A Day Outside of Crater Lake

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June 18th 2020
Published: June 20th 2020
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Colleen and Paul are staying at Fort Klamath. The campground at Crater Lake National Park, Mazama Campground, hasn't opened yet for the season. Unfortunately, that means the drive to see them (or their drive to see us) is a little over half an hour. Fortunately, they are staying at an adorable resort (Crater Lake Resort) with a lot of activities for families. It seemed like a great place to spend part of our day.

The kids enjoyed a quiet morning with their grandparents. They ate breakfast, played Exploding Kittens, and had a bit of screen time. Andrew and I did a little laundry, and then we decided to check out the canoes with the kids. The canoe holds three people, so I bowed out at the last minute. Colleen and I watched from the shore as Andrew and the kids paddled through Fort Creek. We also giggled, because at one point it appeared Joanna was paddling furiously, but she was paddling backwards. Somehow, Andrew kept the canoe expertly moving straight and forward. In this video clip, Joanna has figured out the paddle, and she is excited because she thinks she spotted gold in the creek.

After their canoe adventure, the kids played on the playground there a bit (they were the only kids at the playground). We cleaned up and then went for a little stroll. We'd seen a covered bridge at the back of the property. We walked there and crossed it. It led to a little trail that meandered along the creek and through some patches of wild strawberries and wild roses. The owners of the resort added a few wood carving statues. After about a quarter mile, it crossed back over the creek to the resort, but we had to navigate a floating bridge to get back across. It was fun and cute.

We enjoyed a little lunch together back at the camper, and then Andrew and I decided to take the kids to check out a trail we'd seen just outside Crater Lake National Park. I believe the trail is called Lodgepole Trail, although I can't find information for it online. We turned into a picnic area called "Lodgepole." At the picnic area is a trail head. I believe the signs said it was 3 miles to the Pacific Coast Trail and 6 miles to some water features. We weren't sure how far we'd go, but we set out wanting to explore. As soon as we got out of the car, we were mobbed by mosquitoes. We decided to proceed anyway, so I sprayed us all with mosquito repellent, and we set off. After a short distance, the trail pauses at the road, a state highway. We actually had to cross that to continue the trail. There is no pullout for cars on the other side, so, if you're coming by car, you have to start where we did, at Lodgepole.

Once again, the smell of the hike was incredible. Most of the snow was melted, and everything was turning a little green. It was beautiful, and our kids quickly fell into their hiking routines. They can be such good hikers. Somehow, Oliver kept getting pine needles in his shoe. Every time we stopped to get them out, we got bit by mosquitoes. We walked for only about half a mile when we had enough of the blood suckers. They seemed to be getting thicker in the air! So, we turned around and practically ran back. Some mosquitoes got in the car as we got in! It was crazy. I will forever remember Crater Lake National Park for all of our misadventures with hiking.

We drove back to the lodge to clean up. Joanna asked to play in the mounds of snow there, so they got on their snow gear. It was warm (in the 60s), but the snow was obviously cold and wet. So, we suggested the kids put on snow pants and boots, and then use gloves to play in the snow. They insisted they needed winter coats, too, because they wanted to make snow angels and slide in the snow. I'm sure we looked a little ridiculous as we marched out of the lodge in warm, sunny weather, covered head to toe in winter gear, but the kids had a great time! We built a snowman and snow dog.

We cleaned up again and set out on a drive back to Fort Klamath to have dinner with Paul and Colleen in their camper (plus more Exploding Kittens, of course). On the drive back, the light was just so that we could see the swarms of mosquitoes from the road all the way to the top of the pines. They were everywhere, in huge, dense swarms all on the stretch of Highway 62 leading into the park. We'd been in the area just yesterday, picnicking at Annie Falls, and it wasn't like this. I'm not sure what happened to cause so many mosquitoes today, but it's insane! Well, apart from those mosquitoes, it was a nice, enjoyable day. I'm glad we got to do a little more today and that the kids got to make some memories. Tomorrow, we're leaving Crater Lake National Park and heading into Lassen Volcanic National Park!

Additional photos below
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On the Trail from LodgepoleOn the Trail from Lodgepole
On the Trail from Lodgepole

Mosquitoes, mosquitoes, mosquitoes!

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