Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park & Wizard Island
What's better than a vacation to a national park? A vacation to TWO national parks! Brenda and Sophia, my travel companions, had never been to Oregon and wanted to at least step foot on Oregon soil. The Oregon-California border was not far from Crescent City; a closer look at the map revealed that we could make a day trip to Crater Lake National Park. How could we not go? As Sophia said, "We're taking a vacation from our vacation!"

Getting there required going through some white-knuckle-inducing but gorgeous mountain passes. The guardrails were there only to give you an illusion of safety. The scenic drive offered glimpses of the Rogue River, and I admit I fell a little more in love with Oregon. (I visited Portland and the Oregon coast in spring 2013 -- see this post.)

Steel Visitor Center
Crater Lake's main attraction is, well, the lake. It's not just any lake, but the bluest lake you'll ever see. It really is as blue as it looks in these photos -- no Photoshop. There were seven active wildfires around the park when we visited July 18, and my photos are a little hazy in places.  

Red Cone (I think!) The haze is from wildfires. 

Another perspective of Wizard Island. Note the snow on the right bank --in July! Crater Lake averages 533 inches of snow per year.  
All the overlooks are scenic. Note the pollen accumulation at the lower right shoreline of the lake.

Phantom Ship -- a natural rock formation.
We opted to take the Crater Lake Trolley for the 33-mile loop around the lake. While the $25 fee is reasonable, especially if you don't want to drive, keep in mind you won't have any say over which stops you'll make. Also, if you're a single traveler, you may end up being asked to move from your window seat for someone who was late, even if you showed up for the tour on time. (Can you tell they won't get a 5-star TripAdvisor review from me?)

It was an amazing national park, and I'm really glad we made the trek there. I'd gladly go again and take one of the hikes down to the lake. There's another item to add to the bucket list! 

Vidae Falls
Just me, blocking the view of the lake! 

One last look at Crater Lake. 

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