Friday, June 13, 2014

Overnight to Crater Lake

Originally, I'd thought about taking an overnight away from the farm to go visit Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood.  However, after consulting with my friendly weather source, I reconsidered.  They were predicting rain/snow mix for both Thursday and Friday in that area.  As an alternative, I pulled the weather for Crater Lake NP - lo and behold, it was showing partly sunny weather for both days.  Change of plans!

Crater Lake NP was a 4-1/2 hour drive, each way.  I left Portland at 2:00 pm yesterday afternoon, and rolled into the park about 6:30 pm.  I was still well ahead of sunset - that seems to happen pretty close to 10:00 pm in these parts.

Tunnel on SR 58.


The initial "whoa" moment once the lake came into view.

There wasn't much tourist traffic, I assume, due to the time I came into the park.  It felt like I had the place mostly to myself.  I had read where the entire expanse of the park road around the lake was not fully open yet due to snow still on the road.  I chose to drive what I could find access to.

I also got out and hiked where I could, but there was a LOT of snow still on the ground in most places, particularly in lower areas.  There were many times that I got out to hike, and lost the path under the snow.  I chose not to continue with those trails as to not get lost.  However, on a few occasions, I could see where the trail resumed on the other side of a patch of snow - but not always.

Phantom Ship

A look at what I do... sometimes.  :)

This, on the good camera and not the cell, looks freaking fantastic!

I drove and hiked until the southern part of the park road ended - near the Sun Notch trailhead.  I learned later this morning that it was closed to the north at the Cleetwood Cove Trail trailhead.  The western 1/2 or so of the lake road was open.

I drove/hiked/photographed as much as I could while the daylight allowed, and once I was lacking, I parked the jeep at the Crater Lake Lodge to sleep.

I woke up to 2 fresh inches of... THIS.  Kinda reminds me of home...

And the view driving to the northern end of the park this morning:

I hung around the park for a few hours after I got up, hoping that maybe there would be a break in the weather... but there was not.  So I decided to meander my way back to Portland - not rushing, but instead, taking my time to see the sights that I zipped by on the way out.

The weather was pretty stereotypical 'Pacific Northwest' weather almost all the way back to the interstate, so I didn't get out much.  But, I did decide to stop in and visit Eugene... in Eugene.  :D

From there, I stopped in Salem for lunch and new wiper blades for the jeep - my previous ones proved to be about toast in all the rainy and snowy weather.  And then from Salem, it was a straight shot back to "Home, Sweet RV."

I've decided, and confirmed with my farm hosts, that the Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood can be done in afternoons... if I truly wanted to do it that way.  I think I will.  Potentially as early as Monday, I'll head out that way to do some exploration.