Crater Lake Journal

In 2001, Crater Lake National Park held a one year artist residency program to celebrate their Centennial. At the end of the year there was an exhibition of the artwork created during that year. I visited the park for several weeks in March.

A Ski Trip around the Rim

Tuesday 3/27/01
Yesterday morning I got up early (6:30 local time) and visited Carolyn H - who is taking care of the artists. Also got a wilderness permit and my stove from the post office. (I shipped my stove via mail to avoid taking it on the airplane). I filled it with fuel and 2 more fuel bottles and packed the rest of my backpack. Also cleaned up the condo since Carolyn informed me that another artist is coming Wednesday. Later, Carolyn drove me up to the rim and said a third artist is coming the following Wednesday, which will make 3 of us!

I started out late at about 12:20 PM on the Rim trail heading west or clockwise. I do not know why the guide book thought it was easiest. I made pretty good time. I stopped to pee once, right before I saw a guy at North Point taking pictures. I must have pulled the pin out of my watch at the pee spot because when I looked at my map after seeing the guy, my clock was at 2:20 - same as the pee stop. I was planning on stopping at 5 or 5:30. Sunset is at 5:30 but there is some light until 7. I found a nice lake overlook and stopped for the night. I wanted to melt snow but the stove wouldn't pressurize. I was pretty upset. I tried to prime it with fuel on the top, and it did melt a small amount of snow just loosely lighted but not burning normally. I greedily drank this water but saved the rest of my water that night. I had 1+ full water bottles left.

Then the tent broke. The front horizontal stay snapped into 3 pieces! I moved the back stay to the front and put the pack inside, to prop up the front of the tent. It was OK as a bivy sack but I don't think I slept very well.

I got up this morning at 6:30 if my watch is set properly, and was off by 7:20 am. I decided to keep going until I reached the trail down to the lake at a boat dock where I could get water. At about 8:30 I descended to the lake. It must be about 750' since the sign compares it to the height of a 75 story building. It was easy with only a little snow on the trail. Got the water. It was quite peaceful with the water lapping on the rocks. I anticipated that drink so much and drank a lot when I arrived. When I climbed up to the top, I saw Ranger Pete and his son who were skate skiing around the lake and Pete suggested that I stay at the Wineglass hut. I thought that sounds good for next time. It was 3 miles farther and I thought I would pass the hut. He said some weather was coming in but it was supposed to be nice the next day. I went so slowly. The water was damn heavy (I filled a 96 oz Nalgene and 2 one liter bottles) and the snow was sticky for awhile. Then a long uphill of a few miles.

Soon the wind started to blow really hard and rain started driving down! I never imagined it would rain up here. I saw a hole in the slope above me and to the right, and set up what is left of the tent in the hole. It is still rainy and windy. Rain is everywhere coming through the tent. Even though I put up the front A frame and anchored the back and the pack is in here, it sags a lot and its raining in on me! I sure regret stopping. I should have pressed on even though I was so slow. Now its only mid afternoon (2 PM?) and I have a long time till night to stay warm. I am cold and wet. I hate it! I think I wrecked the stove pump before I shipped it when I sprayed it with WD40. It must have corroded something. I hope I can just pack up somehow in the morning and get back to the chalet. OK I know it's a condo but it looks like a chalet. Stove is hopeless. I am cold.

Wednesday March 28, 2001
Back at the condo. I do not know how I survived last night - well, I know how but I was pretty miserable. Even though my legs were drenched, I put on rain pants over my power stretch pants, almost every piece of clothing I have. I saved a dry pair of socks and a dry shirt for morning. I kept thinking - I should have kept going. One vertical side of my sleeping bag was drenched. One whole side of my fleece jacket was heavy with cold water and I laid on my back or right side since my left side would have been in the drink. I was not always shivering but a lot of the time. I thought about changing but wanted to save my dry clothes for morning when they'd stay dry.

I was so happy to see it getting light out. I got up about 6 and started taking stuff out of the tent. A couple quarts of water drained out of my gear. Nothing dried in the sun. Glorious sun! Really warmed me up. I put on dry socks, and power stretch top. I put off stuffing my sleeping bag till last. Man it was huge and heavy. I threw out my stove after trying it again and wanting to reduce weight. Also drained both fuel bottles. Not the smartest move probably...

The world was covered in ice. It was hard and in some places hard and thick. Skiing was difficult and twice I fell face forward doing herringbone! It was not funny since putting on my pack was really hard and getting up after a fall was next to impossible. I was still following Pete's tracks but they grew faint and I got tremendously lost near Mt. Scott. I was confused about a dead end road and mixed it up with the road around the lake. I was almost ready to head off in the opposite direction when I looked again at the map and took out a compass and also went back to the road and saw the tracks. Wow, I was really feeling bad. Pathetic tent, wet bag and no stove, now lost! I was so motivated to make it back here. There were some long uphills but a lot of downhill and it was sunny till about 1 or 2 when it got windy and eventually started raining again. I guess its just too warm for snow. I kept going as much as possible, stopping for sun screen, food and water. I lost a water bottle somewhere either when I fell or stopped. I got back to headquarters at 3:15 PM by my watch which was actually only about 15 minutes to 30 minutes off!

Thursday March 29, 2001
I am not convinced that a soaking wet sleeping bag even synthetic, is enough to survive. The issue is wet versus soaking in water... Well if its just wet its obviously not so bad. Jean is the other artist and we went over to the community center and saw Gladiator. It was great. This morning I debated stoves for a long time and decided on the MSR Expedition, then I found a place to ship me one hopefully by tomorrow! It would be great to get one so swiftly. I took it easy today. I took photos at the rim. Replaced camera batteries, and eventually skied the Hemlock Trail near the Rim Cafeteria and out for a ways and back. There were great big trees and broad meadows.

Last night I had a lot of red spots on my body. There are 2 other artists, one from a nearby town and another from Washington State. One of the artists is our self appointed cook. She made chile tonight and is asking what to make tomorrow. I am used to eating out of a can and chips and salsa. I am running out of chips however.

I stopped at the ranger's building today and saw a cool topo map of Crater Lake above and below ground water on mylar. No way to get it copied. But later I was at the library and there were a bunch of books with cool Crater Lake maps. If only the librarian shows up again, I'll see if I can photocopy them! They are old maps.

Re the other artists, we have bonded but one is a bit of a chauvanist. He is easy enough to get along with but rubs the other artist the wrong way and there are frequent open disagreements between them. I blow it off. It is a different experience than being alone and lounging around reading my old magazines or a book at night. Instead there is a lot of talking. Its too occupying.

Friday March 30, 2001
Another list. I called Mom and talked to Shannon this morning. Heidi and Riley were still sleeping. Tonight I talked to all 3 kids. They seem to be OK but Monday Mom found out she has diabetes. Riley said he was late getting home from the skating park and Mom was upset. This morning Mom was upset. Wanted to talk to her doctor before taking Shannon to York. Shannon has been talking the train to help Carol. Says they are friends! Amazing! Heidi seems ok.

I got up early again. Went skiing along the West Rim with a ski patrol woman. She was really young and very nice but I should have just gone alone. She went up the nearby mountain with a guy sharing our duplex in the afternoon. Maybe I'll climb it Sunday. Tomorrow, another artist and I are heading out to Sunspot, 4.5 miles each way.

After my morning ski, I went to the slide room and looked at every slide and checked out a bunch of them! Great aerial views, old slides and maps. Then I finished xeroxing old maps and photos from a couple of library books.

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