First part of the morning was beautiful. We were able to see a clear blue sky for the first time in days. Mazama Village in Crater Lake national park was great for a relaxing breakfast with probably the best omelet on trail so far.
Afterwards we pick up our resupply boxes - my Castella box that got bounced here - at the store and start repackaging.
A few miles into the rim trail - which we will follow instead of the pct - is Rim Village Cafe. The climb to get there is horrible. The blue sky, gone. We're once again hiking in thick smoke while climbing up to the rim. When we get to the top, the lake is not even visible. Only gray smoke. We decide to not hike too much further today hoping for a nice view of Crater Lake in the morning before leaving the rim trail behind us. So we rest above the gift shop through the afternoon, hiking back out around five.
Crater Lake is formed by a series of volcanic eruptions, the last one about 6840 years ago was so violent - as powerful as 42 eruptions of St. Helens in 1980 - it depleted most of the magma chamber underneath the volcano. This led to its implosion, leaving behind Crater Lake, the 9th deepest lake worldwide.
By the time we hiked out again, the smoke started clearing. When we got to the watchtower around seven, we had a magnificent view over the lake. We had dinner there as well and would have loved to camp there, on the watchtower but too many tourists and possible park rangers made us decide to hike on just a little more.
We set up camp about 6.5 miles into the rim trail. Unsure if we are allowed to camp here but it's a nice spot and already past 20h. We'll be gone by 5h30 anyway. In the distance we see for the first time the red glow of raging forest fires behind the mountains. This, combined with clouds, smoke and the sun setting made for some rare and stunning views. So far Oregon has been pretty tame but today was definitely a good day.