Monday, September 24, 2012

Crater Lake Day 3

I got up for sunrise and headed towards the east side this time for a different perspective.  I backed up the camper and waited for the sun to wake up before I stepped out into the 36 degree cold with wind.  As I sat in the warm camper, there were at least a dozen other people outside with their tripods setup,  parkas on, and freezing;  waiting as I was for the light.  ( I like the camper for these moments).  It was a nice sunrise.

Today,  the wind was down some and it actually warmed up to be a nice day.   For my last day around the crater,  I decided to take my time and go the entire way around,  stop at every pullout, and see what the lake had in store for me today.

I wanted to go down and actually see and touch the lake.  There is only one spot around the whole crater where you can do this.  At Cleetwood Cove Trail,  there is a trail down over 700 feet to the lakes edge.  This is also where you can take a boat ride (when in season,  unfortunately, last weekend was the last time they took out the boats)   I would have liked to take a boat ride to see the crater and lake from that perspective, but maybe next time (I know I will come back here!)

The over a mile hike down was really easy and quick.  I did not take any pictures on the way down because I knew I would be needing the breaks (for pictures that is) on the way back up.  I got down to the lake and it is so clear and pure ( see day 1 post).  The waitress at North Dallas Bar and Grill (Oregon) told me that I needed to stick my face in the clear pure water and open my eyes just to experience the lake (at 38 degrees). 
So,  I found a flat rock on the lakes edge and did a pushup to dunk my face into the water.  It was actually refreshing.  Some other people were around and I told them why I did it, and they decided to dunk their faces in too!  If I would have climbed up to the lake (instead of 700 ft elevation change down)  I probably would have jumped in for a very quick swim.

While we were doing this,  there were a couple of pesky/curious chipmunks climbing around on our backpacks to see if they could get in for food.  I love the ash footprints they left on the top of my pack.

I stayed lakeside for about an hour and decided to start the hike back up.   Before heading out,  I needed one more full head dunk into the lake! (why not?)   At the top they said it was the same as climbing 150 flights of stairs (a 75 story building) during the mile + walk back to the top.  The hike also started at over 7000 ft.   It really was not that bad.  I took my photo breaks and enjoyed the walk back up.

I continued around the lake stopping at every pullout.  I even went back up to Cloudcap (where I spent 8 hours the day before)  and it was nice and sunny with very little wind.  I actually just sat there for a while and looked (outside the camper).  A few more stops around, and I decided it was time for one last hike.  There was a new trail to a water falls over near the campground I stayed the first night. Plaikni Falls was about a 2.2 mile hike through the old forests to the waterfall.  Snowmelt is the source of water for these falls (not Crater Lake). It was a really nice, calm hike and was interesting to be on a new trail (most trails are decades old).

I think that is going to be it for my stay at Crater Lake NP.  So I headed south towards Mount Shasta in California…

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