While most of Crater Lake is a foggy, distant, dreamy recollection, there are three memories that remain most prominent in my mind regarding our three days at the crater: one, having the holy hell bit out of me by mosquitoes. If I have not articulated this point enough, let me further expound upon the nature of the bug situation at our campsite. It was hell, pure and simple. The only way to avoid being bitten by four to five mosquitoes simultaneously was to don protective clothing from head to foot and employ a continuous waving of the hand in front of your face while dancing around motion. As that the temperature at the campsite between the hours of eight in the morning and nine at night hovered just above one hundred and seventy-two degrees Celsius, this resulted in profuse sweating and general delirium. To stand still was to accept the devil into your bosom and to dance was to follow the tune he played on his mischievous little pipe.
Two, taking the finest dump Ben and I have ever had the pleasure to share. The memory still lingers as does, I suspect, the effervescent pungency. It came to us, like a gift from an angel sitting high on her porcelain throne, on Friday morning when we first arrived at our campsite and dear God it was fine. It ranks up there with some of the greatest moments Ben and I have ever shared together and while we will never talk about it, we will both remember it fondly until we pass from this life. What made it so utterly terrific was the mounting expectation — much like #6′s arrival — and our renewed fascination with indoor plumbing. Bend was the last place we had had the pleasure of entering a bathroom and it was over twenty-four hours and one hundred miles behind us, all but forgotten. To be fair, we had a chance to dig a hole the night before, but neither of us could have shat at the dispersed campsite — even at gunpoint — for the mosquitoes would have penetrated us in new and unimaginable ways. So we had held it and we had held it together and when the whites of our eyes turned pale and then brown we saw each other’s reflection in them and it drew us closer together. And like being awoken at four o’clock in the morning with a painful kick to embrace #6 in the glowing dawn, Ben and I ran, hunched over, to the public restrooms to bask in the glory of running water and paper products.
And lastly and most importantly, my third memory is being snuggled deep in a sleeping bag on the edge of Crater Lake overlooking the entire icy blue depths of the magnificence that is nature’s finest creation with #6 next to me.
DAMON: July 4th, Ben and I are still at Crater Lake. We’ve had two very relaxing days. My ankle, at least, is feeling excellent, I don’t have at all of a limp, very little pain, still feels a little weak, it’s not a hundred percent. But: all signs point to good things. Especially since we’ve, almost, one hundred percent committed ourselves to doing about sixty miles a day. Until the mood strikes us to, perhaps, break one hundred — which it might at some point. As it always does. And we’re going to leave around 12 or 1 o’clock, that’s when #6 is leaving, and we’re going to pack up and head out Union City way and find ourselves some place to camp on our way to the coast. Which shall be soon forthcoming and then we shall begin our regime — strict regime, mind you, of eating, biking a very short ways, laying on the beach, reading books, throwing the Frisbee, swimming in the water, playing cards, repeating. Indefinitely. Until, on or about, July 26th, when we have to pack everything up. Most excellent. Over and out.