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Published: July 18th 2017
The sisters get to Crater Lake
Today was a first for us. On our two previous trips we never stayed at a hotel for 2 nights, but Bend was centrally located and it worked for us. It felt great to get up and not to have to pack up and take the suitcases with us. Last night’s hotel night was my Chase Marriott credit card free night and tonight’s is points. Yes, we like the free nights.
We got up and ate breakfast then packed our day packs and hit the road early. We tried to stop at the lava cave on the way out but it wasn’t opened yet, so we headed on to Crater Lake. I was back seat so that I could finish up the pictures to the blog and get it posted. Then my job was to work on hotels for the next several nights. Oh no. We can’t use points tomorrow night. The only hotel in the area that I have points for, a Holiday Inn Express, was sold out. We discussed and decided to book a Best Western where we will have to pay. Oh well, we knew it wouldn’t last forever. Then I had to make
the reservations for the next several nights. Yes, we ended up changing several cities around, but I was able to finally book hotels for the next 4 nights. Tomorrow I’ll work on Saturday’s since everything is filling up fast. I knew it would be tight as we got closer to Yellowstone but this tight outside the park… nope.. On the way to Crater Lake we went thru the High Desert. There were pine trees and wild grasses but everything was shorter because of the lack of water. I didn’t see it much though because I had to work on the computer. Oh well.
Right about the time I finished, we got to Crater lake National Park. Susan bought a year pass that is good for everyone in the vehicle with her. We will use it on several other parks on this trip.
We get into Crater Lake and start to see beautiful views, but the thing that surprised us the most was the snow beside the road. It’s in the 60s but there is snow. Our first stop was right as we joined the road around the crater. There was a viewing area that we climbed thru the
snow to enter (and yes at that time I had sandals on). Oh my, the lake was beautiful. More beautiful than Lake Tahoe which I know many of you have seen. The steep sides of the caldera dove right into the water, and the water was amazing shades of blue (close to the shore it was almost as blue as the water at clear lake yesterday). We could see the entire caldera along with the new cone forming in the lake. Did you know that Crater Lake is what is left over from Mt Mazama which only blew it’s top 7700 years ago? I didn’t know it was so young. Also it is the deepest lake in the US.
We left the first stop and headed around the lake stopping at each cut out to get pictures from different views. The snow got thicker at times and so I put my shoes on. We saw the range of colors in the lake along with cliffs, rock faces, trees, mold growing on the trees and tons of chipmunks. I think they like playing chicken with the car.
We continued on around the lake until the Road Closed sign. What!!!.
Oh, no. Oh well. We headed back and started around the other way. After a few miles in the opposite direction we encounter “road construction”. Dirt roads, tons of dust… Huh. Maybe it was a landslide, but it kept going and going. At times it was one lane, with a stop-sign person out there breathing all that dust in. Then there were the people in convertibles who didn’t put the top up and got dusted. – Not my problem… we were glad to be in the van with recirculate on for the air. Finally we made it thru the mess and hit pavement again and made it over to the gift shop and restaurant. Parking was another mess but Pam finally scored a slot. We took a break (I wouldn’t say it was quick with all the crowds) and decided we would just eat on the road when we found a good overlook to stop at. About a mile or so (backtracking) we found a nice overlook with a wall and made our lunch. Susan sat on the wall facing the water (it was on the side of a large drop off). Pam and I faced out while we ate.
After eating lunch, I got my cherries (fresh Washington rainier cherries) and some of our dark chocolate kisses to eat together. Oh the first one was heaven but the chocolate needed to be a little softer so I laid the kisses on the warm rocks to help soften them. So now I’m eating cherries and looking out over the water and also watching the chipmunks scampering on the cliff. Next thing I know I look down and there was a chipmunk, right beside me. He grabbed one of the kisses and took off. Yes, it was still wrapped in foil. He scampered down the wall and was just nibbling on the package when more chipmunks wanted what he had and chased him. Then a bird tried to get him but he just kept at it. He would run and nibble, run and nibble. I got what I say is the best picture I’ve ever taken. – Chip eating the kiss he stole from me…
After Lunch we headed back out of the park and then on to Newberry Crater National Volcanic Monument Park. When we arrived, the first place we headed was the caldera. This park is similar to
Crater Lake in that there is a lake in the caldera, but in this case there are 2 lakes. You can see the new cone in the middle between the 2 lakes (if you get to altitude). This is the Cascades largest volcano. We couldn’t see much from ground level because we were driving in the bottom portion near the lakes, not the rim like at Crater Lake. So what do we do but head to the peak – Paulina Peak. It is 7984 feet high. We started up, it turned to gravel, it then became steep, it became a narrow one lane road with some turnouts, and then became really narrow and steeper. It kept going up. There were no guard rails and the drop was straight down, like the top of some trees were at road level, remember these were narrow roads. Susan was hugging the mountain to the left and at times, I’d look out the window and barely see any road. That didn’t deter us, scared us yes, deter us, well, what were we supposed to do, turn around?? On to the top we went. Now, the views from the top were fantastic.
see the large caldera walls, we could see the cone between the 2 lakes, the lava field and the multitude of small volcanoes that made up part of the Newberry Crater Park. In the distance, we could see all the Mountains from yesterday…..the entire volcanic spine of Oregon. After viewing the area, we decided we had to travel back this crazy road. Going down seemed less scary than going up.
Our next stop was back to one of the lakes, then the Pauline waterfall. So there were twin lakes and twin waterfalls. The hike in was easy and so was the hike out. We then headed back into at Bend to dinner. After dinner we made a Walmart run and came back to prepare for tomorrow.
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