Lightning Springs (1836.5) to Bushcamp (1865.5)
I woke to the sound of Keith Urban playing his song ‘who wouldn’t wanna be me’. That just so happened to be my alarm music at 5am. Every other person camping nearby was also awake at the same time. Not because of my alarm but at the hands of their own. Seems we were all venturing up to the rim of the crater to view the sunrise. All except Mr & Mrs Smith.
The sun had not yet risen when I made it to the crater rim. The clouds were a shade of pink and the wind was cool. It was not long before the sun made an appearance. Slowly at first through a bank of distant cloud. Once it started it took only about an hour before the smoke tainted orange glow turned to the more normal bright white ball.
I followed the Rim Trail. An alternate to the PCT that runs somewhat parallel to it but with much better views, even if I did have to put up with occasional sharp steep climbs and descents. The trail followed the rim for several miles before commencing a descent that lasted many miles through woodlands. The miles came easy. At lunch I crossed a main highway. Trail Magic. Pancakes, sugar drinks and beer. There were several other hikers there, many I had never met before. My namesake, ‘The Shepherd’ was also there. I hadn’t seen him for about 1000 miles. That’s crazy. A big thank you to Tank for his hospitality.
I’d already covered 14 miles by midday when I had lunch at the trail magic. When I departed I found myself stopping to pee every mile. I must have been well hydrated! The trail climbed for many miles. From nowhere the trail opened up and I had fantastic views of Mt Theilsen. Volcanic rock and scree littered the side of the mountain. As I rounded the mountain I finally reach the water source. It was 4pm and I hadn’t been able to fill up my water bottles since last nights camp. It was a heavy backpack today, what with the resupply and all my pack was maybe 16kg (35lb). I surely felt it. At the stream I filled up another 5 litres of water to get me through dinner, breakfast and another 16 miles till the next water. I would be dry camping. The term used to describe camping away from a water source.
After hiking 29 miles I set up camp next to the trail with a great view of sunset. It was still early, I could have continued but I thought I’d set up here and await the arrival of Mr & Mrs Smith. They never arrived.