We drove from the desert to Diamond Lake near Crater Lake National Park. It wasn't a long day, but a little longer than we had planned. We found a Pilot Truck Stop and topped off the tanks (both in the truck and our stomachs) and arrived at the Diamond Lake Campground in the early afternoon. As we drove in, we passed a bike trail that looked interesting, so we decided to take a quick ride to the lake before supper. A guy at the campground told us there was an 11 mile trail around the lake, but we were in no condition to do that! We would just go out for about 15 or twenty minutes to see a bit if the lake and then head home.
Well, we found it difficult to stop. Part of the trail went went right next to the lake, but other parts went through meadows and marshes. It was all very beautiful. By the time we stopped to evaluate our whereabouts, we were already over 1/3 the way around and decided to finish the circuit. This is a mountain lake and there are tall peaks on either side, but the low clouds obscured them most of the ride.
There trail was paved pretty flat with gradual elevations changes of less than 50 feet at a time. It was a beautiful afternoon and we had a great feeling of accomplishment when we finished our 11 mile journey. We weren't sore or very tired at that point.
The next day (a bit sore and tired) we drove to Crater Lake NP. After waiting in line about 15 minutes at the front gate and another 20-30 minutes for road construction inside the park, we finally made it to the rim of the crater. It was a beautiful lake and a wonderful view. We didn't go down into the crater, but even from the rim you could see that the water was so clear!
Our plan was to drive around the entire lake and take a couple excursions to points of interest just outside the park.
We drove from the northwestern rim around to the southwestern rim of the canyon to the visitor center. While there we learned part of the southern drive around the rim was closed due to rock slides. We would not be able to circle the entire lake and probably miss one of our excursions. At that point we left the park to take a few short hikes and see a couple of sites nearby. Crater lake has not inlet or outlet, but there are still many rivers nearby. We followed one down the mountain.
We ate lunch at a small cafe and then returned to the park. It was already late in the afternoon, so we decided not to drive all the way around the lake. We took our time at a few overlooks, enjoying the beauty of the pristine landscape and clear waters. We were also entertained by a few local residents. These chipmunks were everywhere. Most were too swift to catch with the camera, but a few stayed still long enough to get a shot.
On one of our hikes, we saw five small deer - two were very small fawns. Four of them them stayed well hidden in the brush, but this fellow posed for a shot while snacking on the grass.
We got this shot of a bird in a tree near the lake and didn't notice the juvenile in the background until we looked at the pictures at home. Lucky shot!
During our excursion outside the park, a fire began south of the park. From what we could tell it was about 20-30 miles away. From our viewpoint it looked like a significant fire, but it was barely a blip on the fire map and was out by the next day.
We have now crossed into northern California. We are staying for two weeks near Crescent City and plan to work and visit the redwoods here. We have already driven through one small grove and they are amazing!