Mile: 1803.3 to 1818.5; Rim Alt 8.5 to 11.0; and 1 mile road walk (18.7)
up/down: 2000/2000 feet
There is a saying: "The trail provides." When you need something the most, it magically happens. Today we needed to get around a fire closure and it was easy, thanks to an amazing trail angel.
We left camp this morning ignorant of the fact that two days ago all the trails through Crater Lake had been closed. Last we heard the Rim Trail alternate was open with the fire closure of the regular PCT. In Crater Lake only equestrian users take the regular PCT and hikers all take the Rim Trail alternate (prohibited to stock). Why walk through another boring forest when you can walk along the lake rim with all the views? Exactly. So when we found out this morning that all the trails were closed a bit of panic set in, especially when we also learned that the west rim road was closed and the hitch around was on the much longer east side. This could get messy.
We passed a south bound hiker with about 5 miles to go to Mazama Village who told us of a trail angel ferrying hikers from the village store to the other end of the closure. Could this be? We got to the store and found a group of hikers hanging out. We queried and learned that Devilfish, the amazing angel who spends the hiking season just being in the best spot to help hikers had arrived at Crater and was doing his magical thing. Wait around we were told and Devilfish would appear and swoop us to a magical place.
We ate and drank, sorted our resupply box, and hung out in front of the store with the the rest of the hiker trash. It took a few hours but amazingly a red minivan appeared out of the magical mist. The van could hold 5 hikers, there were 5 ready to go. We loaded and were gone.
Devilfish stopped along the way at one of the many lake overlooks, knowing that some in the van had never seen Crater Lake and may never again. It took most of an hour to travel around the east side but we were eventually dropped at the intersection of the east and west rim roads where the Rim Trail was open again. We only missed about 10 miles of trail but it was the spectacular Crater Lake Rim trail. Camping along the trail is controlled inside the park so we walked the 2.5 miles to a camp area. That's where we are now with plenty of water to get us through the rest of this long waterless section, about 18 more miles to Thielsen Creek. That's tomorrow's business, tonight we are thankful for angels in red minivans.