Crater LakeSeptember 25 in the United States
Awesome place to see, deepest lake in north America, used to be a volcano
Awesome place to see, deepest lake in north America, used to be a volcano
Between Bend and Bandon, we stopped for a few hours at Crater Lake. It was awesome, and we both want to go back to do some hiking down into the lake (and on the island). We were fortunate enough to get on a trolley tour around the lake, and we had a Park Ranger along for the ride. She provided us with so much historical and geological information, it was definitely worth the cost of the tour! Crater Lake is actually the caldera of the former Mount Mazama, a giant volcano. The geology of the area shows that there were several points of eruption over time as the tectonic plate was moving over the volcanic hot spot. There is actually a ton of interesting science behind this composite volcano, but as we can’t explain it as well as our guide, we recommend you go hear it in person (or go to NPS.gov for some reading material).
Crater Lake is best explored on foot with multiple hikes, but if you are short on time, this trolley tour is the way to go. We also enjoyed the fact that the ranger was basically an Oregonian version of Rachel’s mom, which was an entertaining bonus.
Moral of the story: Crater Lake National Park was an excellent pit stop!Read more
Day 12 Wednesday 5th September 2018 Coos Bay - Crater Lake (drive - 4.5 hrs)
Woke up pretty tired (understandably) and knew we had a drive ahead of us. Packed up and got on our way, but stopped at a starbucks for a coffee (for me) and hot chocolate (for Lily) as we were both running low on energy.
Got on our way and spent most of the day driving (was four and a half hours to Crater Lake). We were a bit delirious because of how tired we were and we ended up having a bit of a karaoke day in the car (I had downloaded a new playlist on spotify called “roadtrip sing along” and it delivered a lot of wonderful songs we could be idiots about). We stopped and did a quick hike at a place called Watson Falls to try and keep ourselves awake and motivated (and to break up the driving) before back on the road to crater Lake.
There was nobody at the gates when we arrived at the national park so drove straight through. Was some spectacular views as we drove along (we drove up and around the top part of the crater before coming down near our campgrounds). We didn’t stop, but there wasn’t a lot of need to as we got good views as we drove. A few times I had to just not look out the window though as they aren’t too fond of their roads having shoulders and I assume they can’t have barriers up due to the snow they get (Is that a thing? either way there aren’t any barriers along the roads). A lot of sheer drops directly beside me. Lily was frequently too afraid to look because she was worried if the car swerved even slightly that it would be all over for us.
Arrived at our campsite and set up. Was very desperate for a shower at this point so we deliberately picked out campsite to be within walking distance of the only “comfort station” in the entire area that had showers. I suspect if we’d been staying in in hotels up until this point we would have been disappointed with the showers, but after the cold/no showers from the night before they were heaven.
Warnings for bears everywhere and campsite had a bear box provided so I got my first crash course in how to camp where there are chances of bears. Was actually hard to get my head out of Australia-mode because at my apartment DMR never answered anyones complaints about the red back infestation so it has become a habit of mine not to stick my hand anywhere I can’t 100% see what might be there (I always check places I can see too, like car door handles and the bins before I touch them, always check shoes before putting them on etc etc) so had a bit of a phobia of opening the bear box because you need to stick your hand up inside a metal sleeve/slot and pull down on the lever inside the slot. Anyway I hated it every time I did it even knowing that we didn’t have to worry about spiders here.
Had dinner, and then lit a fire and had another lovely night under the stars. A fair few shootings stars too, although we took awhile to realise we were likely under a very popular flight path (so many planes went over that had us wondering what they were). Lily made the comment “it’s not as cold as I thought it would be” which was the curse that this trip clearly needed.
Day 13 Thursday 6th September Crater Lake
Absolutely froze all night. I ended up wearing socks (I hate wearing socks to bed and don't even like wearing them around the house but this was a must), two pairs of pants, a shirt and a jumper to bed, as well as sleeping bag, sheet, and blanket doubled up. I actually was okay if I didn’t move (and kept the warmth cocooned) and kept my head ducked down inside the sleeping bag, but my muscles get very achy on the air mattress if I don’t change position often enough so was pretty hard to do. It wasn’t the best night sleep but also wasn’t the worst. I actually think I faired better than Lily did in the car because she had confidently cracked the window to get some fresh air, whereas I had a tent, and a cover that had a non-negotiable inability to crack anything. She said the first time she woke up from the cold she felt like she might as well have been wearing nothing. She put on a few more layers but damage had been done by the open window so not a very good night for her.
