Saturday, November 10, 2001

Hello from Grants Pass, Oregon!

Start time: 0730

Start odometer: 24578

Weather: Beautiful sunrise, mostly clear skies, great driving and hiking weather.  Temperature 26 degrees F., up to a max of 70.


Spent the majority of the day at Crater Lake National Monument.  The weather was very cooperative, and the scenery was stunning.  Stopped this evening in Grants Pass to position myself for a visit to Oregon Caves National Monument tomorrow.  Grants Pass is another Oregon community surrounded by a multitude of recreational opportunities.  Also, the Rogue River flows through the town, providing water sport options in town.

I had another wonderful sunrise this morning, and the drive to the north entrance of  Crater Lake National Park was nice.  Once in the park, the views become more amazing.  Though the entrance road was open, the Ranger Station was not.  A board posted park information, indicating that all roads but the East Rim Road were open.  I decided to drive along the east rim as far as possible, until stopped by a gate.  No gates or chains were present at where I might expect them, so I continued to drive.  There were some snowy and icy spots, and small rock falls had to be avoided.  But the views were great, and the sounds of the wind through the trees was soothing.  It was also very peaceful, and I did not see another car on the road.  This kind of concerned me, and rightfully so.  When I finally got to the end of the East Rim Road, where it meets with the West Rim Road. I found my locked gate!  This is not the first time this has happened to me!  I pulled to the side of the road and began walking to the visitor center, which was not far away.  As I walked, I noticed a Ranger vehicle approaching the gate, so I met with him and he opened the gate for my exit.  Ranger Ken was very helpful and courteous, and his only concerns were that the gate at the north end was not closed, and how severe were the rock falls on the road.  He headed north to close the gate and "sweep" the East Rim Road of any other adventurers driving the closed road.


Click on picture for larger image, hit back button to return to this page.

111001.jpg (53325 bytes)

The winterized entrance sign to Crater!

111002.jpg (28887 bytes)

Pumice desert, from remains of Mount Mazama, the mountain that collapsed to form Crater Lake.

111003.jpg (25942 bytes)

My first view of Crater Lake!  Spectacular!

111004.jpg (24300 bytes)

Continuing around the east rim of the crater.

111005.jpg (15889 bytes)

Beautiful views in all directions.

111006.jpg (48123 bytes)

I drove to a turnoff that had this descriptive panel and the views in the following pictures.

111007.jpg (35273 bytes)

My wide angle lens shows another magnificent view!

111008.jpg (24443 bytes)

Taking time out from my drive.

111009.jpg (28146 bytes)

At 8926 feet, Mount Scott is to the east of Crater Lake.

111010.jpg (26952 bytes)

The cluster of dark, jagged rocks is known as the Phantom Ship. 


After getting through the gate, I drove to the Visitor Center.  I did my usual routine of talking with the Rangers, then seeing the video of the park.  A post office was also in the building, and I spoke with Joe Harris working there.  He was very informative, and had some very interesting pictures of snow scenes.  The center gets an average of over 44 feet of snow a year, but in 1998, received 56 feet!  One winter in the 1980s, they had a snow pack of 21 feet!  Joe mentioned the location of the park weather station behind the administrative building, which was next door.  I took a walk there to see their 21 foot tall snow measuring stick!

I continued my drive north on the West Rim Road, stopping at many of the overlooks to see the beautiful lake!

111011.jpg (61885 bytes)

The Crater Lake National Park Visitor Center.  In winter, the snow pack often reaches to upper story windows.  Normally, they should already have nine inches of snow on the ground for this date.

111012.jpg (66898 bytes)

This is the weather station located behind the administrative building.  I am standing next to the pole used to measure the snow pack.  It is twenty-one feet tall!

111013.jpg (43513 bytes)

Discovery Point, near where John Wesley Hillman first saw Crater Lake in 1853.

When I got to the intersection of the East Rim Road, I decided to drive that road to the point where it should have been closed this morning.  This is the location of the Cleetwood Cove Trail that leads to the shore of the lake.  The trail is only a mile long, but the elevation change is 700 feet.  It was a great hike, and the water felt good and cool!  

After the hike, I drove back to the south entrance.

111014.jpg (47779 bytes)

This is the entrance to the East Rim Road, now closed!  Not the way I found it this morning!

111015.jpg (74812 bytes)

These are some of the switchbacks along the Cleetwood Cove Trail, the only trail to the lakeshore.  It usually closes in early October, so I was fortunate to have access.

111016.jpg (60914 bytes)

Approaching the lake, the water colors are becoming more brilliant!

111017.jpg (37015 bytes)

A beautiful shade of blue at this section of the lake.

111018.jpg (50724 bytes)

A boat dock at the base of the trail.  Interpretive boat tours are available during the summer season.

111019.jpg (33303 bytes)

A view from the boat dock.


111020.jpg (41462 bytes)

Heading back up the trail.

111021.jpg (47107 bytes)

This is the closed gate at the south end of the East Rim Road.  This is where I had to park and walk to find a Ranger to let me out!

My drive out of the park was on Oregon Route 62, and this too was a nice drive.  They must get a lot of snow, since the poles used to mark the edge of the road were at least twenty feet tall!  The road also runs by several Forest Service recreation areas.  I stopped for two short hikes, as seen in the pictures below.  I also stopped on a bridge over two very large water pipes.  They had many leaks, as the picture indicates.

111022.jpg (40703 bytes)

All signs on this section of road were elevated as this one to allow viewing during the high snow pack!

111023.jpg (70773 bytes)

A view of Rogue Gorge.

111024.jpg (38585 bytes)

The Rogue River passing trough the narrowest portion of the gorge.

111026.jpg (34835 bytes)

At Natural Bridge, though hard to see, this is where the river water enters the cave...

111025.jpg (57686 bytes)

...And exits here, approximately 150 feet downstream.

111027.jpg (37860 bytes)

The leaking water pipes.

I may finally get to Oregon Caves in the morning.  The monument is said to be open all year except winter holidays.  Afterwards, I will head to California, and the Redwoods National Park or Lava Beds National Park.  Not sure which one I will go to first.  Thank you for visiting!


Routes traveled today: Oregon 97 - Or 138 - Crater Lake Park Roads - Or 62 - Or 234 - Or 99 - US 199

Lodging: Knights' Inn Motel 111101.jpg (26225 bytes)

This page accessed  times.

Page created by:


Copyright 2001 Igor N. Nikishin

All Rights Reserved

Pictures may be used with permission.