Crater Lake Circumnavigation Photos and Trip Report

Started Jul 11, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Crater Lake Circumnavigation Photos and Trip Report
Jul 11, 2011

36.5 miles, 4000' gained, 3 night(s)

4th of July Circumnavigation of Crater Lake

The road for the Eastern half of the park is closed. However, it is plowed to Sun Notch on the SE and to Skell Head in the NE..maybe more, so, perhaps 80% road is accessible. Regulations a tad murky about backcountry camping in the shoulder season (pure winter and summer are clear).. We decide to go counter-clockwise in order to get the snow section done quick, knowing we can put out nearly unlimited road walking miles if we have to.

pictures with TR at the bottom

There were tons more photos, here is just a smattering of goodies. Only thing I am unthrilled with, is the battery life. It is poor compared to what I got out of my old canon A720IS with two lithium AA batteries -- I got oogles of pics out of that, and I could massage the batteries to give me 50 more once they started downhill. But, the trade off seems worth it. This my first picture post with the NEX, I've had it for about 2 months and taken a lot of pictures but just feel like I am getting into the flow with it. I hemmed and hawed and spent an incredible amount of time researching, almost ending up with a horrible dSLR to lug around the mountains (thank god no!!!) Tried e-pl3 but found the UI horrid and the IQ lackluster given cost/size/etc.. it was like an 'okay' point and shoot. I'd rather get an awesome point and shoot. NEX initially scared me off due to lens and no internal flash--but--it does so well in low light and flash is so small, that negates that. Then I realized I do landscape and macro way more than zoom, so, that lended support to ASP-C sensor. Then I also concluded had I bought a dSLR, I'd mostly have used the kit 35-135 zoom or whatever and not upgraded the lens anytime soon, so that spoke to not worrying too much about lenses. Very happy for this, including taking in on our honeymoon in Greece and Crete in September.

Friday: car camp off of 138 at 8pm. Got pulled over in Oakridge. 48 in 35. Nice Mr. Cop gave me a warning. Whew.. 1998 was my last speeding ticket

Saturday: Drive in via North Entrance at 7am to preview part of our route. Also to see parts of park not previously seen. Beautiful morning. Mosquitos out in force. See baby fawns near Steel center. Get permits. Start off. Snow free until massive snow machine at Sun Notch. Snow the majority from then until just beyond Cloud Cap. Lots of monster boulders on road--lots of work left it seems. Unlimited incredible, majestic views. Mosquitos really seem like they are at their peak, utterly swarming. They would indeed taper as the trip continued. Camped atop Cloud Cap. Enjoyed the fruits of our labor and the views that wouldn't quit, from Shasta to the Three Sisters.

Sunday: Cut down from Cloud Cap to road--plowed! No people until a worker near Skell Head around 11am then some people on bicycle just beyond. Lake is glassy still, and captivating to no end. Views from each direction as one goes around are worthy in their own right. Arrive at Cleetwood Clove at the moment the trail has opened to go down. Temporarily open by orders of Park Superintendent (I suppose so they could tell tourons there is something to do). Left our packs with a ranger up top directing traffic (who we had seen when getting our permits) then ran down with a mini assortment of camera, lunch, and a tshirt for me (Water). Rangers at bottom recommending doing the 18ft jump into the water as the best swimming undertaking. You could see a bit of a shelf about 35ft down, and beyond that it goes to 300ft!! Incredibly refreshing swim, jumped in twice. Inundated with foreigner/immigrant tourists (Indian, Chinese/Japanese..kind of odd, no 'mericans!'). 1300ft back up to the road, then dealing with cars until--

one of the best camp times/spots ever on Llao Rock.. no words do it justice. Finished off the rest of the Patron Coffee Liqueur I brought along.. plenty of photography

Monday: Decent quickly to North Rim junction. Hightail it beyond throngs of tourons to Rim Village. Attempt to hit up folks there for a hitch down 3 miles to Steel center. No luck after 4 tries, so, road walk it is. To the car by 1pm. Hangout back at rim village having some snacks and decompressing. Fish on Rogue River a bit on way home. Eat at Steelhead Brewery in Eugene.

Trip for the ages. Highly recommend everyone attempt to go around Crater Lake on foot/skis/snowshoes/etc.. Not a car.

Definitely a new favorite, and, thrilled that the gem of a park is in our state.

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