Arrived at Crater Lake Sunday Sept 16. We were here 5 nites (so 4 tourist days). The campground was a little quirky. Sites really large under pine trees, cable was Direct TV so we had to rent a converter and they had to run a line thru our window, wi-fi was sketchy at best (so I am writing this from 3G land in Sacramento), and the only place to get phone reception was in a small (very small) spot on the porch of the office (no walking or pacing while on the phone-one step in the wrong direction-meaning any direction-and the call ends). There were 3 campground hosts helping to run the place and everyone was very friendly - we liked the place. Days were in the 80's at our site and the 60's at the lake. Nights were in the low 50's. Towns around here run from about 50 to 1700 people. Eating options were a pizza place (really good pizza) across the street, a small Inn (B&B) which serves a formal dinner from 5 to 7, Becky's Cafe 10 miles down the road, or the national park Lodge or cafe. There was a small grocery in town (produce dept consisted of 3 green peppers, 4 zuchinni, a few carrots, a couple crowns of broccoli, and a small basket of potatoes and onions. Produce, dairy, meat dept, juices, etc all were contained in a small refrig unit (3 doors wide). It was a complete liquor store as well.
Crater Lake was great. Day one we did the rim drive. Lots of sharp drops (these people don't seem to believe in guard rails). Lots of overviews so you can keep your eyes on the road while driving. Lots of bike riders were on the road-note: the road goes from 500 feet above the lake to almost 1800 feet above the lake (with many many ups and downs along the way) so we give these guys a lot of credit. Two thirds of the way around the drive we came across a couple biking the rim. His bike broke a spoke (not something easy to fix on the road) so we gave them a lift. We moved everything in the back of the truck to one side and all the stuff in the back seat to the back so we could fit both the bikes and both the riders in the truck. Then the 4 of us did the rest of the rim with all the overlooks. They were from Portland and work for Intel. Michael designs computer chips, we didn't get a lot of details on Carolyn's job but part of it involves setting up internships and trying to get Oregon students interested in engineering.
Crater lake in incredibly BLUE. The water comes entirely from snow and rain. Since it has no creeks or rivers running into it there is no sediment to muck up the water. It is also very cold water so no algae or other things growing in the lake. So it is really clear and hence blue. Crater Lake gets 44 feet (that's right FEET) of snow a year on average (that is over 500 inches a year). The rim drive typically closes in Oct and doesn't open till May (depending on the weather). The lake is 6 miles across. The volcano that blew its top was another 7000 feet high I believe. It was more than 40 times the size of the explosion at Mt Saint Helens. It is incredible when you stand at an overview and can see that you are standing on the rim of a big volcanic crater.
Day 2 we drove south to the Upper Klamath Lake. It has hugh wetland areas and there were lots and lots of birds. Klamath Falls is the town at the bottom of the lake and we found a real grocery store. No good way to take good pictures here-it was very flat and wide. We had a great day.
Day 3 we drove to Diamond lake and drove part of the Umpqua Scenic Drive - pronounced Um-pok. There are many waterfalls along this route most a short hike from the road. It was very very green and cool near the falls-just the way you imagine Oregon to be.
Our last day we went back to the rim road but drove in reverse of the first time to see the views in a different light. We went by the lodge at Diamond lake and ate lunch on a patio by the lake, then went to the Rogue River gorge. We also went to a section of the river that flows into and then out of a lava tube.
So we really enjoyed Crater Lake. Next stop the Redwoods.