Thursday, September 29, 2011

Crater Lake, pt 1

So, I went to crater lake. I took the train! Tonia was driving north so i trained south and we met along the way in klamath falls. In a super fantastic moment of awesomeness, my computer randomized the pics i took...or rather organized them by file type rather than by number so, instead of reordering, which i have not the patience for, i will try my best to tell this story through captions. In random order. 

Feature called the phantom ship, it's a huge rock sticking out of the lake.

Mountains taken from the window of the train,

Dueling laptops in the awesome cabin we rented for night  2. This was the kitchen,

Front of the train from the back of the train,

Tonia's room in night 2 cabin

My room!

Tiny train bottle of wine

My feet, mirror in hotel room, night 1

From the train

Tractor from the train

Again, from the train

Large white thing, from the train

Amazingly beautiful body of water, someone's water source, from the train

Klamath Falls, hotel night 1

After the hike down to the lake's surface, we got to chill and enjoy the water and the view.

Small trail hike from the visitors center, self guided, brought us to the lady of the woods, and had lots of boring info about boring buildings. No pics of those.

From the surface

Post lake tour, post lodge dinner, wind blown, tired, lovely

First pic of the tour, people were very willing to take pictures of others

Wizard island

We saw snow in several places on the base of the lake

There wasn't really a back story to this, only that some guy who was working at the park in the  fifties had carved her into this rock.

These little chipmunk rat creatures were everywhere! Well fed, clearly, and fearless- they would run right up to where you were sitting, much faster than you would expect. I jumped up a few times because i thought they were going to crawl right up me. I learned their name in the lodge, while looking in the history room, but i forgot. Pivas? Picas? 

Natural fires burning off in the forest. The overlook pull out where they were most visible was marked by a sign reading, natural fires- do not report, and staffed with two rangers to answer questions about why they were burning. They were started by lightning and are a natural part of a forests cycle. Closely maintained by park people.

Crater lake was for sure not what I was expecting. Having not done my homework properly, i was expecting a lake, that we would go to. Maybe chill on the beach and have a picnic. The reality was in no way a let down, just a surprise. We were lucky enough to come in the window of time when the whole road is open, huge sections are closed by snow most of the year. The rim drive is 33 miles or so around, with countless pull outs and viewpoints. There is only one trail down to the surface, a harrowing jaunt straight down and straight up, in the midst of swirling dust storms. They were nice enough to place benches every hundred feet or so but it was still quite a workout. Worth it to touch the water. Cold as hell.

Tonia treated us to a hotel in klamath falls the first night, the town where my train came in. 24 hour pool and hot tub, nice beds and television. Sixty miles north to the lake the next morning, we passed lots of motels on the way up, expecting to stay at one on the way down. This proved harder than expected, most everyone had gotten there before us and filled the rooms. The nice hippy lady at Joe's motel, where we had our sights on staying, called around and found us a cabin at the Crater Lake Resort. So we headed on down the highway, both silently sure that there was no way on earth we were going to be able to afford a cabin at a resort. Turned out to be much more along the lines of a motel, in cabin form, with a campground rv park on the other side. Cute old people, television with vcr and tapes to borrow, pretty sweet. Two bed, two bath, kitchen, table outside for us. I absolutely loved it. Tonia had been sleeping in the woods on a farm for three months so i'm not sure she absolutely loved anything at that point. I loved it enough for both of us. I have a couple more great outside pics and one of our awesome kitchen, but that's tomorrow's story. Goodnight!

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