Posts tagged: Oregon

Crater Lake

By , August 17, 2010 1:33 pm

Dasy really wanted to see Crater Lake, so we headed down there for a couple days.  Crater Lake is pretty much in the middle of no where.  We could have camped in the park, but it was primitive (no water or electric) and we weren’t sure if we’d fit, so we decided to stay at Collier Memorial State Park instead.  There we found full hookups, pleasant sites, a nice little creek and LOTS of very bold ground squirrels. ;)  We’d recommend it if you don’t mind the drive from there to Crater Lake.

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Crater Lake itself is one of the smaller National Parks.  It has a couple of little villages and visitor centers, but it’s mostly just one loop road around the lake.  IMG_2807Our main goal was to catch the boat tour around the lake, with a stop at Wizard Island.  Even though we bypassed several overlooks to get there at a reasonable time, they were already booked up for the entire day (cost is $28 per person, $10 extra if you want to stop at Wizard Island). :(  We contented ourselves with a hike down to the lake instead. 

The hike is on the Cleetwood Cove Trail, which goes from the crater rim down to the boat dock and it is the only place you can actually get to the lake.  It is not for the faint of heart or the weak of knee!  It was just over a mile in distance, but the elevation difference from the rim to the lake is about 700 feet.  It took us about half an hour to go down.

Once at the bottom, we stuck our feet in the water and ate our lunch while watching several people swim and jump off the rocks into the lake.  It was cold, but apparently bearable “once you get in”.  We didn’t test that, mainly because I didn’t want to be hiking back up in wet clothes and shoes.  Were I to return, I’d probably bring trunks or some extra socks and shirt at least. 

IMG_2837The hike back up was significantly worse, but bearable if you’re in reasonably decent shape, or if you have a LOT of time and a couple bottles of water.  In the parking lot they sell shirts that say “One mile down, six miles up”.  ;) 

The lake itself is pretty cool and is an awesome color of blue.  Depending on where you are at different stops and at different times of the day, it can be more or less blue.  Our photographs show that somewhat.  I tried to keep the photographs as true to the original colors as I could… I didn’t enhance any of them to make them more colorful.

There are a few other areas of the park that are worth mentioning that we checked out…  Vidae Falls are quite nice, accessible from the road and worth stopping for.  There is also a section called The Pinnacles that is quite neat and worth the extra drive (it’s about 7 miles off the main loop).  The Pinnacles are spires of volcanic rock that are now exposed due to erosion of the surrounding rock.  Our final stop for the day was at the Castle Crest Wildflower Trial.  That was pretty cool, but we made some navigation errors at the start and had to do some backtracking before we found where we were meant to be (from the parking area, keep to the right, over the footbridge).  If you manage to go the right direction, it’s a 1 mile loop through some very nice growth areas around a small stream.

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Crater Lake Is Unique

By , August 15, 2010 7:17 pm

We left the Crater Lake region this morning and are currently in Winnemucca, NV. We are making our way to Colorado.

Crater Lake is a caldera lake when Mount Mazama erupted in 5400 BC. It is still an active volcanic. It is part of the same mountain range as Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens, the Cascade Range. It is the deepest lake in the US at 1,943 feet. It is about 6 miles across and has no inlets and tributaries. It’s water is one of the deepest blue and one of the clearest, it is estimated that you can see 400 feet below.

We will post about our trip soon.

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Portland and Vancouver

By , August 14, 2010 10:43 am

We spent about a week in Portland, OR.  Actually, we were in Vancouver, WA, but that’s just across the river from Portland.  We met some great people in Vancouver at the nearby congregation. We didn’t originally plan to spend that long here, but a number of coincidences changed our schedule a bit…  More about that later.

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Portland is a pretty cool town.  There’s not much traffic for a city this size, once you’re downtown.  IMG_2683There are a lot of public transport options and a lot of people use bicycles to commute.  It’s a town that’s known for being “green”.  Unfortunately, that means parking for four-wheeled vehicles is a bit of a premium.  Just keep it in mind if you’re visiting.  Be prepared to park somewhere then walk to where you want to go.

IMG_2689We started by doing a guided walking tour, by Portland Walking Tours (I’ll supply a link later when I have a decent connection).  It was interesting and a good way to see the downtown areas.  It was a good introduction and gave us an idea of what we might want to do for the rest of our trip here.  I’d say it’s worth the cost if you don’t mind walking a bit.

At the end of our walking tour, we went back to where our Jeep was parked and had lunch.  The parking lots in the area are surrounded by little food booths of just about every ethnic variety you can imagine.  The food was pretty inexpensive and almost everything was cooked up as you order.  I ended up having something that was kind of Bulgarian, but I forgot what it was called.  It was basically a sausage, but made with some kind of thin dough as the wrapping instead IMG_3683of the usual sausage skin.  The whole thing was wrapped in a spiral, steamed and then grilled.  It could have been a bit spicier, but was good and plenty filling.  Dasy opted for some Thai Drunken Noodles, which were also pretty tasty, but I prefer the thin rice noodle dishes.  A couple next to us ordered a teriyaki chicken and rice bowl which looked and smelled incredible, so we snagged an order of that to go as well.  Our original assessment was correct… it was awesome!

IMG_2721We spent another day at OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) and we also did a drive around Washington Park.  Washington Park is sort of a big collection of smaller parks.  It would probably be great for day hiking and/or biking, although it’s a bit hilly.  OMSI is one of the better science-type museums in the area (way better than Seattle), but it also reinforced our belief that we’ve been spoiled by the Smithsonians in Washington DC.  There’s a lot of hands-on stuff for kids, but there were some decent exhibits tucked away that we enjoyed as well.  The temporary Einstein exhibit was kind of cool, but I suspect it’s a bit too “deep” for the average bear and kid just walked right through it because there wasn’t really a lot that they could mess with there.  It made a valiant effort at explaining some of Einstein’s theories and I don’t think there would be many ways to do a better job.

Unfortunately, our plans got tossed out the window after that.  We ordered a couple packages that turned out to take a lot longer to arrive than we expected.  The campground we were at was completely booked, so we ended up having to move to another while awaiting the shipment.  It didn’t help that I caught some kind of nasty stomach bug or something.  I spent three or four days moping and trying to keep some small amount of food in me, while Dasy did her best not to get frustrated with me.  I’m still not completely up to snuff, but at least I can get out and do stuff now.

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Yes, it’s a pickle.

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