Part Three – Crater Lake

We were shaken out of our sleeping bags Thursday Morning by claps of thunder so loud they shook the tent. While the kids were a bit scared – especially Elizabeth – ever since she was a little girl she has been extremely sensitive to loud noises, and this thunder was LOUD – Paul and I found it rather exciting. I have always enjoyed thunder and lightning a great deal, so I looked at it as quite the treat. It was raining big fat drops as we raced to the bathroom and flung all the kids in the car. It would be another makeshift breakfast in the car on the road as we drove down to Crater Lake. Thunder accompanied a good part of our drive as lightning trees lit the sky around us. Of sourse we did start getting nervous when I began counting between the lightning and the thunder – “One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand-” CRACK!!!! The stuff was right on top of us.

It wasn’t too long though before we had driven out of the storm and by the time we got to Crater Lake (two hours away from our campground) it was a bright sunny, warm day. We drove into the park and got our first glimpse of Crater Lake at the first viewpoint we found.
Crater Lake

View from Crater Lake

The Fam

Tree clinging to life

Crater Lake

There was still a lot of snow, and the kids insisted we stop along the road.

Our first major e vent of the day was climbing Watchman Peak.
Watchman Peak

It was only 3/4 mile up the trail to the peak, but in that 3/4 mile you climbed 420 ft. Paul slung the baby on his back and we started hiking up the trail.
Starting off up Watchman Peak

Right off the bat we found more snow – Jacob had fun throwing snowballs at me 🙂
Playing in the Snow along Watchman Peak Trail

After we played a bit, the real work began.
A hiking we go - Watchman Peak

Climbing Watchman Peak

The the hiking was hard work the views we were awarded with along the way were amazing.
View along Watchman Peak trail

Jacob especially had a hard time towards the top, granted he is only three years old and managed to climb to the top – but more than that we realized as we enjoyed the spectacular views – he’s a three year old with a heart defect! We wondered if the high altitude and the strenuous climb made it more difficult for him. Anyway, I was impressed with all the kids, but especially my little brave heart. 🙂
Watchman Peak

Another neat thing was that at the top of the peak we met a 28 year old lady who had recently recovered from brain surgery, AND had had heart surgery as an infant to repair an ASD. It was cool to chat with her – she was very impressed with Jacob’s climb too – and to once again see what wonderful and full lives these little brave hearts can grow to enjoy.

The view of Wizard Island and the surrounding areas were amazing. There was also a visit from a little furry friend – he was about a foot away from me.

Wizard Island from Watchman Peak

View from Watchman peak

Chipmunk on Watchman Peak

After Watchman peak we stopped at the visitor center and learned more about the lake. I got some views all the way around the lake – and pieced them together best I could. We also stopped for a picnic in the most amazing picnic area EVER!
Crater Lake Panoramic


We made many stops as we made our way around the lake. A favorite was Vidae Falls.
Vidae Falls 3

Vidae Falls 2

Vidae Falls 1

We stopped then at the Phantom Ship overlook – the kids loved the fact that the little island looked so much like a pirate ship.
Phantom Ship 2

Phantom Ship 1

After viewing the phantom ship we drove out to the Pinacles – one of my favorite things around Crater Lake. I remembered them from years ago when I had come with my parents. The pinacles are a colorful collection of 100-foot-tall spires that are being eroded from the canyon wall. The spires are “Fossil Fumaroles,” each marking a spot where volcanic gas rose up through hot ash deposits, cementing the ash into solid rock.
Pinacles 3

Pinacles 1

Pinacles 5

Pinacles 6

Pinacles 2

Pinacles 4

The trail was short – but near a cliff, so we were grateful it was hard-packed dirt and we could keep Jacob in the stroller. Near the end of the trail we passed a sign declaring we were exiting the national park and heading into the Winema National Forest. So, of course we had to give the children the opportunity of being in two places at the same time!
In 2 places at the same time

After the pinacles we finished our drive around the lake stopping for occasional views. Storm clouds were beginning to roll in and shrouding the lake in a heavy mist. We headed back to camp at about 6:00 in the evening. The trek home was an exciting one, but that story will have to wait until tomorrow.


Filed under Dot, Em, Family, Jacob, James, Lizy, Nature, Photography

8 responses to “Part Three – Crater Lake

  1. How in the world do you find the time & energy to go out every weekend with FIVE KIDS??!! You guys amaze me!

  2. I’ve only been to Crater Lake once, but I loved it so much and have been wanting to go back ever since. I don’t remember seeing the pinnacles though. Those are really cool. I love how you pieced together the pictures for a panoramic view of the lake. Sounds like a fun week. What a great adventure!

  3. Philosophical Karen

    There’s just so much to see there at Crater Lake. Those spires look like fairy tale castles. How wonderful!

  4. Pamala

    Glad you had such a great week. Sure enjoy all the pictures. We are looking forward to seeing you on Thursday!

  5. The pictures are so clear and beautiful it’s almost like I was actually there! Glad you guys are having such a great time!

  6. Mom

    Loved your story & pictures–Glad the dents aren’t in you! What a great family!!!

  7. I’ve always wanted to go to Crater Lake. It looks so beautiful!!

  8. Kim

    OK, I’m convinced. I must put Crater Lake into my (newly, constantly) revised top 10 places to go next. It looks incredible!

    Yay for Jacob – it’s amazing how strong our little heart babies are becoming!

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