A month ago Angel and I took our first trip to Crater Lake. I haven’t had time to post anything about the trip or the photos until now. It started out as a nice simple trip to Crater Lake, stopping off in Oak Ridge along the way. Spending a nice time climbing Garfield Peak. Then ended the day with missing our one way home and having a super long adventure. Here is a good write up Angel wrote.
Writen by Angel,
On Austin’s day off, we decided to go on an adventure, and visit Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the United States, and one of the deepest in the world. Crater Lake was formed when Mount Mazama (a volcano) erupted and collapsed in on itself, forming a caldera, that over time filled up with water from rain and snow, and is now a national park. Crater Lake is sacred to the Klamath Native American tribe. No rivers flow into the lake, and none flow out, which is a major reason for the pureness of the water in Crater Lake. The eruption that formed Crater lake took place over 7,000 years ago, however there is still thermal activity present on the lake’s floor. There is a 1 in 300 chance of another eruption at Crater Lake occurring sometimes during the next 30 years. Interesting, the lake contains a couple of volcanic cinder cones, the most visible being Wizard Island. Boat tours to Wizard Island are available in the summer months (although Austin and I didn’t partake this time!).
We hiked Garfield Peak, which was 3 miles roundtrip, with a gain in elevation of over 8,000 feet! We stopped to rest a couple times, my favorite being when we found a rough rock bench in the shade of an evergreen tree, where I ate half of the sandwich I brought. I kept thinking we had made it to the top, but the trail went on forever. Despite the heat (I think it was 90 degrees the day we visited), there are still huge patches of snow present all over Crater Lake, that are shaded from the sun most of the day. I made a snowball and threw it into a puddle of melted snow. Eventually we made it to the top, and the view was gorgeous. We made our way back down, which was quicker than the way up.
Because cell phone service is spotty away from the cities, both of our cells phones suffered. Mine died while we were hiking because I didn’t think to turn it off, and Austin’s was nearly dead. We headed home around 7 o’clock. We got to see a gorgeous sunset over the hills, the whole sky was pink for a little while. We were going to stop for some gasoline, but were excited when we saw that we could just make it into town with what we had in the tank. Gas is pricier the farther away from the main cities you get ($4/ gallon near the lake, compared to $3.50/ gallon in Eugene). When we reached the tunnel at the halfway point, we found it closed for the night (at 8, and we got there at 8:30), to reopen at 6am because of construction. I wasn’t that worried, mostly because I am ignorant of directions, and because we have a GPS for instances like this, to direct us to alternative routes home. Unfortunately, this tunnel is the only way to get back to Eugene, without driving back the way we had come, towards Crater Lake, or to Bend (which was over an hour away, and then nearly 3 away from Eugene). So, when we were an hour and a half away from home, we had to consider our options. We tried to decide whether it would make more sense money-wise to try to get a room at an inn for the night, than having to buy another full tank of gas to get us to Bend and home. Because Austin had to work in the morning (not to mention all the hotels we passed were full), we attempted to track down a gas station, which isn’t easy when you’re driving through national forests. My car has a small gas tank. It can hold 10 gallons or so, and I fill it up when it hits 300 miles. We were on 270, and desperately trying to find a close gas station in the GPS. The closest were 30 miles away, and with dead cell phones we couldn’t look up the phone numbers in order to call to make sure they were open. We finally got the GPS to find a Shell that was 15 miles away, and we drove there, hoping that the un updated GPS wasn’t taking us to an old station that no longer existed, and hoping that this one would be open, if it existed. This was probably the scariest part of the adventure. If we had made it there and it had been closed, we would’ve had to sleep in the car until they opened in the morning, because we didn’t have enough gas to make it to any other stations. In a stroke of luck, they were open, and we filled up the tank and asked if there were any other way of getting home without going through the tunnel. The gas station attendant told us our options were to head for Bend, or to go down to the very southern tip of Oregon, near Medford, and to come up that way. We chose Bend, because we’ve driven through it before.
Forest roads at night are terrifying. We saw deer a few times, grazing at the edges of the forest near the road. The roads are unlit, so we drove with our brights on the whole way. Austin drove us to Bend, and we stopped at a Shari’s 24 hour diner. Austin and I had eaten all of our sandwiches on our hike, and were getting very hungry, especially knowing we wouldn’t be home for another few hours. I got hash browns (vegan eating on the road is very limited), and he had a bunch of breakfast food (he swapped the meat in a combo breakfast for pancakes). I took over driving home from Bend, and managed to get us home safely. For the first hour I was so nervous, there are deer signs everywhere, and elk signs as well. I’ve been in a car that’s collided with a deer, and I know the consequences. Hitting a deer in the middle of the night, in the woods, with no cell phones was not an option. I drove super cautiously. Luckily there weren’t too many other people on the roads so I could keep my brights on. By the time we made it back to Eugene (at 2 in the morning), I was more awake than when we left Bend (from all the singing, at least our iPod was charged fully), and feeling so thankful to have made it home safely. That was way more of an adventure than we were looking for.
Other than the unexpected longer trip home, the day was amazing, and to look back at it a month later I wish we had time to go on a trip like this again before the summer ends (minus the roadblock at the end, of course). Sadly, we probably won’t get to do a trip quite like this for a while.
Here is a great video Angel made of the trip.
Photos I took on the trip. (click image to view larger)
Angel’s Photos of Crater Lake (click image to view entire album)