Had a bit of a surprise/confusion when getting out of the tent in the morning. Was covering in white stuff. For a quick second - thanks to the cold - I genuinely had the thought “has it snowed?” before noticing that it was very ‘misty’ and could smell fire a bit stronger than just the remains from the campfire. Whole tent was covered in ash and so was the car, but no one else seemed alarmed so just set about having breakfast as usual.
Set off to the information centre/visitor centre to get some ideas about what to do today and initially had the windows down to try and get the smoke smell out of the car. Quickly discovered that it was less smokey at the campsite than everywhere else (possibly thanks to the trees) and had to put windows up pretty quickly. Visibility was low and could smell smoke even with the aircon on.
Checked out what was going on at the information centre and was told basically not to worry about fires as there weren’t any in the immediate area, it was caused by fires from around the larger area, some were lightning fires, some were expected campfires and there was only one big fire which was burning in southwest of us near Medford (Australia has sent firies over for that fire so it was a big one). Lots of warnings to be very careful about the smoke and smoke inhalation. Apparently the way to ‘test’ if it was safe enough was if you could see ‘clearly’ for 5 miles you were right to do whatever and monitor your own body, if you could see for 3 miles keep kids and pets inside but adults were probably fine doing nothing strenuous again just monitor, and it you could see for only 1 mile or less stay inside no matter what. Which was great for us because we 1) had no idea what 1 mile or 3 or 5 miles even looked like and 2) we had no inside to stay at. Debated whether or not it was safe to stay at Crater Lake but they were predicting it would start to clear up by midday and thanks to the colder weather it wasn’t unbearable. We opted to do some gentle hikes and see if it cleared up.
First hike we did was about a 20 minute one and it was okay. Did a few others that were 20-40 minutes long as well. It was definitely harder to breathe with the smoke but it felt worse doing nothing because you just focused on it. Lily hated it because her favourite part about hiking is the views or wildlife/being able to see things. We couldn’t see anything on the hikes and not a lot of wildlife around. Not to mention she got out of breath on the hikes which she was horrified by. By midday though it was definitely starting to clear, and where we sat for lunch had a lot of chipmunks around. They’re very cute although I’m sure they’re a pest to someone.
After lunch we did a hike to some falls which was a bit longer (just over an hour) and by the time we reached the falls the smoke was definitely clear enough to not impact on anything. Was a very gentle hike (almost all flat) so Lily was keen to do something a bit more challenging at this point. We hiked back to the car and drove to another spot at the top of the crater. Did a hike called ‘Watchman’s Overlook’ and it was pretty challenging (for me, not for Lily) — hiking to the very top of the crater. It was only about an hour but was well worth it, although it was still too smokey to see the other side of the crater clearly, we were very confident it cleared the 5 miles test.
We debated staying to watch the sunset but there was a presentation/talk we wanted to go and watch that night at 8pm, and as sunset was about 7:45pm we thought it would be cutting it too close. Went back to camp instead and had a shower and cooked and ate dinner (where we had a little stellar jay join us for dinner, sitting on one end of the bench, and got to watch a squirrel preparing it's food for winter) and then headed over to the amphitheatre section of the campground.
Talk was really interesting - about how Crater Lake formed and what made it ‘unique’ whilst also making it ‘similar’ to other lakes inside volcanoes. First thing we learned was that ‘Crater Lake’ is a misnomer. Craters are formed by meteorites (although I note the dictionaries have been updated to recognise these as ‘impact craters’ and allow that volcanoes can have craters too, which every other website seems to disagree with), volcano caused ‘craters’ are actually called caldera’s, therefor Crater Lake would be more accurate if it were called Caldera Lake. Mind you, Crater Lake was originally called Giiwas by the Native Americans, who were here supposedly 7,700 years ago and witnessed the eruption that caused crater lake (believed to be 100 times more explosive than the 1980 eruption of Mt St Helens). Then the whites came along and called it a few unbelievably imaginative and unique names (Deep Blue Lake, Blue Lake, Majesty Lake) before it was eventually called Crater Lake in a local newspaper article in 1869 and the name just stuck.
