Great day! It was a 3-hike day: 9.75 miles and probably 2000 feet elevation gain. Cloudy yet wonderful views from Mount Scott, Garfield Peak and the Rim Trail.
Because Laura learned so much from Ranger Brian at the amphitheater last night, she had to wax both poetic and insufferably about climate change and pikas, the white-bark pine, destructive pine beetles, phermones, Ranger Brian and his sense of humor, decreasing average snowfall at Crater Lake, and increasing lake temperature, no one got to sleep until 11:00pm, which means that slumbering ceased at the late hour of 7:00am.
Threatening clouds gathered sometime after our first hike’s decent, around 11. We decided to risk a 2nd hike, reasoning that “the heavy stuff wouldn’t come down for a while yet.” We gambled and won. After #2 decent, the rain started to spit and we took a lunch/blog break at the Lodge. We essentially squatted there for so long that we got to know the wait staff. Turns out this historic hotel is essentially staffed by college students, both US and international, for the season, which runs through October.
Crater Lake has a 33-mile ‘Rim Drive’ with scenic overlooks. After a late lunch, we thought to take a drive around the lake. We walked out to the car and saw mountainous dark purple clouds coming from the southwest. We gambled again, this time with a short, easy walk around part of the Rim Trail, which skirts the rim of Crater Lake and proffered new views of familiar landmarks. Rain could be seen nearby. Closer…. Closer…. Retreat!!
We were barely in front of the crowds back to the Lodge once the hail and rain started. The crowds scurried like those iconic movie rats leaving a sinking ship. We nestled into a window table to watch the storm show.
Bruised clouds, thunder and lightening over the lake make for a stunner end-of-day. It’s cocktail hour now, and once the rain lets up, we will head back to the campsite, wash off 2 days’ worth of dirt and sweat, hopefully have a campfire and then curl up, safe and dry in the van.
We were heading east tomorrow, but a quick check of the weather reveals that it will be unsettled and thunderous there, so we plan to meander our way north towards Mount Hood, via the Cascade-Lakes Scenic Highway and other scenic byways.
Goodbye, Crater Lake! We had a wonderful stay!