Sunday, October 07, 2007

Crater Lake

The deepest - and hence, the bluest - lake in the US, Crater Lake in Oregon has long been on my To-See list. The wish finally came true as we drove up to Crater Lake over the Labor Day weekend in September. It was a wonderful trip and I now feel that the lake should definitely be on the Must-See list for every nature-lover.

We stayed in the city of Medford, about an hour and a half south of Crater Lake. Day 1 was spent at the lake itself. As is usual for famous lakes (like Lake Tahoe), Crater Lake too has a rim drive that takes you around the lake. A number of lookouts afforded great views of the shimmering blue lake and some of these viewpoints gave us breathtaking views of the complete lake. Apart from the lake views, a couple of other highlights were The Pinnacles, spires of eroded ash and one of the sights unique to the lake, and Vidae Falls, a pretty waterfall very close to the road so we could clamber up the rocks to get really close to the water. The drive back to Medford runs along Rogue River for a long time and there were some picturesque views of the roaring river squeezing through some tight spots.

Since the lake itself was supposed to be for me, popular opinion was that Day 2 should be for the wife and kids. So we drove up to Roseburg to visit the Wildlife Safari. This was no African safari since the animals were restricted to the usual deer, ostrich, giraffe, etc. and the wild animals like cheetahs, bears, etc. were still behind fences. But the experience of seeing animals walking around freely and coming right upto the car windows was exciting for Kavya and Karthik and they were really thrilled. There is a small farm nearby and we also had our first elephant ride in the US there! From there we drove to a stop called Colliding Rivers - a place where 2 rivers, the Little River and the North Umpque river, meet head-on - on the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway . This was only the first highlight on the byway but that was all we had time for. Since it was the end of summer, it was more a gentle meeting than a collision of the 2 rivers, but it did provide a nice place for us to clamber on the rocks and wade in the water.

On Day 3, we visited the city of Jacksonville. There are only 8 cities designated as Historic Landmarks in the US and Jacksonville is one of them. It is one of those cute cities with historic buildings and unique shops. A bank from the 1870s was preserved and provided an interesting look at life more than a century ago. The drive back home was rather uneventful but the view of Mt. Shasta and a lake made it more interesting than the night-time drive up to the lake.

A few photos from the trip can be seen here.


At 11:42 PM, Blogger Filbert said...

Crater Lake is one amazing sight, Balaji. You should definitely plan a trip sometime in winter too. The difference in the appearance of the lake is just unbelievable. BTW,Did you get a chance to take the boat ride in the lake? Also, how would you compare Crater lake against Lake Tahoe? Just curious since I haven't been to Tahoe yet.

At 5:55 AM, Blogger prakash said...

bb, was going to type almost the exact same thing as filbert. Definitely plan a trip in winter. Only, take a 4-wheel drive. That's how I first saw it.

I hadn't even heard about the lake then. We were visiting a friend in Klamath Falls, and he said there was some lake we could go visit. So we went.

We had a normal 2-wheel drive, and it was quite a bad drive. Snowing now and then, and the roads were slippery. The ice was packed on both sides of the road, ~15 feet high. Bright colors in the ice. Snow in the mountains. And this unbelievably blue lake in between. Apparently, it never freezes 'cos it is so deep. Was an absolute stunner.

I do go back once in summer, and it was very pretty. But quite something else in winter.

At 8:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Balaji, how do you manage to find time to do all the planning for frequent trips like this, especially with 2 kids? :-)do you get help from the better half?
Also,what do you guys do for grub(which could be tough esp. for veggies) when you go to remote locations such as these?

At 8:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The water looks incredibly blue in the fotos. I dont remember seeing any thing that bluish before

At 11:07 AM, Blogger Orange Fronkey said...

I've lived in Oregon for the past 12 yrs and I'm yet to see Crater Lake! Then again half the ppl who were born here haven't been there or even to the simplest waterfalls of Oregon.

Anyways, I'm glad you enjoyed your trip! =). An ex coworker of mine was raised in Roseburg and she talked about the wildlife safari stuff. The thing is it takes 6 hrs to get to Crater lake and... I can't even stand going to less than 2 hr drive to visit my bro... bah =P.

But like the guys said above, it's a real treat during winter time and until late spring... I've seen pictures to believe LOL, not speaking by experience :D

At 7:15 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

filbert, i've seen pics of the lake in winter. can't wait to make a winter trip.

no, we didn't go down. the hike was supposed to be pretty steep and difficult and we didn't think we could do it with karthik.

crater lake is defly bluer. and the view of the whole lake is incredible. in lake tahoe there r lots of accesses to the lake shore. so thats fun too :)

prakash, from the pics i've seen i know exactly what u mean. the driving in snow is the only thing thats kept me from making the trip in winter so far. all in good time i hope :)

vijay, absolutely no help from the better half on travel. just that i love travelling - and that includes the planning too :)

and crater lake's not such a remote place. we stayed in medford with an indian restaurant just a couple of minutes away :)

and yes, i hadn't seen anything quite as blue b4 either. so quite a sight :)

merino, yeah i know exactly what u mean. we end up seeing faraway places rather than nearby spots since we feel that we can see them anytime and so we end up procrastinating :) but add this to ur list. i'm sure u'll get up with some great photos :)

At 7:41 PM, Blogger Babs said...


We have a similar place (Blue Lake city) in South Australia too called Mt. Gambier , it has a brilliant turquoise blue in summer and changes to sombre grey during winter, simply amazing. There is a smaller version there for ppl to swim as well :-)

Try and plan a trip down under, you can finish AU and NZ, may be add Fiji or Tahiti with it too.


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