I won’t bore you with all the other details of the talk because then this whole post would just be about Crater Lake, but was a really good one. The ranger who gave the talk was a retired geologist who was understandably very scientifically focused. Gave a lot of facts about the lake and discussed a lot of 'unexplained' things that they weren't able to provide answers on why it happened/how it happened even today, so interesting to hear.
After the talk we were freezing cold (despite wearing heaps of layers) so a very brisk walk back to the campsite (About 10-15 minutes walk but the cold might have made me exaggerate that time). Lily went to the toilet whilst I lit a fire. Fastest I’ve ever lit a fire (I literally chucked down some newspaper into the fire pit without bothering to scrunch it, grabbed all our kindling and chucked it directly on top of the newspaper, three logs tipi’d on top of this mess and lit the newspaper in as many places I could). Took me less than a minute but was warm in less than 5 and that’s what I was going for. Patrick would be horrified but Lily and I were very happy with it because it was a lot colder than it had been the night before and we were dreading bed time.
Had the last of our s’mores and stayed by the fire as long as we could. Eventually had to go to bed though, and we went quite reluctantly.
Day 14 Friday 7th September Crater Lake - Smith Rock
As expected, very cold night. I ended up wearing two pairs socks, three pairs of pants, two shirts, two jumpers, and wrapped a scarf around my head twice; as well as the usual ensemble of a sleeping bag, sheet, blanket doubled up. Was a very long night to be honest. The same principle applied of trying not to move all night but I found moving out of the warm patch was cold enough to wake me up regardless of if it was moving a leg or rolling over. One of the times I woke up was because the last time I’d moved I’d dislodged the blanket enough that it eventually fell off me. Put it back on and spent half an hour jiggling up and down trying to warm up enough to go back to sleep. I glanced at my watch around then and it was just after 4am and I was immediately relieved I only had to do this sleep-charade for another couple of hours. It probably would have been fine if we’d been properly prepared but the sleeping bag and tent were both summer gear and I had packed for late summer with some layers for colder days (I packed a few jumpers, a scarf, and some thermals and that was about it, I'd bought some stuff at walmart as well which is mostly what I wore in the tent because it was warmer than the stuff I'd brought).
Anyway up and going at 7am, Lily slept a bit better with the window closed all night. Also went to bed wearing a lot more layers. Said she slept pretty rough but better than the night before.
We headed back to a few of the places we’d been the day before (any accessible by car) to re-take some photos when you could actually see the things we were taking photos of. Then headed off to Smith Rock. We had also bought a bird book the day before because we’ve seen a heap of birds and had no idea what they were. I spent a lot of the drive trying to determine if we were looking at something interesting (luckily we usually were) or if we were looking at another damn crow/raven.
We arrived at Smith Rock around 3pm as it was only a 3 hour drive (we also stopped for lunch and a stop so I could have a ‘coffee’ although I use that term lightly and had a few stops along the way to check the area out, as well as grocery stop and a stop for fuel). It was like we’d travelled to another planet. Was 32ºC, and duuuuuusty. Warnings everywhere to take more water than you thought you needed. We just did a gentle hike around the base area of the rock, which was incredible. Lots of people around but was still very peaceful. We couldn’t get over, though, this massive natural formation wasn’t in the middle of nowhere as it would have been in Australia (probably there was indigenous legends about it but there is zero respect or regard for that here, much like Australia 20 years ago and certain places of Australia today) but literally backed onto peoples properties. It was a national park but signs up everywhere about what was an okay place to park your car vs what was trespassing/blocking someones driveway. Walk was still very nice and you didn’t see any of that whilst you were in there. Kept our eyes peeled for a cougar (sighted less than a month ago on the same trail we were doing) but no luck. Lily was very disappointed, although we did see a blue tailed skink (we learned the next day that these are incredibly rare).
