Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Catching Up: Grants Pass to Crater Lake

Although we took a couple of short morning walks, it was just too hot to do much in our last few days in the Grants Pass area, other than visiting Sue Malone for a very nice supper on Tuesday evening. We were delighted to see their new house and meet the infamous Mattie dog. 

Back in January when I was making reservations, I was able to get two nights at Mazama Campground in Crater Lake National Park. After our time at the Rogue Valley State Park, we had a few extra days.  I filled them with a stop at a commercial RV park, called Crater Lake RV in Prospect, OR. 

The weather was hot, but not too hot. There was some smoke in the air, but we did take a few short walks. In fact we took one walk twice in the same day!

Near our campground were two nice waterfall views accessible by a half-mile walk down a pretty forest trail. When we went the first time it was morning, and the north-facing falls were in the shade. So we went back for a second walk in the late afternoon, and were pleased to see the water falling in the sunlight.

In fact there was even a rainbow in the spray. It's not often we can go back for better light, but we are pleased we did this time.

On Saturday we drove all of 28 miles to Crater Lake National Park. 

We quickly settled in our dry-camp spot, and headed up to the lake rim for lunch at the lodge and our first 2018 view of the lake.  Although there was a threat of haze from a nearby fire, the lake seemed almost as blue as we remembered.

Above is a very zoomed-in image of a couple of the very small spots of snow that remained in spite of the hot weather. 

We stayed in the lodge area for a few hours, and planned to drive around the lake the next day. 

That was a mistake because the smoke and haze increased overnight, but it gave us a different view. Instead of being the usual unbelievable blue, the lake color was a softer pastel and much more reflective of the sides and overhead clouds. 

This view of the "Phantom Ship" had a magical quality.

As we drove around the lake, there were many pullout view points and we were able to see some of the interesting rock formations on the sides of the caldera. The one above is called "Pumice Castle".

We also took a drive down a seven-mile side road to the Pinnacles formations. These are huge rock formations that were once lava tubes that cooled inside the volcano. Over time, the encasing rocks have eroded away, leaving the harder tubes exposed. I thought they looked like giant termite mounds.

We returned to the Alfa, parked in our Mazama Campground spot, late in the afternoon to get cleaned up for our dinner reservation back up at the Lodge Dining Room. Eating dinners at the National Park Lodges has become one of our little traditions. This time, although Craig had not been "wowed" by our lunch Saturday, we were both very pleased by our ribeye steak dinners. They were beautifully prepared and very tasty.

We had requested, and were seated at, a table by a window overlooking the lake. As our meal progressed, we noted that the smoke haze was increasing. By the time we were finished the surface and far sides of the lake were completely obscured by the smoke.

The image below was taken before dinner:

This fire was just within the north edge of the park. Monday we choose our route to stay away from it.

Our next stop is at the Champoeg Historic Site east of Aurora. 



  1. I am enjoying your trip! We are in Grants Pass for two nights. It is HOT but the smoke is beginning to clear.

  2. It is a shame so much of the West is being stricken by fires.

  3. So sad to see so many wildfires this summer.

  4. Was so nice seeing you and Craig again, Merikay, and catching up on travels and memories. I am so glad that you got to see Crater Lake before it was horribly smoky, and hope that your journey back north will lead you to cooler, clearer skies. Next time I WILL take some photos. Ha!


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