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.
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.