Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Crater Lake

Happy to escape the blast furnace environment of Shasta Lake, we steered north for Oregon. For the first two hours up the I-5 our view included the snowy heights of Mount Shasta. Only when we had crossed into Oregon and into the hilly country east of Medford did it disappear from view. We followed the Rogue River east and camped at Prospect RV Park in Prospect, Oregon.

This is a great park. It had the spacious sites and lush growth of some of the better state parks we've seen, designed with large RVs in mind, and full hookups. The hosts that were on duty when we arrived, Zach and Bekah, were so nice and friendly. Zach gave us a full tour, allowing us to pick our favorite site, and telling us about campground features, plus lots of local attractions, trails, waterfalls, etc.. Often times checking in is just a business transaction, but here we were made to feel welcome.

So, we set about exploring the area. On Zach's advice I took to the trail that followed the Rogue River, enjoying the dips and turns through the trees with the sound of the white water rapids in the air:

Nancy and I checked out some of the local gorges and waterfalls:

We drove up miles of washboard dirt roads to a lofty overlook where we could once again see Mount Shasta, as well as an endless sea of wooded rolling hills, dotted with lakes and ponds. The wildflowers were in bloom, plus a shrub hanging with these prickly pods:

Also up at the overlook was a pet cemetery, clearly the final resting place for many a beloved pet who enjoyed walkies in this beautiful place. "Some Angels Wear Fur" Well put.:

I rode again, this time with Zach. It was fun to ride with someone again - most of my rides are solo, and it's fun to share the joy of the ride with another enthusiast. Zach and Bekah also generously gave us a big bag full of fresh trout fillets - so delicious! Thanks, you guys, for being such great hosts and making our stay much more meaningful!

Then...Nancy's mom Lillian and her husband Mike joined us! Arriving a few days early for a family vacation in Brookings OR, they flew into Portland and drove down to meet us at our camp. While they were with us we checked out the spot where the Rogue River disappears underground for several hundred feet before erupting back out into the open, and we went to Crater Lake National Park.

I wasn't prepared for the amount of snow still on the ground up there. Only a couple thousand feet higher than where we were camped, enjoying temperatures in the 70's and 80's, we found 8 foot snowbanks on the rim of the crater:

The lake itself is amazingly beautiful: 4.5 to 6 miles across, over 1000 feet from lake to rim, sapphire blue waters up to 1943 feet deep (average depth over 1100'), exceptionally clear water with visibility up to 144 feet. Pretty stunning:

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