Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Highways 230 and 62 South

We had left our return to California route up in the air until the very last minute.  After a quick morning coffee we took off on Highway 230 through the Rogue River National Forest.  It wasn’t long before we pasted the Highway 62 entrance to Crater Lake.

On my map it looks like the headwaters of the Rogue River begin on the south face of Mt Bailey west of Diamond Lake.  We saw it first just up stream of  the Rogue River Gorge. (I’m just amazed to see so much water in September).

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The Gorge is a stretch of the Rogue that cascades through a narrow channel of basalt lava.  There is a cave on the west wall that is the end of a lava tube.  I wonder is water ever flows through it now?

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The Union Creek Resort would be a fun place to stay in this area. 

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There are several easy day hikes along the river.

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Or chairs to spend an afternoon reading in the sun on the porch!

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We were ahead of the fall leaves this trip, but did some some pretty dog woods near the Natural Bridge trail.

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Also cool moss.

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The maples in this forest have tiny leaves. More like what we use for landscape plants in our area.

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We continued south on back roads through Prospect to Butte Falls,  finally meeting Highway 140.  Didn’t find the Brown Lava Flow,  but it was a fun drive anyway!

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Crater Lake

We continued north on Highway 97 to enter Crater Lake National Park via the South Entrance.  I was looking for the typical big park service sign (like Yosemite) so completely missed the south side sign!

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Even though the Visitor Center was very busy, the Park Service employees were all so friendly and helpful. (At a lodge we would visit later, the employees were counting down the hours until they closed for the season).  Be sure to notice the size of the rocks the CCC used in construction of the Visitor Center and the Admin building (the second photo).   These may be my favorite CCC projects yet.

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Crater Lake was surreal to me.  It looks just like all the post cards I have seen over the years.  I could not wrap myself around it. Here’s Wizard Island, a small volcano inside Crater Lake.

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The cone at the top of Wizard Island with the trees dying from a disease. Too bad!  It’s possible to hike around the island when the boat tour makes a stop there.

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This is the northwest shore.  The sides of the crater are very steep, the only place to hike down is to Cleetwood Cove where the boat launches.

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It was a bit overcast and cloudy when we were there.  Don’t know if the colors in the rock (or the blue of the water) would be brighter or not on a sunny day, but were very beautiful this day.

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Lunch in the lodge was wonderful.  We waited on the back porch that seems to sit right on the edge of the crater.  (It’s very like sitting on the patio of the Chalet overlooking Hetchy).

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The lodge was built in 1923,  not sure if this is was a CCC project.

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The view from the back porch of the lodge.

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The Watchman lookout tower is a 1 mile hike from the Rim Road. It got it’s name when surveyors sounding the lake with a reel of piano wire in 1886 signaled their location with a mirror to watchers in the tower.  They recorded a depth of 1996 feet that has since been corrected by sonar to 1943 feet. Pretty close!

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Heading north out of the park is the Pumice Desert.  These trees are just finally beginning to take hold after the eruption that created Crater Lake.

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We continued on to Diamond Lake and got settled in to our motel.  I wasn’t quite finished with Crater Lake so returned to watch the sun go down.  Before I left on this trip Super Nephew S said this would be a recognizance for next year.  He was right.  Next year we can plan to spend a few days, hiking, doing the boat tour, and really getting to know the lake.  On the other hand,  I wonder if that is really possible.  One thing I know for sure, don’t wait until you are 60 years old to visit Crater Lake!

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Harvest Moon

Setting behind Table Mountain near Jamestown, CA (on the first day of fall).

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(I’ll be back to Crater Lake road trip soon!)

Klamath Falls (without the falls)

I was determined to find a map of the little town of Klamath Falls, Everyone I asked laughed and offered a map of Portland. They laughed even more when I asked where the falls were.  It wasn’t until we stopped in at the Chamber of Commerce the next morning that I found a map AND someone who knew about the falls.  As it turned out the falls are actually a series of cascades and I did get a map, but have yet to open it. 

