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The Road to Crater Lake

We quickly left the campsite we had created along a turn off road of Oregon Route 62 in the morning. Around midnight, the time period that I was noticing I was becoming most awake, an SUV had parked about three hundred feet from us, just a little too close to where we had discreetly camped and where we had erected our tents behind a stand of trees attempting to be undetectable from the road. We were concerned that the driver would want us to pack up and leave, or worse harass us. Their intent, if any, was unclear.

The driver had the engine idling then the SUV drove off after about an hour. It was hard to determine what was really going on v. the fears of potentially being harassed.

In the morning, I was relieved to find that the driver had apparently just had digestive issues, as determined by the paper traces he/she left behind.

We had packed a titanium gardening trowel (that S and I had had for our gardening in our garden plot in Sacramento) and each of us had a supply of toilet paper and an ethic of "Leave-No-Trace". I had attempted to not buy a lot of new gear for this bicycle trip, let alone, lightweight gear was expensive, but I also wanted to be OK if things got damaged, which I thought would be harder if the item was new and expensive. The weight of my gear didn't seem to be a problem for me in bicycling, consistent with the beliefs I had when choosing and looking at gear and preparing for the trip. Most of my gear was stuff I already had or was borrowing from S who had chosen for her, to upgrade certain items for increased warmth or lightness.

The morning blurriness was regularly becoming a point of struggle for me, my thoughts, and autonomic behaviors. I recall regularly feeling startled as woke and reawoke while my body was doing things like an automation.

We bicycled into the tourist stop of 'Union Creek Historic District' at 3,323ft. elevation. We then continued bicycling parallel past the upper Rogue River and continued the long slow climb up the slopes of Mount Mazama.

When we got separated by the nature of our different bicycling speeds, the inability to hear or really interact with each other while riding single file, and need for rest or refueling (snack) breaks, we would often rest and wait for the others to catchup at some landmark or junction of the road. I recall leaving markers on the road at the western entrance (4,850ft) (as we were going northeastward into the park) of Crater Lake National Park after having waited for a long time.

As we got further into the park and higher in elevation, the mosquito level increased, urging me forward. The mosquito level was also most intense during the dusk, and dawning morning. I had two different mosquito repellents and was regularly putting spray diphenhydramine on the reddened bites that was working to reduce the bites that often swelled to about the size of a quarter and contributed concomitantly to drowsiness in me.

As we increased in elevation we passed by many patches of snow. I was enjoying the ride, noting we had left Jackson County and had entered Klamath County. I also noted with a keen eye that Klamath County utilized wooden poles rather than metal to have as snow pole markers. I also noted the mosquitos that landed on my bicycle and hitched a ride. I found out later they were different than the usual breeds for this area, these ones being known as a group "Snow Aedes" as identified by range, photos and verbal descriptions of how they hatch from the snow and don't need standing water to breed that I heard while on the trip. Here are some google images of Ochlerotatus communis, images of Aedes punctor, images of Aedes hexodontus

After cresting 6,200ft elevation the road intersected with the Pacific Crest Trail, where there was a huge marker and informational signage of what the PCT was, then about a mile further down the road I left a marker of my left turn onto 'Crater Creek Rd.' into 'Mazama Village'. 

When Y and S arrived, they recounted to me the idealized version of me sipping a refreshing drink inside the cafe of 'Mazama Village' at 6,004ft elevation, whereas the truth was I was trying to find a camping spot, possibly an indoor spot, for us to be in overnight. The current plan I had heard was that S and Y's mom was going to be arriving tomorrow and pick up Y after all of us being here for a few days. I was hesitant to be outdoors in this level of mosquitos. I heard that that would have been their idealized vision for themselves, upon arriving at the end of the day of bicycle riding. I actually didn't feel muscularly tired, just regularly drowsy, and kinda cold.

We got one of the camping spots at 'Mazama Campground'. Which was a good thing as the rental cabins were filled, the Crater Lake Lodge full, so the staff were directing people to go to camp at the town of Prospect (from where we had come) or to go further north, by many miles, to a possibly full campground. I commiserated with one of the staff members who was expressing astonishment as how the sizes of RVs had grown to now being more often than not the size of Greyhound buses (being motorhomes or fifth wheel trailers) and thus they were taking up more space in the campgrounds. She also pointed out to me where a motorhome had also adversely impacted the roof of the kiosk she was stationed in. 

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December 2012
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