Even though we originally thought we might do our Boundary Springs hike and then go home, we decided it wouldn’t be a problem to spend another night on “store” and continue our camping trip as planned.
After a good breakfast we headed back up Highway 230 toward the north entrance of Crater Lake and the Boundary Springs Trailhead. We stopped along the route a couple of times, once to photograph a distant pointy peak. I was surprised when I walked to the edge of the roadway and discovered this magnificent example of downcutting in the cemented pumice from the explosion of Mt Mazama, (Crater Lake) 7700 years ago.
We also stopped at the bridge crossing Muir Creek where we had noticed a camping rig parked among the trees on the previous day. Pulling in to check it out we discovered a lovely dispersed campsite with room for a couple of rigs without imposing on anyone’s privacy.
There was a tent settled into a site along the creek, but still plenty of room that would accommodate another camper without being intrusive.
Continuing north on the highway, we again stopped at the main trailhead where we encountered a large family getting ready to hike to the Springs. They said the hike was 5 miles round trip. Good to know that we could lop off a mile or two of the total hike by returning to the dirt road we found yesterday that intercepted the trail closer to the springs.
We drove to our dirt road that we found yesterday that cut off some distance for us by intercepting the trail closer to the springs. I think our total hike was between 3 and 4 miles, but I discovered my Fitbit is seriously overestimating mileage. My 36 inch stride has shortened considerably since I started hobbling along with sticks. Time to reset stride length so I get reasonable mileage numbers. After returning home I did a bit more research and found a good map of our hike and discovered that we had indeed covered 3.5 miles round trip from where we entered the trail to the springs and back.
The hike wasn't difficult, with some ups and downs, but a fairly smooth surface thanks to the deep pumice soils. The family overtook us in short order even with our short cut. During the hike we passed a woman from Arizona, a couple from San Jose, and another young couple.
We all stayed distanced as we greeted each other and the two couples stepped off the trail and donned their masks as we passed. I thanked them and we covered our faces with our shirts, feeling silly that we had left our masks in the car. I find I am much less concerned when outdoors and tend to be less vigilant. Especially after yesterday where we didn't see another soul on the trails.
The family departed the spring as we arrived so we had it entirely to ourselves as we sat and enjoyed not only the springs but the thought of the mighty river that it becomes.
On the way back out I found myself wondering how long it takes a drop of water to reach the Pacific, and then what happens if it gets caught up in Lost Lake and never gets there...or evaporates on the way. Silly thoughts hiking the headwaters of a great river. Although I never did get an answer to that question, I did find an excellent synopsis of the Rogue River in this website
Another fascinating blog that I found in my research is this one, Boundary Springs, Source of the River. Great information about the source of the water that forms the springs, and while they don’t emanate directly from the bottom of Crater Lake, the waters move through the deep pumice layers under some of the deepest snows in the western US.
I managed the hike with 2 sticks, and noticed my quad muscles really didn't hurt any more at the end of the hike than they did at the beginning. Its just a matter of doing it. I did notice that much of my walking movement is generated from my hips rather than knees or quads so it makes for a bit of a funny looking gait. I remembered something a well known Myositis Warrior said, "Don't mourn what you can no longer do. Celebrate what you still can do."
Lately I have been often saddened when I read about so many great hikes that blogger friends are doing that I know I will never do again. But on this walk I celebrated that I made it to Boundary Springs and that my hiking days may have changed, but they aren't over.
We decided to return home by continuing to the north entrance of Crater Lake and making a loop via highway 62 back to Farewell Bend.
The drive was lovely, but with a bit of overcast the lake wasn't as blue as we have seen it. The view sites were mostly full but we only stopped at one for a few photos.
We were back at camp before 3 and while warm, it wasn't as hot as the previous two days. We played cards at the picnic table for awhile, planning to have supper at 7 so it would be a bit cooler and we could try again for a campfire.
I wanted to walk the short .3 me trail to the Rogue Gorge Overlook along the river. I decided this time to try the walker since the trail was smooth, level, and not rocky. We were alone when we arrived at the overlook but within minutes there were a bunch of families with happy loud kids running around so we made.our exit. It was fun seeing kids playing in the slick rocky pools in the river channel. Most of the times we have been to this part of the river the water has been much too high and wild for this kind of play.
Supper was the best ever and the easiest. Mo started up the Weber Q and I put on two ears of unhusked corn and some nice loin chops. We cooked and ate at the table with a jar of our homemade applesauce and the other half of our bottle of red we had the first night we were here. We also turned on the generator and the air to let the rig cool down a bit. Amazing what a treat cooled air can be when it is hot and muggy outdoors!
Back inside after supper and a little bit of campfire we finished our card game in the coolness before opening all the windows putting the rig on store and settling into the darkness to read kindles before bed. I love the dark silence of having the rig on store at night. No blinking lights anywhere.
The next morning we turned on the generator again for breakfast, and considered whether we should return to Crater Lake to drive out to the Pinnacles Trail. We decided to wait till the next time we visit so as not to be rushed by the 2 pm check out time.
Instead we once again walked the beautiful Rogue Gorge trail for a couple of miles along the river. Such a perfect way to end our trip.
Both of us were really happy that we hadn’t let our battery issues cut our plans short. Every single day had something wonderful for us and we are already planning to return to camp at Farewell Bend for more explorations into parts of Crater Lake that we have yet to visit.