Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Here is my attempt at some patriotic wear for today.

Today I headed up to Crater Lake National Park. It's my 4th National Park (should have been my 5th, but I couldn't go to Lassen). The first number of uphill miles weren't too bad. I pulled off to see Natural Bridge. It is a place on the Rogue River where the water flows through a lava tube. At this point, there is still water flowing around the lava tube but, later in the summer the water will only flow through the tube thus giving the illusion of a bridge.

At Union Creek I pulled off to see the Rogue Gorge. Actually, a clerk at Safeway in Ashland told me about it. Although, it wasn't that hard to miss since it was right by the Hwy.

Then I continued on toward the park. Twice while I was on Hwy 62 headed toward Mazama Village cars slowed down to ask me if this was the way to Crater Lake and how many miles it was. Did they not go past the same signs that I did???

The further up the road I got, the more snow there was. First it was only on the shady side of the road. Then it was on both sides. I knew there would be a lot of snow at the rim, but I didn't realize there was still so much at the lower elevations.

I made it to Mazama Village where a nice lady in the restaurant filled my water bottles for me. She liked my flag bandana hanging from my helmet. I went through the Entrance Station (this one only cost me $5--the others were $10). Then went around to the camp store and bought some real food for lunch (okay, well, sort of real food--a hotdog, some Fritos, a cookie and Gatorade--did I mention I had just spent the last 26 miles going uphill?).

The last section to the rim is 7 miles. I remembered all these miles from doing the Crater Lake Century a few years ago. They were a bit slower on loaded Stella. I remembered there was this one spot where you could look out over the mountains to the south. This time the piles of snow were too high to see over!

I reached the rim after about two hours. IT WAS SPECTACULAR!!! All the snow made for a different experience from last time. The lake was still just as beautiful blue as I remembered. I stood on a big pile of snow to take photos.

The up and down ride around part of the rim was about 5 miles. Of course, I pulled off at every vista to take photos and gawk at the beautiful scenery. Looking South, away from the lake, I could see Mt. Shasta. It was strange to think I was there just five days ago! It looked so far away!

Finally, I said goodbye to the lake and headed downhill on Crater Lake Hwy. It was a good seven miles downhill with gentle curves that required no braking. Near the bottom, was the Pumice Desert. It's kind of strange looking as there are very few trees.

I came to the junction with Hwy 138. Here I had to go off route to get to tonight's campground on Diamond Lake. Tomorrow I will have to backtrack about 5 miles to get back on the route. That's 5 miles uphill! Arrrrggggg!!!

Diamond Lake Campground is a big place. It's about 2 miles long along the lake. It is also Mosquitoville! There are bazillions of Mosquitos here! When I got to my campsite, I quickly pulled on my pants (spandex not being a good barrier to Mosquitos). I had already "DEET-ed up" my arms and legs on the way up to Crater Lake. I got my tent up and threw everything in it.
There are showers here (free too!). I was in dire need of a shower. I took my shower and put my bug-bandana on then hurried back to my tent. I still needed to cook some dinner, so I put my down jacket on (even though it was plenty warm enough) and went out to cook my dinner without getting eaten alive. I had the bandana on my head, scarf-style and that was doing a pretty good job of keeping them off my head and face. The only real problem was my hands and feet. I just had to keep smacking them, but a few managed to get a some bites in (yes, I could have put more bug spray on, but I really hate the stuff).

I cleaned everything up, went down to the lake to take a picture of the sunset (not that great actually) then retired to my bug-free tent (bug-free AFTER I killed the few that managed to follow me in).

Currently, there is some fireworks show happening out over the lake. Personally, I just couldn't stand to sit amongst the Mosquitos just to watch some fireworks. Besides, it's past my bedtime.

Hopefully, I can post this tomorrow when I get to Chemult.

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