We have been SO glad we took an extra day here. Yesterday was so nice to just stay in one place. I put in about 4 hours work, Tim did a few hours work as well, and we played lots of games with the kids! It was perfect for marking the halfway point of our trip. While we were getting ready to go to Crater Lake this morning, the boys took a brief hike into the woods out back here, just to get primed, so Nicole snapped this picture as they headed out to face the dangers of the unknown. They came back reporting only several bug sightings and lots of trees, but they had a great time and were ready to conquer the Great Crater Lake!
We drove the almost 2 hours to Crater Lake eager for the adventure after taking a day "off" so to speak. As we entered the park, we started noticing snow, and then more snow, and then lots of snow! So we finally parked and got out for some rigorous snowball fighting, and then Nicole demonstrated her conquering of the mighty snowball mountain (at least, to us Floridians it was like a mountain!)
Then it was time to see the lake. We didn't realize we could have walked a few steps from the parking lot we were in over to a ridge and seen it (you'll see some pictures of that spot further down), so we got in our car and started driving around the rim. We rounded a bend and the sight literally took my breath away! I just kept saying, "Wow!" It is the deepest blue I have ever seen in a body of water. It has no rivers running to or from it - it is completely made by snow run off. It is actually a collapsed volcano! Here are just a couple shots of our first views of it:
There is only one place where you are authorized to go down to the lake, and so we drove to the parking lot there and proceeded to take the 1.1 mile 'strenuous' hike down. I snapped this picture of the boys on the way down - are they a motley crew or what? :-) They had to have their walking sticks, and Tim brought his fishing gear because you can fish at Crater Lake with no fishing license and catch as much as you want! Can you see how clear the water is? And we were still pretty high up! (We talked to a couple of park people who said they fill their cooler full of the water every day and drink from it, but they don't advertise you can drink from it just in case someone did get sick and sue them. But we drank the water and it was delicious!)
We finally made it to the bottom and grabbed some lunch before continuing our exploration. Then, Dad and the boys went one way to go fishing, and Nicole and I went the other way in search of the 15 foot drop into the lake we had heard about. Nicole was actaully thinking of going in! However, once we got there and she saw she would have quite an audience due to the amount of people there (about 20), she opted out. I really can't blame her, but more because of how COLD it was! I did snap this picture of one of the people jumping in, and it came out so good (from my cell phone no less) I just had to include it here.
We made the trek over to see how the boys were doing, and it was quite a long trip across rocks and dirt. Here are some pictures from the rest of our time by the lake:
Nicole and I started out for the car first, and it really was a strenuous 1.1 mile hike back up (at least for me!!)! But we finally made it back up, and then the boys gave up their fishing quest (no, they didn't get any). You couldn't use live bait, only lures, so I think that was their excuse for not catching anything. :-) We piled into the car and drove back to the snowball fight place so that they could try to build snowmen, but their hands got so cold they finally gave up. But I noticed that ridge I told you about earlier and walked up it and had to get a family photo there. Enjoy! Tomorrow we take off for Mt. Rainier!
Tim & Jodie