Day 3 – Is it the altitude, or are we just out of shape?

Today was a day for hiking and lounging.  We woke up at 7 AM to renew our campsite reservation — they only let you do one night at a time — and didn’t need to break down camp.  With a solid breakfast of eggs and english muffins, we were off.

First, though, we needed to restock our ice and water supplies — seemingly simply needs that proved a struggle to find.  The store was out of ice and the visitor’s center was not open yet to fill our Camelbak water pouches.  Fortunately, the Crater Lake Lodge was our savior.  Not only did it have water for us, it had incredible views off its back porch.

1 - View from Lodge Deck

Our packs all filled, we drove to “Mount Scott,” a trail that would bring us to the highest peak in the park.  Reminiscent of our hike on Mt. Rainier, this trek began in some rolling meadows and even included some patches of lingering snow.

2 - Start of Hike

After a while, though, it became more of a traditional wooded hike.

3 - View of Trail

About a mile and a half in (halfway to the top), the clouds started to break and we stopped for snacks at a private little outcropping.

5 - Snack Time
Goldfish.  A must for any hike.

5b - Ally at Snack Time

The trail wrapped around the mountain for a most of its length, but every so often there were dramatic vistas alternating between Crater Lake, in one direction, and the Oregon countryside, in the other.  Each just as breathtaking as the last.

6 - Halfway View
Only halfway up…

 

9 - Us Mid-Hike (Green Background)

Finally, after 1,500 feet in elevation gain, and trekking what seemed an interminable 2.5 miles, we made it to the summit!  (Seriously though, we were so winded.)

7 - View from Top
Amazing views in all directions!

Given the low-key plans for the day, we took our time at the top and spent over an hour just relaxing (and catching our breath).

8b - Us at Top

We were so happy that we brought our new, lightweight chairs with us as they were definitely more inviting than the rocks everyone else were sitting on!

8c - Us at Top

Once down from the mountain, we decided to check out the rest of the scenic turnouts we had skipped the day before — and chose “Phantom Ship Overlook” for lunch.

11 - Lunch at Ghost Ship
She makes a mean PB & J.

As we were eating, a loud crack of thunder rang out! But, we were surrounded by sunny skies…  Suddenly, a man shouted and pointed to the lake’s edge — “Rockslide!”  It all happened so quickly that we didn’t get any pictures, but it was a pretty cool site to see.

11a - View from Ghost Ship
The tiny island on the left is “Phantom Ship.”  It’s the remnant of a much older cone that was subsumed by Mount Mazama before its collapse, and is now the oldest exposed rock in the park.

We also found a waterfall.

11c - Vidae Falls

Back at camp, we chose to relax with some champagne — because who doesn’t drink a little bubbly while camping?!  Thunder in the distance was a sign of incoming rain and sent us on a walk to explore the campground before we’d be forced to seek refuge in the truck or the tent.

13 - Ally Checking Clouds
Jim Cantore would be proud of this Weather Watcher.

By the time the rain passed, we were all out of champagne.  So, we decided to move on to a little frosé (for the uninitiated, that’s just a cup of rosé over crushed ice).  Thanks to Patrick’s friends Annie and Aaron — and the trusty crew at Carhartt Winery — for the libations.

14b - Frose
Note the new tent location following yesterday’s flood…

With another passing shower, we again retreated to Bullseye for shelter and took advantage of the forced downtime to do some route planning / route updating with our new 2017 Rand McNally Atlas.  There’s really nothing quite like a paper map in your hand to get ya excited about exploring the open road.

15 - Bullseye Among Trees

For dinner, we cooked up some of the last remaining pieces from Patrick’s freezer — Trader Joe’s spinach tortellini and spicy chicken sausage.  Delicious as always.  We then enjoyed a baby fire before crawling in for an early night.  Tomorrow will be a long, long day of driving.

16 - Campfire

-Ally and Patrick

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