"Crater Lake"National Park
“Just a lake.”Chris DePauw
If you've been keeping up with our road trip then you know that we recently withstood a typhoon attack along the pacific northwest coast (the latest installment in a series of unfortunate PNW weather).
Although the rain had begun to let up as we headed for "Crater Lake", we weren't quite out of the woods yet.2 You see, we didn't realize the park was at 7000 ft. elevation, in a place where the effects of the storm lingered in a whole other type of way.
As we drove from the coast to "Crater Lake" National Park, we experienced light drizzle transforming into heavy snow, baby (dire)wolf sightings, and every road tripper's favorite sign: "ROAD CLOSED."
We wound up at Annie Creek Sno-Park, a campground we discovered on freecampsites.net. After driving around only to find most of the sites were flooded/haunted, we opted for our most recent slumber habit and slept in the car.3
parking lot campsite was only about 20 minutes from the entrance of the park. Check out the evolution of our morning drive from the sno-park to the lake...
The only thing standing between us and the 33 mile rim drive we so badly wanted to experience was this barricade and ALL OF THAT POW.
We went to the only accessible place in the park, Rim Village Cafe and Gift Shop, which served as a temporary information center for anyone brave enough to forge the storm.
Inside, we spoke to a park ranger to see if he had any recommendations on how we could possibly make our way to the lake. He shot the idea down4 and broke my tiny heart into a million little snowflakes.
"It's just a lake," Idiot Chris tried to tell me.
"JUST A LAKE?!" I screamed out, tearfully, publicly, and repeatedly.
So what were two homegrown Minnesotans, in the midst of a giant, unanticipated snow storm, to do?
Gear up and play.
Contrary to what Chris believes, “Crater Lake” is not “just a lake”.
- While “Crater Lake” National Park certainly isn’t the only dope landscape in Oregon, it is the only national park in the state.
- The lake is 1,943 feet deep, making it the deepest lake in the United States, 2nd in North America, and 9th in the world. *FUNNER FACT: If the Willis Tower in Chicago, Illinois was at the bottom of “Crater Lake”, you would still have 214 feet of water above the highest point of the tower!*
- “Crater Lake” was birthed from its 12,000 foot volcano mother, also known as Mount Mazama. She erupted and collapsed into herself about 7,700 years ago. It took an estimated 720 years to fill 4.6 TRILLION gallons of water into this caldera, now known “Crater Lake”.
- We were not aware that the national park is covered in snow roughly 8 months out of the year. Although completely unexpected, it was a fun surprise, minus not being able to see the lake. Or the road. Or really anything.
- The pristine blue color and clarity of the lake come strictly from the rain and snow. There are no streams flowing in or out of the lake, and any random water that enters is likely evaporated.
- Driving into the park at night, we didn’t get to take in the beauty of the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway, which weaves through Oregonian Wilderness along the Upper Rogue River. We did however catch a glimpse of this beautiful lake on our way out, after coming to a screeching halt and jumping out of the car to snap this photo.
Annie Creek Sno-Park, Fort Klamath, OR 97626
Scenery 3★: Prolly pretty neat but too dark and tired to see anything. Three stars for baby wolf sighting alone.
Accessibility 3★: Five stars for the parking lot, one star for the pot-holed death road into the marshy camp area.
Activities 3★: Sleeping is good. Would be five stars if we owned a snowmobile.
Food/Bev 2★: Hunt and gather only. Nearest food 30 miles.
Price 5★: FREE MY G!
Overall Dopeness Rating: 3.2★
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