Crater Lake – absolutely incredible

12 August 2018

That naughty four year old didn’t fall asleep until 23:30!! She was chatting to herself, reading her book to her Gang and playing with her new torch. Needless to say, she didn’t wake until 09:30.

It was chilly when we woke up. The roof window had been open during the night and the temperature really drops here, so it took a while for me and Ian to persuade ourselves out of the warmth of our bed, until we realised how beautiful and warm it was outside!

I put on my running kit with good intentions, and although Ian suggested I should go straight out, I decided that I wanted to run the first part of our route around Crater Lake, so had a yoghurt and granola and waited for Cornelia to wake up. Procrastination at its finest…!

After Bugsy had had her breakfast, we set off to circumnavigate Crater Lake. I was running the first part and agreed to meet them at Sun Notch, about eight miles away. We had no idea of the terrain elevation and consequently I had no idea how long it would take. And I had no idea how often I would stop to take photos of the stunning landscapes! As it turned out…quite a few times!

I had also not allowed for the effect running at over 2000m would have on me! It was hot, hilly (over 1300ft of elevation in 8.5 miles) and hazy from the smoke drifting around. But it was utterly fantastic and I couldn’t stop grinning, even when the hills became too much and I had to take a short walking break. Ian and Bugsy met me along the route twice, and the second time Ian asked if I wanted to carry on (we’d agreed that I would run anything between six and ten miles depending on where that took me and how I was feeling). I was only just over a mile away from Sun Notch, which is where I had originally planned to meet them, so said I would carry on there, even though the 1.5 mile hill I had just climbed had taken it out of me a bit. Little did I know that the next mile and a bit was all uphill!! I was bloody knackered but full of post-running endorphins and was a gloriously happy sweaty mummy!

Cornelia and Daddy had been waiting very patiently for me, and I cooled down by walking the short distance up to the view points of Sun Notch. It was our first siting if Crater Lake and we were blown away. Neither my words nor my photos do it justice. Unspoilt by the smoke of yesterday, we had crystal clear skies far into the distance, with the surreal blue still water of the lake reflecting the mountains in it perfectly.

Whilst we were admiring the vista, a couple standing next to us asked if we were from Australia. He misheard my response of “England” and apologised saying “I know how much you guys hate that!”, and followed up by telling us how wonderful New Zealand was and how they really wanted to go… I should point out that both Cornelia and I were wearing Ironman UK t-shirts with Union Jacks… Our accent is completely alien to a lot of Americans!!

Our next stop was The Pinnacles where we had a quick lunch in the RV, playing tic tac toe, before walking the short trail. The Pinnacles are amazing. They are natural lava spires jutting out of the valley, formed from vents in the lava flow which remained after the softer surrounding pumice had eroded. The best pinnacles were actually at the start, and the walk we did was a slight anti climax as there wasn’t anything more really to see. Cornelia amused herself and us (and passers by) with a very dramatic Snow White play, and somehow managed to end up with a very dusty bottom!

Her good walking earned her a refuelling snack of raisins and iced biscuits as she needed more energy for our final stop of the day: Cleetwood Cove.

This is a 1.1 mile hike down a steep dusty hill, with nine switchbacks (Ian counted!) gradually taking you down to the edge of Crater Lake where you are allowed to swim. It is breathtakingly beautiful and would have been a completely serene and peaceful place were it not for us and the dozens of other tourists who had made the trip down there!.

There was a spot for jumping off the rocks and into the water and although I felt “quite” nervous, I asked Ian to record me doing it, so I wouldn’t be able to change my mind! It was about eight metres, and I counted to three and in I went… and Ian missed the jump! See video below. Just too funny!!!

Anyway, it was exhilarating beyond words, as was the swim around the rocks to meet Ian and Bugsy. The water is so pure and clear.

Cornelia dangled her feet in, then decided she wanted to swim so we stripped her off ready for a dip. Weirdly she had stuck a sticker right over one of her boobies and Ian had the painstaking task of ripping it off… guess she won’t do that again anytime soon! Sticker-free, I helped her edge in. But it was too cold for her and she squealed that she wanted to get out. It was about 15 degrees, so I can understand how it may have been a little to fresh for her liking!

I swam around again for a bit then got out, conscious that time was ticking away. Cornelia and I threw small rocks into the water to watch the concentric ripples for a bit with the still-naked child then we both dressed ready to climb back up the hillside. She walked the first bit, but then it was time for Ian’s workout of the day… he carried Cornelia on his shoulders, with his rucksack on his back, all the way back up to the top. We stomped up quite quickly and overtook a lot of people who were really struggling. It’s not often I feel very fit, but this was one of those moments! There was a group of teens walking back up with music blaring, so although we felt very fit, we also felt very old and grumbly about the music spoiling the serenity of the place. Anyway , at least we overtook them and left them behind eventually!

We didn’t leave Crater Lake until 18:00, so we knew it would be hard work getting to Bend, 90+ miles away, without Cornelia falling asleep. Bless her, she stayed awake, reading her activity book, but as we pulled in to Crescent to refuel, her “splat ball” burst, splashing its watery insides everywhere and reducing poor old Bugsy to tears. I mopped up as best as I could, whilst trying to calm her down. It took about five minutes and a big Mumpa cuddle carry for that to happen, but as we entered “Mohawk” in Crescent for dinner, her tears finally ceased and we were able to be seated in peace!

What a quirky place it was! Not my cup of tea, in terms of the epic amounts of taxidermy “trophies” adorning the walls, but like a car accident, you can’t help but look.

The waitress was very warm and welcoming and attentive to Cornelia who ordered her “cold fresh water” very politely. The meal was generous and tasty, and the beer was ice cold, so it was all good for me, despite the slight weirdness of eating surrounded by SO many dead animals!

It was dark by the time we were at Bend. Bugsy managed to annoy Ian by waving her unicorn flashing wand but what else could she do with such a magnificent opportunity??!!

We were booked into the “Holiday Motel” for the night, and had a nice big room with two double beds. Cornelia had asked me to sleep in her bed, but actually she fell asleep with no problems all by herself, so I was able to clamber into my own bed undisturbed! The air con in the room is very noisy so we didn’t turn it on during the night, which led to quite an uncomfortable airless night, but the bed was comfy, and it was lovely to have a bit of space to spread out for once!

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