Thursday, July 15, 2010

July 11

Today was a day of driving. I went from Ponderay Idaho to Crater Lake in California. The drive was amazing and there was only one time where it got boring and I realized how tired that I was. I started out in the forested rolling hills of Idaho’s chimney. This is a surprisingly affluent area with many nice stores and restaurants. It appears as if this is a suburb of Spokane. However, I must say that Spokane was a disappointing city. It looks like a worn out mill city in the post mill age. After leaving Spokane I broke out into the desert component of Washington State. Sweeping grasslands encompassed my whole view from the road. Then, out of nowhere, I saw a snow capped peak. I think that this was Mount Hood. As I descended into the Columbia River Gorge the views continued to be spectacular but I also started to get quite tired. I was getting close to falling asleep so I stopped at a Pilot rest stop and walked around a bit. This refreshed me and I headed onto Oregon 97 South. This road is called the road of then and now. It could not be a more accurate description. There are abandoned homes, gas stations, restraints, ranches, etc. This is all set with the backdrop of new wind power generation along the edge of the road. You can also see three snow capped peaks in the distance over the rolling wheat and grasslands. Then the road descends sharply into a valley which houses {MESA?) – a surprisingly big town. I gassed up here and bought a few groceries. Then I started to enter National Forests. One of them was a volcanic site with lava flows and the rest of them featured consistently rising elevations and increasing amounts of Ponderosa Pines. These trees space themselves nicely along the land. To be honest, I did not pay much attention to the national forest area as Bill Bordak called and I was preoccupied driving and talking on the phone.

Then after 10 hours of driving, I turned onto Crater Lake Access Road. This place is remote and very high. Most of the area surrounding the lake is still covered in feet of snow. The roads have no margin of error and frankly freak me out driving on them as there are 50 foot drops merely one foot away from the white line. I took a few pictures and then decided to head to Mazama Village to try to secure a camping site at the campground for the evening.

As it turns out there were plenty of sites available which kind of makes me wish that I had remained at the lake longer to take photos and see the sunset. The lake is surreal in that the water level is so far from the edges. I am excited about hiking down to it tomorrow. However, I am not sure if I am going to go for a dip. Then again they only have cold showers at the campground so I think I might as well enjoy the novelty of Crater Lake if I am going to be freezing.

As I waited in line to get a campsite the mosquitoes came out in force. I had to borrow bug spray from the woman behind me in line because I was getting eaten alive. Once I had my site, I started to set up my tent but was getting swarmed with mosquitoes and frankly gave up. It was not worth sleeping in the tent tonight. I am going to just sleep in the car (which also filled with mosquitoes as I brought the tent in and out of it. I think I killed most of them (about 30) and I am exhausted so I am getting ready for bed. The plan for tomorrow is to do the park loop road here as well as hike down to the base of the lake before heading to Redwood National Park in the afternoon. Of course since I have no reservations for this leg of the trip, it is all quite flexible and could change depending on what interesting things I discover.

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