We moved from Coos Bay to Prospect, OR last Friday, a distance of 200 miles eastward, and are at the Crater Lake Campground in Prospect, about 35 miles southwest of Crater Lake National Park.
Upon check-in, the owner showed us several sites from which to choose, and also gave us several maps of day excursions. We have been busy hiking 7 to 10 miles per day to the many waterfalls and historic sites in the area. Our travel to Crater Lake National Park has been postponed until later in the week when the weather improves. It is raining today, and there is a 50% chance tomorrow. Numerous late Spring snows have left all but one road to Crater Lake closed, and the Rogue River right behind us is flowing bank to bank, as the Spring melt continues. (As usual, click on any image to enlarge.)
The following morning we awoke to a brisk 42 degrees, and light rain. After our usual morning ritual, and the rain tapering off, we made our way to Pearsoney Falls and the Gorge lookout, one of the many outings given to us by Jim, the owner, and after a short two mile drive, we arrived.
The drive was short, but the hike was not. There were actually numerous falls as we trekked down the well traveled trail. We only encountered 3 other people on our outing, but it was apparent the trail gets lots of action, or is very well maintained by the locals. We had now been on the trail for almost two hours, and it started to rain, so fearing we would melt, made our way back “home”.
The rain continued, off and on, for the remainder of the day. The predictions were more of the same for the following day. Luckily for us, we at least had DirecTV, thanks to the owner, Jim, installing numerous dishes around the campground; as there was no way our Kingdome satellite system would operate as heavily treed as the area was. We were both getting a case of cabin fever, after the second day inside. We had time to reflect on our trip through the dry desert this Spring, and decided a day or two of sky juice was not such a bad thing; for without it, there would be no waterfalls or lakes to visit.
The weather finally cleared and we were able to continue our exploration of the area. Today it was Mill Creek and Barr Creek Falls, both descending into the Rogue River.
The view of Mill Creek Falls was so heavily obstructed by vegetation, it was difficult to get a good picture, and the few I did take, did not turn out very well. But Barr Creek Falls was very similar, and we had a great view across the canyon from a rock outcropping high on the rim. The 2 mile hike back to the parking lot was fairly steep in some areas, but we took our time and enjoyed the beautiful scenery along the way.
After a light lunch back at the rig, we ventured northward on Hwy 62 about 10 miles, just south of Union Creek, OR, to Natural Bridge, a geological anomaly.
With the spring thaw around Crater Lake underway, the river was actually flowing over the natural bridge, located upstream in the center of the picture below, which is visible when flow rates diminish. As interesting as it was, we would definitely like to return again one day, later in the year, and see the “Natural Bridge”.
This photo, taken right above the inlet, looking downstream.
Here is a You Tube video, that illustrates the river later in the season.
Today we hiked about 8 – 10 miles, and by the time we returned to the rig, our dogs were barking, and it was definitely “Happy Hour”.
Finally the weather has cooperated, and we are able to make the trip to Crater Lake. The campground is about 2,580 feet above sea level, and the climb to Crater Lake will have us around 7,000 feet. The rains we have experienced in the past few days, undoubtedly left snow at the lake. As we reached mile high, there was definitely snow. The west entrance to the park is the only one open at this time, and it was an easy 35 mile drive from Crater Lake Campground.
A massive volcanic eruption 7,700 years ago left a deep basin in the place where a mountain peak once stood. Centuries of rain and melting snow filled the basin, forming a 2,000 foot deep blue lake whose waters are of unmatched clarity and color. It is the deepest lake in the United States. It is 6.02 miles at its widest and 4.54 miles at the narrowest.
This was definitely worth the wait. CC and I would have to rate it in our Top 10 places to visit in the United States. Pictures alone do not do it justice; our sincerest thanks to Claire for pushing us eastward from our coastal journey, to experience the majesty of Crater Lake.
From here, we will move to the Bend, OR area. We started our spring journey traveling across the great deserts of the Southwest and crossed into the fruitful valleys of California, with day trips to the Giant Sequoia and Yosemite. Then it was up the 101 to take in the coast and the Redwoods. A change in scenery is in order, and we counting on the semi-arid valley of central Oregon to deliver.