September 7, 2008

Crater Lake Ride

After a Saturday full of a long training run, weekend chores and trip preparation, Ben and I headed southwest toward the only National Park in the state, Crater Lake and Diamond Lake, were we would camp for the night. Arriving at Diamond Lake, we soon discovered this to a popular destination for RVs, campers, and other gas-gusseling recreation vehicles; equipped with satellites, generators and large scale patio setups. Oh, but this did not deter us, we ventured farther around the lake, and although we were not able to escape the city of movable homes, we were able to find a nice spot just a stones throw from the lake (we got lucky, this was the last spot in the campground). With Thielsen as the backdrop, Ben and I took a refreshing and cleansing swim in Diamond Lake, cold, but refreshing, an astonished on-looker was in disbelief, but some how impressed. We capped off the night with a couple of games of cribbage and tucked in for the night.
With the sun, we were awake, packing up and ready for the day. We had breakfast lake side a small picnic area and then parked our car at the North Entrance of Crater Lake National Park. We geared up and started the climb up to the rim. 9 miles of steady uphill and we reached the lake, a brilliant blue welcomed us as the wind howled and the sky looked questionable. We were sure that the weather would bring, but we continued onward, clockwise, watching Wizard Island get smaller as we rode. A crazy gust of wind and Ben was riding down the center for road, I looked on from behind, perplexed until I too was being blown sideways. Fortunately, these gusts didn't last long and the majority of our ride was filled with blue sky, light wind and few cars. The rim road is a continuous roller coaster of steep climbs and crazy-fast descents. Both Ben and I were having a blast. We stopped for a snack at the Rim Village and were quickly reminded why we try not to spend much time in tourist destinations to which the distance from car to end point is less that 1/4 miles. We gobbles down our fig newtons, licorice and bars, refilled water bottles and headed on, a few more miles of climbing and then a killer downhill back to the car, averaging about 30 miles per hour.
Upon reaching the car and scrapping the bug guts off our sunglasses, we agreed there was no better way to see Crater Lake and are already planning a return trip, perhaps next time with an overnight stay involved.