– written by Sarah
Crater Lake, Oregon
July 1 to July 2
We departed Arcata and Redwood National Forest around 10am to head to Crater Lake. The drive took about 6 hours with stops along the way. We got to our cabin around 4pm that afternoon and then headed to Crater Lake for an evening walk and drive around the rim.
We stayed in a cabin at Crater Lake Resort for $100/night. We spent approximately $25 at dinner Monday night and $10 for snacks at the resort.
Monday morning we drove through northern California to Crater Lake, Oregon. It was a beautiful drive through the Cascade mountains, cutting through creeks, rivers and lakes through the forested hills. Admittedly, the stereotypes about northern California being a haven for hippies and alternative culture and a grounded, nature-based way of life are true. After a certain point into our drive, we could no longer find any contemporary music radio stations- there were several stations playing some psychedelic funk music, a station playing what sounded like mystical chanting, and NPR. No Lady Gaga in these woods! When we stopped at a gas station for a snack and a quick bathroom break, the customers all looked like they had just emerged out of the forest- covered in dirt patches, smelling like sweat and trees. It was refreshing and entertaining to see that this lifestyle can still thrive – and one day when Tim and I do our year-long USA road trip, I suspect we’ll probably look a lot like these guys did!
We got to our cabin around 4pm, checked in, bought some snacks for later, and drove the 30 minutes from the campground to the park. Along the way, we stopped to see the canyon that had been formed on the other side of the crater when Crater Lake was formed, and stopped to get dinner at the only restaurant in the area.
The visitor center village at the rim of the lake provides some great scenic views of the lake and of Wizard volcano that sits in the middle of the lake. The visitor center also has an exhibit that explains how Crater Lake was formed. In short, Mount Mazama existed 7,700 years ago and was one of the primary volcanoes of the pacific northwest, along with Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helen. After a period of hyperactivity, the volcano emptied itself, creating an empty space within the volcano. Eventually, there was nothing left to support the volcano and it caved in on itself, creating an explosion that scattered layers of dust more than 6 feet high in some areas up to 43 miles away and left a crater that has since been filled in with rain water and snow melt, creating Crater Lake. At 2,000 feet deep, it is the deepest freshwater lake in the United States. That’s pretty awesome.
After spending some time walking around the stretch of the rim accessible from the visitor center, we began to get bitten by mosquitoes – and lots of them. The air is so still at Crater Lake that it makes a great environment for bugs to attack visitors. We decided at this point to get in the car and complete a 30-mile scenic drive around the rim of the lake. The drive provided us with many great views of the lake, and at times was even frightening when there would be no barrier between the road and the cliffs that drop to the lake below. We were able to enjoy the sunset around the lake during our drive and admired the peacefulness and beauty that exist there now after such a violent beginning 7,700. The sunset followed us along our drive back to the cabin and was so stunning we had to stop a few times to take pictures- quickly darting in and out of the car to avoid the bugs (though those pesky creatures were faster than we were).
We got back to our cabin around 9:30pm and spent the evening relaxing before getting to bed. Tomorrow= onward to Portland!