We went to the campsite to set up first (about 40 minutes away) and then headed to the grocery store because we had been planning to make veggies, tuna, and pasta in a béchamel sauce but what Lily thought was flour in her food container turned out to be sugar. So off we went to the grocery store to get some flour. After that back to Smith Rock to cook and eat dinner whilst the sun set over the Rock. Absolutely stunning views, and dinner was successful (although had to be cooked and cleaned very quickly as we had less time than we expected before the sun set).
Back to camp and on the way saw an owl (which our handy bird book tells us is a great horned owl) which we were pretty excited about. We made some plans for the next day, had a ‘shower’ using wipes as there was no actual shower, and went to bed.Read more
Crater Lake est le lac le plus profond des États-Unis, son point le plus profond étant 1943 pieds! Il n'y a aucun ruisseau ou aucune rivière qui déverse dedans. Le niveau de l'eau est maintenu que par les précipitations, la pluie et la neige. Pour cette raison l'eau est extrêmement claire et bleu. Un bleu saphir! Un bleu pure.
J'y ai passé quelques jours. Des journées moins chargé que les précédentes. Des journées partagées entre les randonnées, les points de vue en vanne, du hamac, et des bons livres. J'ai encore un peu mal au genoux du Mont McLoughlin!
Le Mont Scott, le plus haut du parc était sur mon itinéraire original. Et j'ai compris aujourd'hui pourquoi qu'il était considéré comme une des plus belles randonnée des États-Unis. C'est la vue du sommet! On y voit tout le lac et les montagnes environnantes! Au sud, on voit clairement le Mont McLoughlin et le Mont Shasta. Au nord on voit le Mont Batchlor et les Sisters, et d'autres que je ne connaît pas...
De près, l'eau et encore plus spectaculaire. Et de dedans encore plus! Elle était très froide, mais wow comme elle était claire et bonne et bleu. Il y avait des gens qui sautaient de la falaise. J'ai opter pour plusieurs baignade, questions de se réchauffer entre les saucettes...
En quittant le parc j'ai eu de la pluie! La première pluie depuis Rocky Mountains National Park, il y a de ça deux mois je crois!!!Read more
I dag stod vi tidligt op og kørte de sidste miles til Crater Lake. Vi havde læst at søen skulle være smukkest om morgenen, men det viste sig også at være en god ide at være der så tidligt som muligt pga. de mange turister. Crater Lake er USAs dybeste sø, der ligger i crateret af en vulkan der eksploderede for 7.700 år siden. Søen er ganske rigtig meget meget smuk, og vi blev vidner til et meget romantisk frieri - vi tænker der nok er mange af dem lige her. Besøget ved søen blev noget forkortet i forhold til planen, idet søens østlige side og alle trails var lukket pga sne. Der kan falde op til 15 m sne om året, og vi kom lidt tidligt på sæsonen, så der var ikke smeltet nok sne til at stierne var forsvarlige at færdes på. På billederne ses solens effekt på sneen tydeligt, idet der er betydeligt mindre sne på søens solside. Vi fandt endnu et krydsningspunkt for Pacific Crest Trailen i nærheden.
Efter Crater Lake fortsatte vi mod Crescent City hvor vi overnattede på et motel der er bygget ud af et enkelt træ. Historien omkring motellet var fint, men standarden var ikke noget at skrive hjem om.
Undervejs fik vi frokost på en lokal mexicansk restaurant, vi havde nogle korte vandreture hvor vi så "kobra" blomstrer og kæmpe store californiske redwood træer i Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park.
I dag krydsede vi grænsen mellem Oregon og Californien.
Dagen får 4,5 stjerner.
Roadtrip: I dag: 415 km - i alt: 2.472 kmRead more
You might also know this place by the following names:
Crater Lake, بحيرة كراتير, Krater gölü, Возера Крэйтэр, Крейтър, Llac del Cràter, Kráterové jezero, Крейтер, Λίμνη Κρέιτερ, Kratera Lago, Lago del Cráter, Jezero Crater, קרייטר לייק, Danau Crater, Lago Crater, კრატერის ტბა, Kraterio ežeras, Kreitera ezers, Gunung Berapi Tasik Crater, Jezioro Kraterowe, Lacul Crater, Kratersko jezero, Liqeni Crater, Кратерско језеро, Krater Gölü, 火山口湖