Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Crater Lake

Once we reached Medford, OR (about 90 miles from Crater Lake) we decided to call ahead to make sure we could get a campsite, after all it was a Friday. We were lucky and got one of the last 4 Mazama village. Hooray!
The campground was lovely, wooded and not too crowded to your neighbor. We headed to the evening campfire ranger program, as we try to do in the parks, they are a great way to hear about some aspect of the park that you may not normally find out about.
After a full night of pouring rain we headed to "Annies Restaurant" just on the edge of the campground. The breakfast was disappointing and a bit pricy($51 for 4) but food was hot and we were warm.
Since it was still spiting rain we decided to drive around the lake. Suddenly the clouds broke and saw some awesome views of the lake from Phantom Ship overlook!  This was formed from volcano and is the deepest lake in the US, we have never seen bluer water!

From here we decied to see the Pinnacles. These are 100 ft spires of hardened volcanic ash in many colors. You have great views from the parking area but an easy flat 1 mile hike gives you more beautiful views of the many colorful spires. Be forewarned there are no railings along the edge of these cliffs.

Back to Rim Village and a stop at 100ft Vidae Falls. The area was loaded with wildflowers making for a beautiful view right on the side of the road.
Rim Vilage was very busy but it was Saturday. We opted for a picnic  near the Rim Visitor Center. There was only 2 other families having lunch here, with probably 20-30 "sites" with picnic tables.   We walked some of the Rim walk, fo beautiful views of the lake.
The kids got their Jr Ranger badges with interesting activities including a demonstration on how the lake was formed.  We were anxious to get to Mt Ranier so decided to head out but because of wildfires ended up exiting the long way to Eugene and towards Portland.

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