Crater Lake + nice surprises

“It’s time to go,” says Travis, so here goes:

Crater Lake National Park was underwhelming for us — this was partially our fault, and partially the fault of mother nature. We left Portland, Oregon early afternoon and weren’t slated to hit Crater Lake until around 5pm. This would have been fine on a normal day, but yesterday became increasingly overcast as we drove towards the park. This, combined with the low sun, made everything quite grey and dull without much hope of a good sunset. The north entrance to the park was closed off, either due to construction or wildfires (there were conflicting reports), so we had to drive around the park to the south side.

Once we entered the park we chose to drive the 33 mile looping rim trail, stopping at various scenic overlooks. After the first two overlooks, everything started to look very similar–the central island volcano was either closer or farther from the road and the sky had varying cloud patterns of grey and yellowy-orange. We would have liked to take one of the mile-long hikes down to the lake, but it was getting dark and the mosquitoes were out in full force. I will admit, the water was still impressively blue despite the general greyness of the atmosphere, and the weather was a tolerable mid-60s to low 70s which is a vast improvement over the 100+ of Portland. The main issue, of course, was timing — we would have liked to spend more time at Crater Lake, so what we managed to see in our short time there did not live up to what we would have liked to see. Plus I blame the rain.

After successfully driving a loop of the entire Crater Lake National Park, we decided to continue on our merry way towards Medford, OR. We were not expecting to find anything interesting between here and there, but it turns out we were mistaken. We stopped at the Rogue Gorge because we saw the the waterfall on the side of the road — the evening lighting situation turned out to be perfect for the smooth flow-y water look I usually struggle to achieve midday. It had rained recently, so the ground was damp and the plants were covered with drops of dew. Mild fog started to rise from the river, which combined with the orange-pink color of the sunset proved to be quite peaceful. We stayed at the site for over an hour, first taking pictures of the river falls and flora, and then moving on to the canyon gorge itself. By the time we had finished, it was 9pm and we were still miles outside of Medford, with no dinner and no place to sleep.

We finally recommenced our trip to Medford, our thoughts of getting a sit-down meal vanished and we debated whether McDonald’s or Carl’s Jr. sounded more appealing. Unfortunately, our plans were again delayed when we looked off the side of the road into the distance and saw a giant yellow flame spewing smoke into the sky. A forest fire! We quickly drove to the closest vantage point where I snapped a few pictures while Travis waited hungrily in the car. After a few minutes of pictures he decided it was time to go, so I hopped back into the car and we completed our drive to Medford, arriving shortly after Travis’ Dodgers finally lost to St. Louis in the 15th inning. I think the only reason I was allowed to take so many photography detours yesterday evening was the 5+ hour baseball game on sports radio.

And now, my blog has taken 20 minutes longer to write than Travis would have liked, so it’s really time to leave. Onwards to California!

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