Today we knew we were ending the day in civilisation, so we had an incentive to push a bit. On the other hand, we knew there would be hot food available until 9pm so there was no rush. In the end it was the 20 mile dry stretch starting 3 miles out of camp that decided it; we should get a move on and get to Mazama Village as fast as possible.
In truth, there wasn’t a whole lot to slow us down. The trail was mostly relatively sparsely forested or burned forest, so it was quite monotonous whilst being exposed enough to be hot. The major landmarks were trail junctions and tent sites, as well as climbs and descents which we used to count down the miles. At one point I got incredibly grumpy with a supposedly downhill section that actually went uphill for a good few chunks, but it passed when I started a proper climb and could get into the right mindset.
At around 3:30 we reached the highway, and cut down a side trail into Mazama Village. The priority was food, so we headed straight for the restaurant and ordered burgers. Slight overdone and nothing special, but welcome all the same. Then new shoes! Yesssss! Finally getting rid of the clapped out Altras that were defective in the first instance and then got shredded as I hiked. As I sorted out a returns label with one of the super-helpful store employees, we noticed the fire closure map had been updated since we left Ashland and had our last wifi connection. The PCT is closed, and now the alternate Rim Trail is also partially closed so there is no hiking route out of the park. The suggestion is to ask around and try to get a ride for a three hour road detour. Not tonight. We are camping here and we’ll have a think in the morning. Means another proper meal and decent campground amenities though.
Camping: Mile 1830, Mazama Village