OR – PCT Sections C, D and E . . . as in Crater Lake to SOS

While visiting friends in Oregon, I found I had an open 3-week window on my calendar. It wasn’t on my summer itinerary, but then again neither was Oregon. With fires preventing me from hiking the Colorado Trail, alternative plans were the word of the day. 

Step 1 – Prep

What is Oregon known for? That’s right lots of mosquitoes! I’ve found spraying my outside clothes, shoes and gear with Sawyers Permethrin minimizes the amount of bug repellent I need to apply to my body. For those times you need a little extra, I use Sawyers Picaridin. It worked fine for me through Oregon.

Having on-trail resupply locations meant no hitching required. I spent a few days getting my resupply boxes ready for shipment to Shelter Cove, Big Lake Youth Camp and Timberline Lodge.

Step 2 – Transportation

I was on the Oregon Coast and wanted to start from Crater Lake. Friends and family stepped up and made it happen, even if it meant a few puppy kisses in exchange. 

Step 3 – Time to HIKE! 

I started north from the Rim Visitor Center on the popular PCT alternate trail. This wasn’t my first visit to Crater Lake but it was my first time to walk the rim. By the way, wildfires were the cause of the hazy views and photographs.

I expected the rim to be fairly flat. I was caught a bit by surprise by it’s lumpiness, especially after being fairly sedentary for the past few weeks.

I was very concerned about the 26-mile dry stretch between Rim Village and Thielsen Creek. I knew there was potential for water caches maintained by trail angels but I didn’t want to depend on them, especially as a friend was driving by on her way to Crater Lake and was able to drop off a gallon in a couple locations. 

Diamond Lake 

Mt Thielsen 

Thielsen Creek 

No summit, no views at this high point. 

You frequently hear about the green tunnel in Oregon, but I found some exceptions. 

And sometimes you even have views. 

Flowers and bees are a good combination. 

There were plenty of campsites without views. 

This was my favorite for catching the morning glow. 

This is what they call the green tunnel. 

I’ll take it over burn any day. 

I took the Oregon Skyline Trail (OST) alternate between Windigo Pass and Shelter Cove. 

I made a wrong turn getting into Crescent Lake and ended up hiking an extra 4 miles. 

I’d planned to spend time soaking in the lake and basking on the beach but instead wasted a couple hours walking those extra miles.

Even in late July, temperatures were quite chilly during the night. 

The collision of warm and cold made for these steamy views.

Diamond View Lake was one of the more picturesque lakes along the trail.

The food at Shelter Cove Resort was great. The staff at the store and cafe were friendly. They’ve created a nice covered area for hikers with recharging station, hiker boxes, picnic table, etc. While I was there campers in the vicinity brought treats to the area. 

Shelter Cove is on Odell Lake. During my time, swimming was discouraged. Shower and laundry facilities were adequate.

Looking back at Odell Lake. 

Rosary Lake and Pulpit Rock 

Yes bears roam these woods.

Sunrise at Charlton Lake. 

Oregon makes it easy to obtain permits in most areas. Self registration is available at major trailheads and road crossings. This is my friend Ron, a long time section hiker, who joined me for a few days.  

This was my third visit to Three Sisters Wilderness and I was excited to see the mountains up close and personal from the west side. After spending three weeks on the Oregon Coast my body wasn’t acclimated to heat, thus I used my umbrella to help reduce the affects.

I knew Anish was on trail and that there was a tiny chance we would cross paths. We came so close to missing each other but as it happened her and Adam were going to grab water at the same lake Ron and I had stopped at to camp. If you haven’t heard Anish completed her goal of hiking the AT, PCT and CDT in 2018, that’s about 8,000 miles. Here’s the link to her story, “Heather Anderson Completed a Calendar-Year Triple Crown.”

I took time to photograph the few flowers I found along the trail. 

I also love finding the older signs that have been eaten by the trees. 

The rumor is that Oregon is flat. Well they may be fibbing a little. This was my most challenging climb, partially because I was hiking it in the afternoon heat. I believe this was Koosah Mountain, north of the Elk Lake Trail junction.

This one was hiking north out from Bobby Lake.

I was beyond excited to finally get a view of South Sister. 

And this one of Mt Bachelor.

And this one of Broken Top. 

Wickiup Plains ended up being my favorite part of the trail thus far (besides Crater Lake). 

Although the lighting was bad, it was magical seeing South Sister, wildflowers and the glacial moraine. 

Could I have asked for a better place to spend my last few hours on trail? 

It was just me and my shadow soaking in this amazing early morning beauty. 

Just when I didn’t think things could get much better I found this meadow filled with blooming lupine. 

And another with monkey flowers. 

With so much happiness in my heart I found myself weaving through burned forests. 

Mesa Creek was a wonderful oasis, with water so much nicer than that gathered from the lakes. I took a break here at 8am and as I was about to leave I saw my trail friends, Hot Lips and Caveman, who I’d had a nice conversation with at camp the previous night. I briefly met them at Shelter Cove but didn’t see them again until that arduous climb up Koosah Mountain.

Hot Lips and I visited for a while at the creek while Caveman went ahead. We hiked together through this burn area. 

As we said our goodbyes and she rushed up the trail to catch her husband, I got into my rhythm and suddenly found myself looking down a slope with my upper body propelling myself into a fall. These things happen. No big deal . . . until I found my wrist contorted and yelled HELP in hopes Hot Lips was still within ear shot. As luck would have it she heard me and rushed back to my aid.

Here’s the link to the rest of the story, “Life Interrupted . . . Forever Grateful for the SOS Button

Adventure Date(s):

  • June 17-25, 2018

Hike Details:

  • Section C: 17.8 miles
    • Guthook Mile 1839.2-1847.9 +9.4 miles for Crater Lake Rim alternate
  • Section D: 54.3 miles +4 bonus miles
    • Guthook Mile 1847.9-1878.2; 1906.6-1907.9 +22.7 miles for OST alternate to Shelter Cove/Odell Lake
  • Section E: 57.8 miles
    • Guthook Mile 1907.9 – 1965.7



2 thoughts on “OR – PCT Sections C, D and E . . . as in Crater Lake to SOS

  1. Entering and leaving Wickiup Plains… few places are more iconic!
    Glad your wrist has healed and the adventures continue!

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