Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Crater Lake Epic: Part 1

Crater Lake National Park has been on our places to go for quite awhile. So we were excited to finally go. Our plan was to camp in the park for two nights and we chose to go after Labor Day to make sure it wasn’t too busy. We got to the park in good time and our anticipation of seeing the lake grew as we drove up the mountain. When you first see it, the striking blue color is a bit breathtaking. It is a very beautiful lake.

Crater lake was formed when Mt. Mazama erupted so many times that the mountain literally collapsed in on itself leaving a giant caldera with a very even edge around it. There is no water that flows into the lake and there is no outlet. All the water comes from precipitation and snow melt and is balanced by evaporation. This makes the water very clear (you can see more than 100 ft. down in most places). Crater Lake is also one of the world’s deepest lakes at 1,949 feet deep.


We headed to the campground to get a spot and found that it was pretty empty, despite being totally full over the weekend. So we were happy about that.

There are two island in the lake. The big one is Wizard Island, an active volcano that rose up from the crater floor. We saw the second island later.


After lunch, we walked around the Rim Village where the lodge and visitor center are.


Every time Magnus would see the lake he would get very talkative and keep pointing at it and other things. He seemed to really enjoy it.

IMG_8276IMG_8290Crater Lake 2

More pretty colors:


We drove the rim drive that takes you all the way around the lake with lots of viewpoints to stop at.




One stop looked out on an odd formation called the Pumice Castle. The cliff it was on had a lot of pretty layers in it.


Here is the second island: Phantom Ship.


There are a few waterfalls in the park. This one is right off the road and called Vidae Falls:


Our first day was great. We ended with a nice evening by the fire. Magnus thought the fire was hot and wouldn’t go near it by himself, so that was good. The day’s temperature had been in the 70’s but at night is was in the mid-30’s. Good thing we brought lots of blankets.


Also, I caught a bug that is very rare, a giant lacewing. It may not sound exciting but it is rare enough that little is known about it and most entomologist go their whole careers without seeing a live one. The best part is this is the second one I have found (the other was found on a camping trip near Grand Canyon).

The Crater Lake Epic: Part 2

After a nice cold sleep we woke up to this little guy wandering around our campsite. He seemed to like to get into the bear box and in our food (especially the marshmallows).


Heading back out, we stop to gaze at the lake some more:


Then we went to The Pinnacles. They were pretty cool looking.


We also went on a hike that was just opened last summer to a small waterfall called Plaikni Falls. The hike was very nice and the waterfall was very pretty. There were a lot of flowers and bugs out. And Magnus liked dipping his toes in the water.


Crater Lake again:


Our next stop was outside of the park to see Toketee Falls. The hike had a lot of stairs to go up and down, but the end was worth it:


Back in the park, I hiked up The Watchman, a high point on the caldera rim. It yielded great views of the lake and Wizard Island. Ruth and Magnus waited at the bottom.


When I was at the top we could see each other


This is the panorama from the top.

Crater Lake 3

An added bonus was finally spotting The Old Man of the Lake, a tree that has been floating around up right in the water since at least 1896. He travels around the whole lake and is very hard to see from the rim (I'd been looking for him at each stop). You can take boat tours of the lake that takes you close to the two islands and usually The Old Man as well. He was just to the left of Wizard Island when I saw him (the little white dot in the water).


That was our last stop before heading back to camp. That night we bundled up even more and had a better sleep…

The Crater Lake Epic: Part 3 (the part not at Crater Lake)


We made it through our second night with more blankets and were much warmer.  Magnus seemed to have the best sleep out of all of us. We packed up camp and were on our way again. We headed west to the ocean and a place called Face Rock in Bandon, OR. There were a lot of odd rock formations and sea stacks. And the weather was a bit overcast, but not rainy.



This rock is called Wizard Hat. Ruth saw a picture of it on Pinterest that made her want to see, so we went.


Magnus enjoyed walking along the water:


Cathedral Rock had several tunnels running through it. If not for the tide it would have been fun to explore it more.


Another odd rock and us in a rock tunnel:


It was fun to run around on the beach.


Here is Face Rock. Can you see the face?


The Cat and Kittens and some others:


We stopped at a Myrtlewood Shop in Coos Bay. It is a unique tree that only grows along the southern Oregon coast and near Israel. It makes very beautiful wood with lots of rings in it. The shop had lots of cool carvings to see.

The other thing that section of the coast is know for is the Oregon Dunes. We decided to stop and play on them for awhile. Can you see Dana on top of the Dune?


Magnus loved the sand:



I even found this little caterpillar that lived on the dunes and dug into the sandIMG_8998





Our last stop was at Darlingtonia Botanical Wayside, just north of Florence. It is a bog in which the carnivorous Cobra Lilies (pitcher plants) can be found. It was pretty cool to see so many in one place and in the wild.


And thank you to Grandpa Ivan for letting us stay with him in Salem, and making us delicious pancakes.