Prospect RV Park
Saturday, October 7, 2006 … 0 Camper Miles – Total 9,249
30 deg am, sunny and clear, low 60s
Ahhh, back to mountain elevations and cooler temperatures. The chilly temperatures in the camper this morning got our attention, so we dragged out some warmer clothing from the car. We decided on breakfast at Beckies, a small and homey restaurant. Actually, it was the ONLY place along the road on the way to Crater Lake. It’s been in operation since the early 1930s. They served a wonderful veggie omelet.
Taking the advice of campground owner, Pam, we drove to the north entrance of the park so we could get the full effect of Mt. Thielsen, a craggy volcanic core more than 9,000 ft in elevation that stands just north of the park.
Our plan was to drive the rim road counterclockwise around the lake, stopping at the visitor center in Rim Village, about a quarter of our way around the lake. Crater Lake really is everything it’s cracked up to be. It is a beautiful sight with deep blue water and a rugged, circular rim. We pretty much followed the advice of a ranger at the visitor center for the rest of our visit. We climbed the Garfield Peak Trail, a 1.7 mile, 1,010-ft climb to 8,060 ft, some 1,884 ft above lake surface. Nope, we’re STILL not used to these altitudes! But, the view was definitely worth it. This is one of the highest viewpoints around the lake and gives you one of the best views of the Phantom Ship, another bit of a volcano core that dots the area. Like Wizard Island, an island in Crater Lake, it is a small cinder cone that was produced after the formation of the lake topography. Like Yellowstone, Crater Lake is actually a caldera, the collapsed cone of a volcano that resulted when lava leaked out vents on the side of the cone. The area around the lake, including some parts of the wall of the lake, give dramatic evidence of earlier eruptions in this active, volcanic area.
We Stopped by the park’s lodge for a look-see. It’s smaller than some in the big parks, but it was restored a few years ago and appears to be very comfortable. The restaurant has a pretty good reputation and a great view, though it is a bit pricey.
Next on the list was the Pinnacles. Much of this area was buried in up to several hundred feet of pumice and ash. You can get an idea of the depth driving around the area roads. Cuts through hills are often very deep in this ash and you can pull off the road to feel just how soft it still is. The Pinnacles are the bizarre, vertical columns that are the result of fumaroles, formed after pumice and ash filled a small valley. Walls of the fumaroles were sintered by the high heat and resisted later erosion. Most of the pinnacles are hollow. We walked the easy trail to view this strange landscape.
We finished our visit by climbing to the fire station at the top of the Watchman Overlook Trail. The ranger told us it was a great place to view the sunset. Since it was full moon, we would also be able to watch the moon rise immediately after sunset. We were rewarded with a beautiful sunset, a lovely moon rise and a nice social gathering. One of the people on the trail with us was Andy from Portland who, earlier that day, had completed a 100-mile bike ride!
We got back to the campground about 8:00. Too late to cook, we settled for take-out at Prospect’s only pizza joint … pizza for Bill and a salad for Sandy.
Prospect RV Park
Sunday, October 8, 2006 … 0 Camper Miles – Total 9,249
34 deg overnight but sunny & clear, 70 deg in pm
We had a relaxing, uneventful morning while updating our notes and Bill wrote in the log for this website and Sandy wrote out post cards and notes to friends and family.
In the afternoon we again took the advice of campground owner, Pam, and took in the sights around Prospect. First stop was Rabbit Ears on the shoulder of Mount Hershberger. These are bare rock peaks jutting high into the air, remains of another old volcano core. Next was Rogue River Gorge and Natural Bridge. Here, a river rushes down ancient lava flows. In the gorge the river runs through a collapsed lava tube. Just a short distance away, the same stream disappears into another old lava tube only to reemerge a few hundred feet downstream. Examining the eroded gorge, you notice many other tubes, both open and refilled with lava.
The trail to Pearsoney Falls passes through a forest owned by the Boise Cascade folks. The falls is very pretty as is the Avenue of Giant Boulders on Mill Creek, where the trail ends. No explanation is given for the huge boulders that line the valley of Mill Creek but they are huge, rounded affairs and you hardly notice the stream running through them. Finally, we did another BC trail to Barr Creek Falls. Very high and thin, it is lovely!
Later on, Bill wrote some more while Sandy did our laundry in the local laundromat. Dinner that evening was shrimp and asparagus.