Dunsmuir is known as a historic rail town. It’s the northern entrance to the pass through the Siskiyou Mountains as trains travel south.
Our PCT hike was derailed here. Fortunately, everything worked out.
We were picked up at the trailhead by “Kellyfish”. She runs a hiker hostel and it sounded like it would work for us. She drove us down to a local market to pick up our resupply box. Then we drove to the hostel.
It was a small house with a few outbuildings. It was also available as an Air B&B location. We were offered a double bed – outside under a canopy. It seemed nice because it was so hot out anyway. She said it would be very comfortable since it was in shadow most of the time. There were all kinds of resources for hikers. Breakfast was included but you had to make it yourself. There was an outdoor shower that was quite nice. We had to pay to use the washer and dryer.
Internet was available so we checked the weather forecast. It wasn’t encouraging for the next ten days. They were forecasting temperatures of 105 for the next week and a half. We were faced with a difficult decision.
To contemplate our choices, we walked to the recommended Railroad Park restaurant. The lounge and dining room are in a very nice restored train car. Over a beer, a glass of wine and dinner of prime rib, we decided to get to Crater Lake to continue our journey. This was a hard choice but considering the fire closure between Seiad Valley and Ashland, and the temperature, and the smoke, we thought it best to jump to where the temperatures were more reasonable. Now, how to do it.
The next day, we arranged to get a ride to Weed CA from Jeff who helped out at the hostel. He dropped us at the Greyhound station. It was located in a Mexican restaurant. We enjoyed a nice lunch there. The Greyhound left northbound at 2:10 pm. We arrived in Medford OR around 3:30. Then we transferred to a regional bus that was like an airporter-type bus. We then went back southbound to Ashland where Greyhound doesn’t stop. Then we returned north to the Medford airport and a comfort break where we had delicious frozen smoothies. Finally, we headed to Klamath Falls, our days final destination, arriving at 7;00 pm. We caught a cab to the Best Western and checked in. We hadn’t got dinner yet so we walked to the Elmer’s down the road. They didn’t have very good choices so we headed for another Mexican restaurant nearby. It was completely closed up but next door was Nibbley’s Cafe. People were still waiting to get in at 8:00. We joined the wait, and we’re certainly glad we did. Margaritas, steak sandwiches, and German chocolate cake with ice cream were all really yummy! It was nice to sleep in a real bed one more time before hitting the trail again. And to be clean! After the included breakfast, we got a lift back to the transit station at 8:30 am. At 9:00, we climbed aboard a nice 9-person van with our backpacks and headed to Crater Lake.
Halfway there, we transferred from the van to a Crater Lake Trolley. It was designed to be like an old time trolley with wooden seats and large windows. The trolley is used to get sightseers up to the rim above Crater Lake, and for a scenic guided tour on the road that encircles the rim above the lake. We were using it to get to the Rim Trail which is a PCT alternate because of fire damage to the PCT in Crater Lake Park. There were also active fires in Crater Lake Park but they did not disrupt park operations, and the smoke did not detract from seeing the lake very much.
Crater Lake is an impressive sight. The Rim Trail provided some really great views as we hiked along. After 9 miles we camped near the intersection with the PCT. From here we were back on track for our journey.