Friday, September 2, 2011

West Coast Road Trip - Day 3: Portland to Crescent City

We took off from Portland at dawn knowing we had a long day of driving ahead of us. Though we had mostly planned to stay on the coast during our trip, we wanted to venture inland to see one sight, Crater Lake National Park

A few hours into our trip, we stopped in Eugene, Oregon for a bathroom break at Cheshire Ave Park. We decided to take a little tour of Eugene. I want to move to Eugene, Oregon. Such a cute little town, not far from the mountains, not far from the beach, and only a short drive to Portland. Perfection. Also, we found VooDoo Doughnut Eugene. There was no line at all, so we picked up a few tasty treats and headed back on the road.

About three minutes into our trip, we decided it was doughnut time. We shared a Mango Tango doughnut, which was glazed with frosting sprinkled with Tang and filled with mango jelly.

Next, we shared a Cocoa Puffs doughnut which was devils food cake, glazed with chocolate frosting, and topped with Cocoa Puffs. Kind of sickening sweet, but the best doughnuts are.

In addition to the delicious doughnuts, the drive took us past a lot of great scenery including tall trees, blue skies, and snow capped mountains. Oregon is great!

After a few hours of driving we arrived at Crater Lake National Park and headed in to the caldera.

We drove along Rim Road, and took the first scenic pull off that we could find. Don't adjust your monitor, this is really what it looked like. I promise, I didn't adjust the brightness or color of this photo. It was that gorgeous.

We found that the car made a great tripod, so we even got a few good pictures of the two of us, something that never happens on our vacations.

One more shot of just the water and skies, and we were off to do some hiking.

There are sixteen hiking trails in Crater Lake National Park. They range from easy, thirty-minute strolls to strenuous 5-6 hour climbing adventures. We decided to start with Cleetwood Cove because it is the only way to reach the shore of Crater Lake and we wanted to do a little swimming.

On our way down to Cleetwood Cove, we got a real taste of the intense blueness of Crater Lake. Up until we arrived in Seattle, we didn’t know much about how the crater was formed. Turns out, it was not from a giant asteroid or meteor as we had thought. 

Our bartender in Seattle told us that Crater Lake was once a volcano, Mount Mazama to be exact. Then 7,700 years ago it erupted and completely imploded on itself. Rain and snow filled the crater and formed the lake, which has no tributaries making it a closed ecosystem and one of the cleanest lakes in the world.

In addition to being one of the cleanest, it is also one of the coldest lakes, at least in our opinion. With 8-9 months of ice and snow, the water only reaches about 38 degrees at its warmest.

But hey, what are you going to do.

When else do you have the chance to swim in a crater?

The way back up was strenuous, but we made it in one piece and headed back to the car to continue our drive around Rim Road.

On the way out of the park, we stopped to see the Phantom Ship floating in Danger Bay.

After visiting the lake, we headed back out on the road. We stopped for some dinner before crossing the border in to Crescent City California where we set up shop for the night at the Crescent City Beach Motel