From Shelter Cove to Mazama Village in 48 hours! We missed the Crater Lake sunrise by 22 minutes, thanks to me and my pure exhaustion. I always thought Crater Lake was formed by an asteroid? Silly ignorance.
What an absolute relief to find the picnic benches ready and waiting for us outside the Mazama store. Shoes off, saddles on. The restaurant was only 100 feet ahead and we were starving, but I couldn't move. All I dreamed of was an ice cold beer and food in front of me. What do you know... Chef Miguel, from the resort, comes walking up to us with two 6 packs and asks if he could buy us a pizza. That was easy and delicious. Miguel was as friendly as a chipmunk and left me with a kitschy keychain and wad of cash. Yup, a wad of cash. The kindness of strangers ceases to shock me.
The rest of our SOBO gang arrived later in the afternoon and we hardly left the picnic table until the following evening. My old buddy, The Hoff, lost his phone somewhere on trail and hiked back to meet us, too. Hope you found it! Such great company! I fully understand why hikers don't like to move on their zero days.
Coach and Thumper's roommate, Nasty Nate, drove all the way from Portland to taxi us past the fire closures. We made it to Ashland in about an hour; what would have taken several hiking days. Man oh man, that was tough. I haven't been in a car in so long, and watching the forest fly by made me appreciate my slow pace. But sometimes, you don't have a choice, and it was nice to be doing this with my new friends, rather than hitching alone. The night ended with a Bloody Mary to wallow in.
Ashland treated us well! Nothing like making new friends and sleeping on their front lawn... Showers included. I really can't thank these guys enough. The beautiful Robin helped get us a ridiculously discounted rate at one of the nicest spas I've ever been to, Lithia Springs Resort. Jacuzzi in the living room? Fruiting pear trees and grape vines strewn about? All you can eat breakfast? I was spoiled rotten again. I can't wait to be back home (wherever that will be) and return the favor when you all come and visit me. YOU BETTER COME AND VISIT!