Yesterday morning, as I write this, I headed out with my mum and one of my friends to go to Crater Lake, which I had never seen . We went South, making good time along the way, and took SR-58 from just south of Eugene-Springfield to US-97. The route was generally peaceful, and there were enough passing lanes to keep most of the drivers satisfied as we passed by the gorgeous waters of the Middle Fork of the Willamette and eventually over many other creeks and rivers as well before making the pass at around 5,000 feet and crossing into the drier country beyond. We only spent a bit of time on US-97, noting the humility of some of the business owners claiming to have the best food on the whole highway before turning off onto SR-138 and entering Crater Lake via the north entrance. After a lengthy line of vehicles to get to the entrance gate, it was clear to see that cash-paying customers had a much faster time entering into the park, something to note.
Seeing a great deal of hard-packed snow still on the side of the road in many places, which led at one point to seeing a girl in shorts and a t-shirt being pulled on a sled by her father and brother, and to many other people throwing snowballs at each other, and a lot of people parked at the north intersection, I figured it may be less crowded to travel along the east rim of the lake, where there were indeed parking places to be found at various overlooks and where I took some photos of the lake and its surroundings with my cell phone. At some point I would like to add these photos here and share them as well, but for the meantime I will content myself to write about it. The lake was gorgeous, dark indigo blue, with stark cliffs around the side, and friendly chipmunks as well as the sound of Chinese and Hindi from fellow tourists, some with striking telephoto lenses, some with digital cameras, and most taking photographs on their smartphones. After having made several stops to take photographs and to explore some of the more gently sloping areas to the edge of the cliff to note odd colors in the water, including some bands of a sulfurous yellow, we found the eastern rim road to be closed as it approached Mt. Scott, and so we had to retrace our path and make our way down the lake along the crowded western rim.
Once we made our way to the Rim Village, one of our party wanted to stop to eat a late lunch. Parking was difficult to find and I was fortunate that my parking vulture skills acquired from being a graduate student at the University of South Florida  had not failed me. The mass of people around the rim waiting for the cafe was intense, so the decision was made to test out the restaurant at the lodge nearby upon chatting with one of the gift shop staff. After drinking some water, as I was a bit dehydrated, my mum and I walked back to retrieve some items. I went to get a book to read because our reservation was made for 5:45 and did not want to waste the wait, and my mum was a bit chilly because the breeze off of the lake was picking up so she got an additional layer to wear. During the course of the waiting and while waiting for the courses to arrive for the dinner I finished reading the book  while enjoying some tea. The restaurant at the lodge was a bit spendy but the company was pleasant and the service merely average, although the food was tasty–the Crater Lake Greens with a marionberry vinaigrette, apple slices, blue cheese, and hazelnuts was very tasty and the chicken breast stuffed with cheese and herbs over rice pilaf was delicious as well. By that time, though, it was late and we were tired, so we drove away.
In retrospect, I am glad that I had arranged for us to spend the night in Roseburg rather than push on to the coast. After all, it was after 7PM by the time we departed Crater Lake after some hairpin turns and then made our way down SR-62 to SR-230 and back up to SR-138 and headed towards Roseburg, and it was almost 10PM by the time we made our way through the woods and through downtown Roseburg to I-5 and up to northern Roseburg where our hotel was. The lady at the front desk had a somewhat large dog, and had said something about not being able to have kids, and was a bit distracted between the various guests and people calling on the phone, but the end result was that we ended up being able to relax and get ready for bed. I did a bit of writing and then went to sleep myself. And now, I must get ready for us to head off too on another somewhat leisurely trip up the coast.
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