Saturday, July 9, 2011

July 9 - More Waterfalls and a Surprise

Another long post for a longer than expected day. It is a bright sunny day with temps in the mid 20s but the mosquitoes are still vicious.

We are heading a bit south, backtracking the route that we took to get here in the RV, to look at some of the sights we missed. We don’t stop at these in the RV because you never know when you might get to a spot where you have to backup and that is just not fun.

First stop was a viewpoint of the crater lake rim from a distance of about 10 miles. They had a graphic saying this was an approximate outline of the volcano before if blew up. Remember it lost 1 mile in height. Wow!


Next was National Creek Falls, which had a short hike into a forest winding back and forth on a trail down to the base of the falls. 



Third stop was Rogue Gorge where the Rogue River had worn away some basalt lava tubes to carve a narrow gorge.






Upstream were some rapids and a small waterfall.




Well, The Lonely Planet recommended having some ice cream at Beckie’s so when we passed the Restaurant and Ice Cream booth  we ordered “one scoop” and they looked more like two scoops.  It was a hot day and we ate the whole thing, though it was too much.

Fifth stop was the Natural Bridge except there were no bridge visible. There is a lava tube that normally takes the entire flow of the river underground for several hundred feet where it gushes out the side of the gorge, leaving a “bridge”. 




This year there is so much water the tube couldn’t handle it so even the bridge had water flowing over it. Definitely lessens the effect. In the middle of picture below you can sort of see the bulge in the river where the water exits the tube.



Heading back to Crater Lake, near Beckie’s  we spied a chuck wagon across the road with a “smoker”.  Yes, we had to order 1 pulled pork sandwich and 1 smoke brisket sandwich.  We sat in the outdoor dinning room on a swing facing a stream and consumed our meal.  We felt guilty having this large snack at 4:00 pm but life presents opportunities and you grab them.




We thought that we would make one more pass at Crater Lake to say adieu. Up to now only about 1/3 of the rim road was open. We heard that another couple of miles of the road was plowed but not open. This part leads to the only trail that leads down to the water which  is used to get to the boat tours of the lake. The road had not been opened because we were told they were completely rebuilding the dock and it wouldn’t be ready until late July.

Well as we were about to exit we saw that the road was now open, we guessed because it was Saturday and the workers were off. Our hearts were beating with excitement at the thought of more “oohs and ahh” from another viewpoint but they were mostly blocked by trees and obstacles shrouding the landscape across the lake. We felt bad about thinking it but we wished they could have done a bit of trimming.




We got to the end of the road and also noticed that the trail down to the lake shore was open. Now this hike is not for the faint of heart. There were big warning about being fit before you attempt it. By this time is was almost 6pm and we were sugared up with ice cream, colas and our big sandwiches but we decided that we could not pass up the chance to touch the sapphire waters.

It is one mile, zigzag, 800 foot drop down to the lake at an almost constant 11% grade. It looked it.










The half moon was up.


We saw two guys in scuba gear. They walked down and back all suited up AND they said they couldn’t really see anything since the lakeside follows the steep cliffs and the bottom is 1000 feet down.


The steepness of the trip back up was bad enough but the mosquitoes were just a haze around us. We wanted to stop for a rest and a drink of water but Stuart’s back was covered with the nippy critters so we kept moving, never daring to stop until we got back to our CRV.

We hit the road this morning at 10:30 and we finally got home at 7:30 pm.  A long day but a great day!


The next campground at Newberry National Volcanic Monument has no hookups so we get to test the solar panels. It is also remote enough that it may not have cell service so we could be out of touch for 3 days.

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