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Posts Tagged With: Crater Lake National Park
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Crater Lake’s Garfield Peak
Garfield Peak was our destination today. There it is, looming in the distance behind the Crater Lake Lodge where we picked up the trailhead. The lodge sits at an elevation of 7,100 feet, that’s 1,000 feet above the surface of the lake and 1,000 feet below our goal.
As we unexpectedly huffed and puffed our way up, we finally had to accept that the altitude was getting the better of us. Refusing to admit defeat, we stopped for a short rest and devoured half of the lunch Reg packed. That seemed to do the trick as we reached the top without further incident.
After finishing what remained of our lunch, we headed back down the trail. The views were astounding!
One-two punch: Pleasing pie, roaring river
Rushing at 410,000 gallons a minute, the Rogue River roared for us today. Our visit to the Rogue Gorge above Medford followed by lunch next door at the rustic Beckie’s Restaurant. The meal was very good, but to be honest, it was just the opening act for Beckie’s legendary pie. We shared pieces of huckleberry and chocolate cream. The community of Union Creek is a popular stop on the way to Crater Lake National Park.
Crater Lake Detour
Our weather this past week has been positively springlike and today promised us more of the same…a perfect day for a Sunday drive. We climbed in the truck and Reg aimed uphill. Our sights (and appetites) were set on lunch at one of our favorite mountain area restaurants.
But then I said, “Let’s go to Crater Lake.” And so we did!
This was our first winter visit to Crater Lake National Park. Fortunately we didn’t need a cozy fireplace to warmup today since the lodge is closed for the season. Without snowshoes we had to settle for wandering along the plowed village road, peeking at the lake when we could.
Since we detoured from our original plan, lunch was a casual affair at the Village Cafe. While we ate we eavesdropped as a park ranger spouted statistics to a family of first time visitors:
Crater Lake is the deepest lake (1,949 feet) in the United States. Deeper than Empire State Building stacked on top of Seattle’s Space Needle.
Because of clouds, fog and bad weather, winter visitors have only a 50% chance of seeing the lake. (We felt lucky!)
No streams flow in or out of the lake. Water level remains constant due to precipitation, evaporation and seepage.
Today’s drive opened our eyes to just how close we live to this beautiful National Park. Winter, summer, spring or fall…this is a detour we’ll be sure to take again!
Pull up a chair and let a lake blow your mind
Mount Mazama could be planning a comeback.
Its eruption 7,700 years ago emptied the magma chamber below and the mountain collapsed, creating a caldera six miles across. Centuries later, it had filled, becoming Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the now-United States at 1,943 feet.
Mazama is still active and an eruption could fill Crater Lake with rock, displacing 4.9 trillion gallons of water, more than all of Oregon’s other lakes and reservoirs combined.
No rivers or streams feed the lake and there are no outlets other than seepage of a few billion gallons a year. The result is water so clear that it is a blue like you have never seen.
You must see it to believe it. One way is to drive the rim, about 33 miles, with many observation points. Or, you can leave the driving to a trolley pilot for $27 and hear a ranger narrate the journey. Many bicycle around the lake and some walk. There are plenty of hikes, some quite short and some strenuous, taking you to mountaintops or down to the lake surface. Beginning late June, there are guided boat trips around the lake as well.
Thanks to a light winter that allowed the road to open about two weeks early, we drove the rim road. The lookout views were spectacular, each providing a unique perspective of this amazing place.
But our favorite view was from rocking chairs on the deck behind the Crater Lake Lodge, where we sat for several hours, uttering “oohs” and “ahhs” as the colors and reflections changed by the minute. I swear, the chardonnay was not a factor.
Like I said, you have to see it to believe it.
When you do, you could stay at the lodge on the rim’s edge. It has 71 rooms and is open May through fall. You can book a year in advance; we got our booking in January. The restaurant is excellent and dinner reservations are advised. Breakfast and lunch are also served. The lobby is a comfy place to hang out and play board games.
There are also cabins, restaurant, store and campground at Mazama Village near the south entrance.
But hurry, because Mount Mazama may have other plans.
Reflecting on Crater Lake
No lolly gagging around for us this Sunday morning…we headed out bright and early, anxious to explore exciting new territory. Back in January Reg had made reservations for us to spend one night at the Crater Lake Lodge and tonight was the night.
As you can see, our day was perfect and it was made even better by the opening of the Rim Road Drive just a day or two ago…several weeks ahead of schedule. This meant we were able to drive the entire 32 mile loop around the lake.