Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Crater Lake

Crater Lake.  First, because of comments to follow, it might be of interest to define the word crater.  A circular depression around the vent of a volcano. Craters form the summit of most volcanoes. They occur where lava overflows and hardens or where the walls collapse as the magma sinks down the vent after an eruption.  Fairly easy to understand.  You have a mountain, a volcano, and then a crater.  So off we go on our adventure to Crater Lake.  Me, Heather, Steph, Jaxon, and Sager.  Here, Sager is saying, "I'll have another drink of your coke, Aunt Heather."  Our first stop, after driving some 3 hours South of Portland, was at the Subway in the lovely town of 

IMG_0731Chemult, Or.  I know, you have heard of it.  It is beautiful country on the Eastern flank of the Cascades.  From Chemult it is another 40 minutes to Crater Lake.  Here is our first view of the Lake.IMG_0734 You might ask, is it really that blue?  All I can say is my camera did not do it justice.  On the drive down one of the girls asked a very interesting question about how the lake was formed.  I love it when my children show interest in scientific information.  The question was, "Dad, so how did the lake get formed in the first place?  Did a crater fall from the sky and make it?"  My joy at my children showing interest in earth science suddenly turned to despair.  Please note the above definition of crater to understand why.  So, after more than four hours of driving, did I mention we had Sage and Jaxon along for the ride, we finally arrived.  We were excited to dip our feet in the cool waters and let the kids work out some frustration splashing about in the pristine blue of Crater Lake.  Oops!  You say Crater Lake is several hundred to more than a thousand feet below the rim and that the only access to the Lake itself is a rather steep trail of some length.  HELLO!  There should be a sign when you leave Portland, "If you are thinking about driving South to Crater Lake, don't even think about camping by the lake, or even getting to it, as far as that goes."  There were only a few people there to begin with and we could have weeded most of them out had they known this bit of information.

IMG_0744 So, there is the Lake, and this is as close as we ever get to it.  Not to be discouraged, we set off for our camp site a few miles from the Lake.  Yes, it was the closest camp site to the Lake.  Don't think I can't hear you laughing.  The first order of business was the setting up of the tents.  I got mine up by myself rather quickly and then settled in for the fun.

IMG_0745 Here the girls are working on their tenth configuration of poles to put their tent up.  It was all very amusing since they are both supposed to be super campers and I am a few days away from my 65th birthday.

IMG_0747 Here they are shoving in their king size air mattress.  It is wider than the tent and about two foot thick.  Once again, think amusing.  But in the end it all worked our just perfect.

IMG_0749 "All's well, that ends well"  I believe that was one of William's.  We decided not to waste the afternoon and set off at once on our first hike.  It was a two mile loop down, alone Annie's creek, and then back up again.  Super, super, beautiful.

IMG_0751 Here we are as we arrive at the creek after a steep hike down from our camp site.  The kids played in the water here.  At the top of the hill was a sign stating the trail was closed at the creek because of a wash out.  When we came to the fence just East of here, we realized we would have to miss almost all of the hike.  Be some miracle, the nylon fencing moved out of the way just long enough for us to pass and then put itself back together again.  We took it as a sign that we were meant to pass through and on to the rest of the trail.  Truly a miracle.  We were glad we did.

IMG_0764 IMG_0757 IMG_0752 In the middle picture you can see the girls with their loads on their backs, going up the trail.  It was simply beautiful, and these pictures don't even begin to capture the beauty.  We were alone during the entire walk along the bottom next to the creek.  We got back to camp just in time to start a fire and settle into the camping ritual of camp fires, dinner, and s'mores. 


IMG_0781 Everybody pulled a chair up around the fire and it was time for the roasting of the marshmallows.  How good was it?  Just take a look.

IMG_0782 Simply perfect!

After a good night's sleep, it was up early, clear the camp, and off to our next hike and more spectacular views of the lake.  Here the girls are putting away their tent.  Heather is becoming angry because Steph won't hold the tent bag open wide enough for her to put the tent in.

IMG_0783 If Jaxon looks a little perplexed here, he is.  He is thinking, "How did I get mixed up with these loonies?"  The girls got very tired packing the kids on their backs yesterday so a new method of transport was devised.  It may look a little cruel, but if it works, it works.

IMG_0790 The trail to the highest point in the park is five miles round trip and gains 1100 feet in elevation.  The plan was to have Jaxon pack Sage up the mountain.  I figured that would make it about even with me.  Look how happy he is, who could deny him?  First we stopped at the phantom ship overlook.  Notice the beauty of the reflection in the water.

IMG_0791 The phantom ship can been seen in the upper center of the photo.  What struck me as beautiful about this was how you could see reflections within reflections.  The phantom ship is actually the rim of a cone of a volcano that precedes the volcano which formed Crater Lake.  When the magma collapsed in on itself to form the lake, it exposed this earlier rim.  Amazing.

IMG_0794 On to Mt. Scott.  When I looked up and saw the fire lookout that was our destination, I knew I would not be making it.  WOW! are you kidding me?

IMG_0812 That's it, right in the middle at the top.  The girls strapped the kids to their backs and off they went.  I followed at a much more sane rate.  I loved the hike.  Many people passed by, both up and down.  I just kept trudging along.  I made it almost two miles up.  The girls made the top.  I saw many beautiful sites during the hike.

IMG_0814 I will never cease to be amazed by the beauty of the tiny in nature.  I will, till the day I die, "Always Wonder".

IMG_0809 We were blessed with a profusion of Monarch butterflies.  They migrate here from Mexico, and there were thousands of them everywhere.  This one had been sitting still waiting for me to snap a picture and then, at the last moment, began to fly off.  Cool picture.

IMG_0804 By the time I got back down I still felt pretty good.  Little did I know, I wouldn't be able to walk for the next few days.  Here are the girls, triumphantly descending from the peak.

IMG_0819 We had one last stop to make before beginning our drive home.  A lunch stop at another lake overlook.  Is the lake that blue?  Yes, and much more so.

IMG_0823 This was a great trip and, as with most trips I undertake, there was definitely a best part about it.  There were many really good parts, and I loved it all, but only one best.  I made a new friend.

IMG_0825 Thanks Sage, and thank you Heather, Steph, and Jaxon.  It was great.

Monday, August 25, 2008

That Didn't Last Long!

I find I have to be in just the right mood to blog, and for whatever reason, that mood has not descended on me for some time now. I promise a Crater Lake blog in the next few days.