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Published: August 30th 2011
Jumping into and Riding the Rogue
While I was working like a dog in the RV, Grace and Ivy were out wine tasting and finding watering holes. Ivy took some good pictures of people jumping off Rocky Point into the chilly Rogue River. She kept clicking through the pictures and thought that it looked like a lot of fun to jump off a rock and make a big splash. Ivy surprised me when she asked to go there so she could jump off Rocky point. She asked if I would join her and I told her any good Uncle would be glad to do it.
We showed up the next day and she asked me to jump first. I jumped in with a good yell and then jumped out just as fast since the water was around 60F. Ivy jumped in next and Grace took some cool pix of our quick decent. Then Ivy and I jumped together for the best pic of the day.
That night, we went about 30 miles down river on jetboats from Grants Pass, OR to Hell Gate. Hell Gate is a steep gorge where they filmed Rooster Cogburn with John Wayne and
Catherine Hepburn. The jet boats are sweet, fast and incredibly maneuverable. The pilot can get the boat going from 0 to 30mph in probably 10 seconds which isn't that amazingly fast until you consider that 50 people are on the boat with you. The pilots guided us over small rapids and hydroplanes the boat with ease - I hear they have the same boats in Chicago.
The fun part comes when they want to do some tricks. They do "bow dunks" where the front of the boat dips real fast into the water and the whole boat comes to a screeching halt with water flying everywhere. I don't know how they do it.
The more interesting maneuver is full-speed 360. All 50 of us are cruising along at 30mph and they turn the steering wheel and do a bow dunk at the same time and cause the boat to do a rather smooth 360. Way cool. Sometimes you get doused with water and sometimes you don't, but it's an amazing ride with a boat load of people.
They fed us dinner at a sweet outdoor cafeteria and the whole trip down and up the river took about
4 hours for $60. They had 6 boats that night and each boat brought in about $3,000 = 50 people X $60/person. They did a good business and treated us well. I'd do it again in a second while they're laughing all the way to the bank.
Hiking Above Crater Lake
The next night, we took a side-trip to Crater Lake National Park. Ivy and Grace were asking me when does a park become a National Park and when does it become a state or local park. I said that the US government makes national parks when the place is a national treasure - places that are unbelievably unique and beautiful. Well, Crater Lake has these qualities in spades.
If you don't know the geology of Crater Lake, the original mountain was a Mt. Fuji-like volcano that collapsed in on itself to form a 5 mile wide crater that quickly filled up with water in rainy Oregon. The rim of the volcano averages about 1,000' above the lake, so looking down into the lake gives a unique perspective that turns the lake into the deepest blue that I've ever seen.
Lake Tahoe is comparable in water
clarity to Crater Lake, but Lake Tahoe pales in color to this jewel. They say the bright blue of Crater Lake is because you view it from such a high angle that only the deepest blue colors are reflected from the lake. There is something special about looking at the whole lake at once and having Wizard island climb out of it. I highly recommend Crater Lake as one of most beautiful places on earth. Check out the pictures for proof.
One unique aspect of the lake is that you can see the whole lake from vantage points all around the perimeter and there isn't a stream that flows out of it. The water that falls in the crater stays in the crater. The lake is trapped and it only leaves through evaporation or slow leaks through the rocks.
We showed up at Rim village - the main resort - at about 4:00 and the sun turned the lake into a dark blue sapphire that it is famous for. The moutnains fall right into the lake and we started hiking along the rim to Garfield Peak. After about an hour, we ran into snow fields and I pulled
out my gloves and started snowball target practice on Grace and my little niece Ivy. Grace ran ahead and avoided the snowballs, but little Ivy was stuck below me and I pummeled her relentlessly - not really, but it makes a good story.
We continued hiking and I finally caught up to Grace because the trail was blocked by a big snowfield. I hit her with a few snowballs for hiking ahead alone - it's dangerous I told her. She finally cried uncle and I showed pity on her and wiped away her tears. I put my snowballs down and we enjoyed some of my brother Eric's 40th birthday cake - an awesome 4 layer German Chocolate cake that Carina had made.
It was the second week of August, but the trail had only been open for a few weeks. They had 800% of average snowfall this year and there was still snowpiles at the lake's edge that might last until the new snows came. We were ready to head down and Grace decided to be a pick pocket. She stole my gloves from me! I don't know where she learned this kind of behavior but she
gave one glove to Ivy and then we had a big snowball war of two against one.
Finally a fair fight. I scraped into the icy-snow until my fingers were birght red from the cold and blood was coming out of my fingernails (again, not really but I thought it sounds dramatic). We had a great fight and lots of laughs.
We hiked down to the lodge and were again lucky and got to see the moon rise as the sun set. We drove to the west edge of the crater where we could see the moon rise over the lake while the sun set over the valley below. We took many more pictures and Ivy took a great one of me pinching the moon. It's great to get some perspective.
Hope all is well,
PS. Be sure to check out several pages of pix by clicking on PHOTOS.
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