Wednesday 8/26/09 Our suitcase is packed for our overnight stay at Crater Lake, two lunches & a breakfast are made & in the ice chest...we are treating ourselves to dinner out tonight. After a lengthy phone call with "missing daughter" Nancy ...too much social life and we must get caught up, it's time to head out. Our plan is to drive to Crater Lake which is a good 2 hours away, spend the day there, head back to Diamond Lake, OR to stay in their lodge (think Bass Lake!) then look for waterfalls on our way back to Sutherlin....that's our plan.
We head out on old highway 99 (yes, the same one in Fresno) actually we have been on 99 a lot during this trip. Will said when he was stationed in the Navy in Washington, he once drove & once hitchhiked 99 from Beaverton, WA to Reedley, CA of course he remembers nothing. I know nothing of Crater Lake www.nps.gov/crla and neither does he, except it was on "his to do" list from the beginning. Because it's a long drive & we want to see everything we plan to take our time sightseeing today.
The drive up is so interesting & different...the Tollhouse look and then the Shaver/Huntington Lake look then finally we are there...it's about 6,100 ft up and as we are driving the very, narrow roads we are so grateful we didn't bring the RV. As we are anxious for our first look at the lake we stop at the first view point from the North rim entrance, Watchman's Tower. I can't really describe how blue the water is and how incredibly quiet & serene the whole place is. All you can say is WOW! We just stood there looking at it, not even talking...it seems to effect lots of people that way. It is the deepest lake (1,943 ft) in the USA, the cleanest lake, fed only by rain & snow, there are no rivers or streams. A volcano collapsed and formed this caldera (I would call it a bowl) that thru the years has filled with water. In the winter they have over 500 inches of snow. In the middle of another volcanic eruption caused "Wizard Island" and island with trees on it. I was so taken that there were no boats, jet skiers, people swimming in this lake....it looks like a blue, blue sheet of glass. Actually, there is a 700 ft trail that is rated difficult that people can hike down on. From this point they have 1 tour boat that goes out 5 times a day, but you must hike down & hike up to take the boat tour...we passed on that one. You can actually fish from the shore at this point...they had NO fish but introduced 2 species, rainbow trout & kokoanee salmon and you don't need a fishing license to fish here.
We elected to take the 33 mile rim drive and stop at the Visitors Centers and all the recommended stops, which we did. I can't begin to do this tour justice in this blog so I would encourage you to check out a Crater Lake website and by all means put this on your list of things to do....it is a National Park worth seeing. It was a beautiful day & we just couldn't get enough of stopping & looking down at this incredibly blue lake, but it was getting late & we were tired and 5 pm dinner hour was lurking soon so we headed off to Diamond Lake Lodge, not knowing what we would find but is was cheap (by today's standards - $89 a night) so off we went.
Fortunately, it was only about 15 miles from Crater Lake & when we entered the Diamond Lake Resort area www.diamondlake.net it seemed like it would be ok. They have a lodge with 2 dining rooms, fine dining & other (guess which one we ate in.) Two motel buildings, individual cabins with lake front views. A store, a big fishing operation, lots of different kind of boats to rent, a boat dock, and my favorite, an 11 mile paved walking/bike trail that goes completely around the lake. The place overall looked great but according to Will needs lots & lots of repairs. (That's an old plant supervisor for you!) Now our motel room was a different story.....think Motel 6 motif, those floral bed spreads that you don't want to touch. But for one night & we were very tired, it would have to do.
We headed down for dinner, that would NOT be the fine dining room, Will had chicken fried steak & I had a veggie omelet...mine delicious, his ok (why does that always happen?) We then took a walk on the bike trail, sat out & watch kids & adults in "bumper boats." Talked to a fisherman and then proceeded to the bar where Will treated himself to a "7 - 7" and I had water & watched Baseball Tonight. Really, it was a perfect ending to a wonderful day. We then headed back to the room, which we had put off as long as we could to try & sleep. Unfortunately, this is a resort & there is "partying" going on so as usual, I went right to sleep & Will - he struggled. I can tell you this, without the RV we wouldn't last a week traveling this way.
Thursday 8/27/09 It's morning and we survived the night. I took my 3 mile walk on that wonderful trail, we had our cold cereal we brought & headed out in search of waterfalls. We have this brochure, Thundering Waters of Umpqua National Forest www.or.blm.gov/roseburg (brochure down loadable here) that shows many waterfalls along highway 138, the route to & from Crater Lake so that was our plan, see how many we can find on our way back to the RV in Sutherlin. Actually out of all the waterfalls listed we managed to see 4...our total is now 11 waterfalls. Several were rated difficult so we didn't bother with those trails. Two of them were closed because of snow damage to the trails from last winter. However, the waterfalls we saw were wonderful....Our favorite Clearwater Falls & Whitehorse Falls were great & had a beautiful hike. A very fun day but we were both exhausted when we got home. It is hot this afternoon, low 90's and the RV is warm after being closed up. I decide to wash clothes & see if my computer will work in the clubhouse as it wasn't working in the RV....bingo I can get caught up on the blog. I have been here for 4 hours & the laundry is done & so is the blog so I will sign off with much love to family & friends & very grateful for this wonderful adventure & opportunity.