Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Garfield Point Hike - Crater Lake

To escape the smoke from wildfires I headed north to Crater Lake arriving there about mid-day with plenty of time for a hike.  From my last visit I knew I wanted to do Garfield Point and the Watchman Trail.  There were so few visitors in the park that I was able to grab a shady spot for my van across from the gift shop.  It's a short walk from my parking spot to the trailhead behind the Hotel but the view is so spectacular it took me a long time to get started!  Finally headed up the hill I looked back at Wizard Island.


Straw flowers were growing in the dry rocks.


Looking up the mountain I had my eye on what I though was Garfield Point.


There were many switchbacks going up this section.  I would graciously stop for the few people coming down because it gave me a chance to rest!


By now I realized this wasn't going to be the top, but I soon forgot that when I crested the ridge to find a view of The Phantom Ship!


And then.....while I standing there just soaking it all in.....a rock side began!


It only took me a minute to recover and I zoomed in on the dust that looks like a rainbow!


Nothing like adrenaline to kick a hike back into high gear.  Farther up the trail I found the last of the summer wildflowers clinging to the cliffs and bees working their little hearts out before the snow flies.


I had passed the last hikers way before the rock slide and now had the whole mountain to myself; except for a raptor that decided to join me.  (I'll post those pics on My Bird List).  It was the most amazing thing.  He stayed with me at the top, all the way back down the trail and finally landing in a tree near the Hotel back at the trail head, contentedly hopping from branch to branch until a couple came by and scared him away!

Finally, the last section of trail;  around the hill on a gentle climb and I would be there.


Almost completely bald on top, one lone pine stood with a sign warning that it was being treated for bark beetles.  I hope it wins the battle!


Heading back down the mountain I'm surprised I didn't fall flat on my face it was so hard to keep my eyes on the trail.


At the top of the last set of switchbacks there is an old foundation;  didn't see anything explaining what it was for but whatever, it had the same old boring view.


After hanging out with my raptor friend, I snapped a pic of the hotel; jumped in my van and headed to campsite at Mazama Village.  It was a great day. : )












4 comments:

  1. All the photos were really good but the ones with the water were spectacular!

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  2. Beautiful views! I can't believe you were able to catch that rock slide...adrenaline rush for sure. Now I know what I want to do next time I'm there. Somehow I missed all the hikes last time.

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    Replies
    1. Liz, this was my third visit, and I'm still just skimming the surface.

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