Thursday, July 15, 2010

Crater Lake

When we were in Badlands, Greg commented that, while interesting, the park was not magnificent. To him, magnificent meant something that was overpowering, difficult to absorb at once, emotionally and/or spiritually moving, and unable to be captured by film. I didn’t really know what he meant until I visited Crater Lake. This is not a magnificent park. Yes, it is interesting and the views are pretty cool but there is nothing special about it other than the millions of mosquitoes biting you incessantly. The Ranger Program at the campsite was called “Why I find Crater Lake so Beautiful.” How much more un-magnificent can we get? So I woke up early since I had slept in the car and took a shower. Thankfully the campsite had one of those. I then decided to do the Crater Rim Road. I was STARVING but was hoping to have breakfast overlooking the Lake. I tried three different spots and was overwhelmed my mosquitoes so I had to retreat to the car. It was disgusting. Even when they were not biting you they were landing and sitting on your clothes. I decided that I did not want to do the hike down to the base of the lake because of the mosquitoes.

Thankfully, I found an overlook near the trailhead that did not have mosquitoes and rescinded. I did the trail and it was the highlight of my experience there. It was about 1.5 miles each way. Down was very easy. Up was very hard. While down there I saw a little lizard which surprised me. I also took off my shoes and socks and got to dip my feet in the water. It was surprisingly warm. Well I guess technically it was cold but I expected water surrounded by snow packed cliffs to be colder than it was. Following the hike, I took a side road over to the Pinnacles which are a really neat rock formation carved by a stream. They reminded me of badlands. I took pictures but left there very quickly as well as I was swarmed by hornets and did not want to get stung. A quick stop at the gift shop on the way out enabled me to enhance my magnet collection, but that was it. I was done with Crater Lake. Maybe it’s a bit of splendor burnout, but as of now, I don’t plan to return.

The rest of my day was consumed by errands. I headed to Medford, Oregon and did laundry, had my oil changed, and refueled myself at the Hometown Buffet. It was a combo of lunch and dinner and for $10 I think I did pretty well. They actually have a surprisingly good salad bar. The oil change was rough. I needed a new cabin air filter – they showed me and it was disgusting with leaves and pine needles – and engine filter. All in all it was $101 but they were able to get the Bowdoin pine sap off of my windshield. I’d been trying to do that for months.

Once my errands were complete, I took a ride down the Redwood Highway towards – and apparently through – Redwood National Park. It was awesome to see these trees. They were magnificent in that you cannot capture them aptly on film. The road wound along the Pacific and was especially beautiful in the evening hours. Sadly this park is only staffed from 9-5 and I arrived at 5:30. So, I did not get a map and kind of just drove through on the Redwood Highway. Campsites were $35! That is crazy! So, I opted for the $50 Motel 6 down in Arcata. TripAdvisor said it was a sketchy place. They were wrong. It had a comfortable bed, a warm shower, and TV. What they should have said is that it is full of sketchy people. That I’ll give you. I brought all of my valuables in the room with me that night!

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