7/14/04 - 7/15/04
Crossing the border into Oregon is always a great feeling.  Mike has been long obsessed with actually seeing Crater Lake.  We tried about 4 years ago, in May, but the Park was still snowed in and closed after we made a treacherous 25 mile drive to the gates, on very icy roads in a two wheel drive pick-up truck.

This time, we pulled in about 10:30 pm, but darkness is better than icy roads any day of the week.  The mosquitos were still a plenty, and while setting camp a bear started banging around two camp sites over.  Luckily, he didn't have any interest in us.  Suffice to say, we set camp quickly, got in the tent, played some UNO, typed a journal entry or two, and fell asleep.

We rose early the next day, due to a sweltering tent, but it was better all the same to get in exploration of the lake, a hike, and to get to Portland by that evening.  The lake was not a dissapointment.  It is circled by a road which offers views from every vantage point, and takes about 2 hours to drive the entire loop.  We only drove about a quarter of the road, and then hiked another quarter around the caldera.  Crater Lake is what is left of Mt. Mazama, which erupted about 5,000 years ago (well, maybe 7,000 years).  Either way, a long time ago.  The eruption blew about 4,000 feet off the top of the mountain (it's now about 8,000 feet at the rim, whereas it was about 12,000 prior to the volcanic eruption).  The crater that was left behind subsequently filled with rain and snow melt to form one of the deepest and clearest lakes in the world (if we recall correctly, it is the deepest one in the U.S.).  It maintains its water level by the rain and snow it receives every year, some of which evaporates, and some of which seeps through what is left of the mountain top.  There was very little plant life and no animal life in the lake until the forest service introduced some fish in the 1920s or so, most of which have died off, but some of which still survive. As for the water in the lake, it is the most magnificent blue we have ever seen.  It almost has that tropical "see through" look close to the shores, but even in the middle, you can see hundreds of feet down to clear views of the differing depths of the lake floor.  Just off to the western side  of the lake is Wizard Island, which can be acccessed by the only boat allowed on the lake, but unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) not camped on.  We got some great shots from Garfield Peak, which we hiked up to (well just short, due to maintenance).  On our hike, we saw two magnificent bald eagles flying around - beautiful creatures.  Crater Lake is truly a unique and awe inspiring sight, and should be on your destination list. 

Not only is Crater Lake magnificent, but the drive to and from the park in both directions is beautiful.  We made several pit stops traveling northwest to Portland,  but the best one was at Tokete Falls.  As you will likely agree if you have seen the pictures, this water fall was well worth the short hike in to the view point.
To View Photos for Crater Lake:
To Continue To Read US Travel Logs & View Photos
US Itinerary
World Itinerary
Neroussi's Art
Mike and Ruthie's Photo Albums
Crater Lake National Park
To View Photos for Tokete Falls:
Tokete Falls
To View Other Travel Logs And Photos