the air as we began the hike making us walk double time in an attempt to keep them from finding purchase. Because of this, we smashed the first 10 miles through the green tunnel in no time.

The trail now passed a burn area whose skeletal remains of forest stood out against the new growth on the hill sides all around us. We kept the momentum going eager to reach Mazama Village and Crater Lake by early afternoon. As usual, the last few miles towards a set destination seemed to last forever, but eventually we made it to the road which lead us to Mazama, a large campground with a restaurant and store. We sat with everyone we’d been semi-hiking with over the past few weeks and tucked into pizza, coke and beer as the afternoon heat passed us by.

Rest complete, we headed to the rim alternative route which would take us up to and around Crater Lake rim. Crater Laker had been one of the sights high on our to see list for the trip and it didn’t disappoint. A large bowl of volcanic ridge line circles a deep blue lake within which stood a perfect cone known as Wizard Island. Its beauty awed us as we began the rim walk towards the spring camp where we would set up for the night. Ignoring signs about high mountain lion activity, we pitched our tent among the forest trees. The next day would bring morning views of the lake and we couldn’t wait.