Friday, October 5, 2012

Day 3&4: Crater Lake National Park

Late Friday afternoon we made it to Crater Lake National Park.  We went straight to the lake so that we could see it before the sun went down.  We were able to see it really well but our pictures didn't turn out as well as they did the next day.
This is the area surrounding the lake.

Here is the western side of Crater Lake.  That is Wizard Island in the middle.

We decided to go ahead and check into our cabin.  Somebody was so excited to get out of the car that he stood up in his car seat when Michael unbuckled him.

The cabins were actually located inside the national park.  They don't look like a lot from the outside...

but they were actually pretty nice on the inside.  The cabins get totally locked up from about June to October due to the amount of snowfall that the park receives.  From mid-October to early June the Crater Lake Lodge, the Mazama Village Cabins and campground and the north entrance are all closed due to weather.

This is the Crater Lake Lodge that overlooks the lake.  It opened in 1915.  Our first choice was to stay here but they only have 71 rooms that were all booked.  I'm sure we could have reserved a room in advance but we weren't sure how many days it was going to take us to get here!

Michael and Kellan on the porch at the lodge, overlooking the lake, waiting on our dinner reservation.

Fireplace inside the lodge.

Dinner at the Crater Lake Lodge Dining Room

This was the best dessert that I have ever had in. my. life.  It was their Tiger Cake.  I'm not exaggerating.  I was already so full from dinner and I ate all of it.  I felt sick afterwards but I didn't care, it was worth every bite.

Michael's cheesecake

Kellan slept through the entire dinner

Sleepy baby
Saturday morning we had breakfast at the restaurant in the Mazama Village.
I had a scramble that was a lot like a western omelet, hash browns, and a was all delicious!
Michael got the traditional platter, eggs, hash browns, bacon and a biscuit.
Some of the roads around the park were crazy!  They ended right ON the white line and there were no guard rails.  The road just ended right on the edge of a cliff.  I'm glad I wasn't the one driving.  Even Michael was nervous driving on those roads.
We hiked two trails inside the park.  The Pinnacles Trailhead took us by these natural chimneys that were formed during Mount Mazama's eruption that also formed Crater Lake.
The Pinnacles
This used to be another entrance to the park.  The marker is still there but the entrance is closed.  The end of the Pinnacles Trailhead takes you to the edge of the park's boundary.

Next we hiked to Plaikni Falls, a trail that opened just this year.
Kellan putting his hands in the cold water.
This waterfall is actually fed by snow melt, not runoff from the lake.
Even while you are there its hard to take in the massiveness of Crater Lake.  It is 5 miles by 6 miles and is the deepest lake in the United States.  The deep, deep water is what makes it so blue.  It is an unnatural dark blue color...beautiful!
The small island in this picture is called the Phantom Ship because at some viewpoints of the lake the island seems to disappear.  This "little" island is actually 16 stories high and as long as a football field.  That gives you some reference to how big the lake actually is. 

Wizard Island is in the middle of this picture but is seen from another side.
This other set of natural chimneys are located off to the side of the crater overlooking the lake.
There is a huge pumice field that surrounds the crater.  It is nothing but different sized pumice rock...nothing else is growing there.  Pumice is rock that got very hot under a lot of pressure and was ejected from a volcano.  The rock cools and the pressure drops quickly causing little bubbles to form throughout, giving the rocks the ability to float.  I remember learning about all of this in school but it doesn't really mean anything until you see nature in action for yourself.
My friend Kimberlee told me about these really neat Passport Books for National Parks.  Every National Park has its own stamp and in the book there are places to place your stamp, organized by region.  We thought it would be fun to start one for Kellan since this was his first trip to a national park.  This is his passport book and here is his first stamp...
We left room beside his stamp so that if he ever goes back to this same park, he has room to add on.
We left Crater Lake and headed to Mt. Hood.  Monday I will post about more of our adventures!


  1. Great pictures! I always love the beauty of that lake...the deep blue color and the way the surrounding mountains and trees reflect in the water. That was a great idea to start the passport book...I had never heard of that either! I wish I had started one for Evan when we went to Yosemite. :-(

    1. You can buy them online and there are stickers that go with each National Park. A new park is featured on a sticker each year. They were out of the Crater Lake stickers so I need to look for it online. Michael says thta you can buy the stamps online but I'm not sure if he's right about that. And then what would you do with it after you stamped the passport? Could be worth checking into if the stamp isn't too expensive.

  2. Hi Kristen! My name's Becky and I work for Eastern National (the publishers of the Passport book) and I'd love to share this post on our facebook page with your permission. I love that Kellan is starting his stamping so early!

    1. Absolutely! We can't wait for our next trip so that we can get his next stamp! Its a great way to keep a record of his travels. I'm so glad a friend told me about the passport right before our trip.

    2. Great! The post will be scheduled to go up Saturday afternoon!

  3. HI, Kristen! My name is Lauren and we also have passport looks like you guys love to travel as much as we do, and so may I suggest going ahead and upgrading Kellan to the "big" passport book? It's pricier (about $50) but you can add many more pages...we take our nieces on a national park trip every summer, and after the first trip (the coast of NC), the Southeast section of our nieces' smaller books was completely full so they begged for the bigger books. Now we spend the entire year planning our summer trip, and it's been a great bonding experience with them. We're hopeful that our 3 year old will be entranced as well...we'll see! (and yes, you can order the stickers online, through the Eastern National website; one of our nieces obsesses about getting every sticker, the other could care less!)