In 2016, Southern Oregon was my least favorite part of the PCT. That remained true in 2018 as well. My mileage and mental issues I had in Northern California had improved, so I mostly focused on hiking as fast as I could to complete the Oregon Challenge. In 2016, I missed the Oregon Challenge by less than four hours, and that actually created the idea for this hike.
I rolled into Hyatt Lake Resort and ordered a large Big Foot Pizza. After eating the majority of the pizza, I packed up the rest and hiked on. The next morning, I didn't feel good, but hiked on anyway. But when I felt even worse after another day, I knew I had an issue. Talking with a medical professional I met on trail, I believe I got food poisoning. Because of how late I figured that out, I ended up hiking 80 miles in three days while barely eating and trying not to throw up.
Don't ask how I made it to Mazama Village because it doesn't make sense to me. I had to take frequent naps throughout the day and it seems like I moved up the trail during each nap. For example, I would estimate that I needed at least an hour to get to the next way-point, then get there in half in hour. I pulled into Mazama Village with a serious case of diarrhea and barely able to eat.
For two days, I camped out at Mazama Village eating as much as I could (not much) and spending a lot of time at the bathroom. My energy level dropped so low that a trip to the bathroom (about a 200 yard walk) required a nap at the bathroom and another break on the way back to my campsite. Multiple people described me as emaciated.
To top it off, mosquitoes got bad. I didn't have the energy to swat them, so I just let them eat me up.
Finally, I made it up to the Rim Trail to see Crater Lake, but I still had trouble digesting my food and my energy level was really low. Mosquitoes made me dive in my tent as soon as possible after arriving in camp each night.
Crater Lake is the best highlight of Southern Oregon.
Southern Oregon is a mixture of stagnant water, dead-fall, and mosquitoes. This area I specifically wanted to hike past as fast as possible. My goal was to make it to the Three Sisters where the scenery improves and the mosquitoes ease up.
This meadow in the Sisters is where mosquitoes finally dropped to a tolerable level.
The rest of Oregon was an experiment in finding out what I could eat and what I couldn't. At one point, I thought I would have a hiking partner, Tags from Denmark, for a couple days, but a bout of diarrhea made me have to drop off his pace.
Now that the Oregon Challenge was no longer feasible, my only remaining goals were to see the Jefferson Wilderness and eat the breakfast buffet at the Timberline Lodge. Both were experiences I did not have in 2016.
First up came the Jefferson Wilderness and I had great visibility.
My first time seeing Mt. Jefferson.
The Timberline Lodge was great, but still over-hyped in my opinion. That didn't stop me from eating so much I threw up. I actually ate less than half of what I ate at Burney Mountain Guest Ranch to demonstrate how much worse my digestive system was after my food poisoning.
Timberline Lodge. I looked forward to getting here for about 500 miles and then ate so much I threw up.
About the time I finished Oregon, my energy levels improved and I looked forward to tackling Washington. Still, I couldn't eat pizza.