Crater Lake – All that and more

We turned off the road to head to Crater Lake – the only National Park in Oregon and a site we might have skipped if not for friends’ recommendations – with less than a 1/4 tank of gas and no reservation. We hoped to stay IN the park-its campground is the closest to the lake, making access easy. But I was nervous-what if the campground was full? Our M.O. of making plans one day ahead of time does not square with the park’s online reservation system that you plan at least (a shocking) two days ahead of time. Plus-gas! We’ve been averaging 11.5 miles a gallon. Ugh.

We've been logging our mileage/fuel costs - biggest expense so far especially as we've been making tracks.

We’ve been logging our mileage/fuel costs – biggest expense so far especially as we’ve been making tracks.

We zoomed past the entrance with our national park Golden Eagle pass (a bon voyage gift from Ben and Joan – merci!) straight to the kiosk for walk ins. Score! Campsites available plus… gas pumps, located on site!  We did our circle the campground loops thing, picking out the best site and chose D loop, site 13, overlooking a lovely gorge. Temps were cold – snow / rain was in the forecast.

This is our fourth campground, and though our carefully posed photos of the others might suggest otherwise, this is the first one that really made us go WOW.

Maybe it’s the time of year – not too crowded, summer fading – but the forest is lovely, the chipmunks camera ready, and the sites were (all?) pull through rather than back in which we hadn’t seen yet. And I guess really  – and this is maybe connected to it being a national park – no road noise, far from “civilization”.

Your first view of the lake is breathtaking – clear, blue, vast.


We did a ranger talk, a hike, and the rim drive – about 22 miles.

I heard that the best things to note in a travel journal, or in photos, are the things you want to remember.

Things we want to remember about Crater Lake:
Ben: The park ranger, in his talk had us picture the people living in this area when the volcano blew – imagine your whole life a 12,000 foot mountain is a part of your landscape. Then one day – in less than 12 hours – it was gone, replaced with a 2000 foot crater (or more accurately a caldera.)

Meg: The hike up Watchman – where there is a national landmark fire watching station – still used today. With key supplies like a pencil, pencil sharpener and glass cleaner.

Firewatching station up watchman hill.

Firewatching station up watchman hill.

There were actually fires in the distance too – set by lightening, watched and controlled by firefighters. Naturally occurring fire (lightning), that doesn’t threaten human property or people, is an important part of the natural process and is allowed to burn.

At the top of the Watchman - where firefighters still look out and have been since the 30s.

At the top of the Watchman – where firefighters still look out and have been since the 30s.

We had such a great day – and a night of freezing temps as we were still missing a few parts to get the propane heater warmed up. Our gas stove warmed things up a bit and wool blankets too. Ben’s fingers nearly froze hooking up the trailer to leave in the morning.

Snow on our way out of Crater Lake the next day. ZERO visibility.

Snow on our way out of Crater Lake the next day. ZERO visibility.

Doesn’t hurt to celebrate an anniversary – and I’m currently typing/posting this while doing another FIRST: Laundry! Woot!


One last pic of the lake – they call it the phantom ship. Lovely. Like a little Airstream!IMG_0958

10 thoughts on “Crater Lake – All that and more

  1. You are amazing! I love this, Meggie!

    Happy anniversary. I hope you had an EXTRA SPECIAL crispy time in honor of your 1-week anniversary.

    I’ve been meaning to email you BECAUSE Eliza is getting so much mileage off the “vintage” (as she calls it) frisbee you sent her—she is on the Ultimate Frisbee team and loving it! Not on the uber competitive one—there seem to be different levels. But she is traveling to some tournament this wknd in Vermont w/Williams this wknd. Anyway, she is doing great and just texted me to ask my high school friend, Lani, who went to Williams, if she had any other “vintage” Williams stuff from the 80s to share….ah, the olden days.

    All good here—have fun and hope to interrupt your adventures this year for a Close Up reunion of some sort.

    xo Debbie



  2. Fabulous post! Gas is super expensive there! When Trump becomes our Emperor, he’ll fix that! He’ll want to build a wall there, I bet, to keep the liberals in Portland. Ben looks very happy in that full-timing photo. Watching Project Runway and missing you. Love to you both!!


  3. This may just be my favorite post yet! Gorgeous! I wish I had been at this ranger talk too. So unbelievable to think about what used to be there. I’m loving this Oregon adventure. It’s very Goonies…

    Miss you!


  4. Congrats on the commencement of the voyage! So exciting. I’m so glad to see the first part of your trip included Crater Lake. A gem. I drove up there once in the spring the first week they reopened the roads with 15 feet of snow on either side. Can’t wait to hear about ID! BTW, we are just back from a week camping at Pisgah national Forest in NC. If your travels get you that far east and south, Davidson river campground is your spot. Safe travels.


    • Thanks Kathy!!! Love the tips…Say hey to everyone …I am typing this reply to you in an RV service center where we are getting a our trailer hitch jack replaced – so far the none of the little mishaps have been too eventful, thank goodness!


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