Not to worry,  two things we did see more than made up for the falls.

Peaking out the tiny back window of the motel I saw a paved trail and  went to explore while P went to breakfast.  This is so cool!  The OC&E Woods Line State Trail.  It’s a 100 mile trail along a railroad right of way.

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This old railroad car marks the trail head.

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The trail was paved through Klamath Falls, while many miles in the country remain dirt for horse backers.  Several people were commuting to work on bikes in the section I walked that morning. (Hey Tuolumne County!  We could do this!)

OK, the next excellent find was the Favell Western Museum.  They have an outstanding collection.  The three references to this museum that I had read before visiting gave no clue to the extensive collections. So many arrow heads (60,000!).  An amazing ‘fire opal’ arrowhead that is housed in the vault.  Outstanding art work and photography.  No pictures inside so you will just have to visit.  Trust me, this is a destination.

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There is more to see in Klamath Falls.  I want to go back soon.  Here is a peak at a Victorian in the neighborhood.

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And the picket fence out front.

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Burney Falls State Park (and Weed)

Here was another case of happy serendipity.  I didn’t plan (or even think) about visiting Burney Falls but there they were right on our route to Carter Lake!

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The trail to the pool at the bottom of the falls was closed for construction.  Of course that means another trip, and there is a great campground.

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A quick stop in Weed for gas and coffee offered a cool shot of Mt Shasta.

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Sock Monkeys

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First Stop….Lassen

A chance remark to friends that I wanted to visit Carter Lake resulted in a great adventure and fun road trip last week.  P and I convoyed to Redding where we left her car, then stayed over nite in Anderson.  The next morning we headed east on Highway 36 out of Red Bluff to Lassen Volcanic National Park.

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Lassen is a fascinating park of 106, 372 acres.  It has volcanoes, lava flows, fumaroles, boiling spring and boiling mud pots.

In the Visitor’s Center there is a big relief map of the park with those cool little lights that identify points of interest when you push a button.  A ring of little white lights with the Visitor’s Center in the middle was a spooky reminder that we were standing in the middle of the  very, very ancient (and huge) volcano….. Mount Tehama. Really it makes Lassen look like a baby volcano!

An excellent video tells about the four different kinds of volcanoes in the area.  And the fantastic story of B. F. Loomis who (with his wife!) photographed the last eruption of Mount Lassen in 1914..

Brokeoff Mountain looms over the Visitor Center.

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These steam vents and boiling mud pots are right along the edge of the main road that travels through the center of the park.

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Peak overlooks the entire park.  It’s a five mile hike to the top with a 2000 foot elevation gain. 

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We decided to hike to King Creek Falls instead.  It was so nice to see green grass again, and even some wild flowers.

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The first  1/2 mile or so followed the creek until it dropped of the side of the mountain.  The trail went through this little notch…….

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……and down this steep mountain.  P was waiting at the top and I soon turned back along with some other hikers.  This was a trail for a mountain goat, not me!

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So, instead of falls, we hiked back up the creek to the ‘cascades’.

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B.F. Loomis was instrumental in the establishment of Lassen as a National Park and he built a museum  at the north entrance to the park. The family residence next door is an an admin office.

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OK, so the eruption got off to a slow start and that gave  Loomis time to set up his photography equipment.  He and his wife waited a day or so for the main event that resulted in a series of spectacular photographs.  (I am awe of their dedication to stay this close to the volcano!)

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Loomis was so dedicated to educating the public that he installed a seismograph at the museum.

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A plague at the museum has a nice inscription for Mather. (I can’t read it on my tiny monitor, but I hope you can!)

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At Manzanita Lake on the northern boundary there is a campground, store, and new cabins.  It will be a great home base for future adventures in Lassen.

(Note….my auntie (and family) lived in Anderson at Bald’s Ferry on the Sacramento River in the mid 50s…..I stayed a couple weeks with them but remember little more than the trailer, the woods, and maybe the river! She was amazed to hear about the Factory Outlets there now.)