Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Crater Lake Backpacking and Beyond Pt 2

We woke up at Lightning Springs and headed back up toward Crater Lake after an interrupted night sleep. Unfortunately, Amy made it clear that she did not want to walk for the entire half mile screaming "I don't want to walk!" We had a heart to heart talk about how I understood how she felt but she did not have a choice since we were carrying the tent and all the sleeping bags.

When we got back to the car, we continued around the lake to a new trail to a "hidden waterfall", Vidae Falls. Arriving at this trailhead, Amy was bounding and walking most of the way! (It was a little flatter than the half mile which was a gradual incline and she had the option to ride in the backpack).

She was so excited by the opportunity to "dip her toes in for a dabble". We did not allow Amy to dive even though she really wanted to. This waterfall was far from hidden with so many people hanging out there.

While Amy and Sarah were dabbling, I prepared a fabulous lunch of Pesto Tomato Pasta (thanks again to Sarah at freezerbagcooking.com) in front of a very large audience.

We headed back up to the east side of the lake and checked out the phantom ship rock. Sarah finally started to understand why I don't prefer hiking destinations with a lot of people. At the waterfall, there were people wandering in the meadow with its beautiful wildflowers. At the lake viewpoints, there were people climbing way down the caldera to get the best picture even though this was clearly prohibited. We tried to use these as teachable moments of what not to do for Amy, but were rather annoyed!

Amy got a little tired of stopping at lake viewpoints but found a place to dig which made her very happy!

We saw a boat in the water heading back to Cleetwood Cove from Wizard Island. It is hard to imagine that Crater Lake is 8000 ft deep in the deepest place.

On the way out of the park, we again saw the wildfires. We decided to leave the park in the early afternoon and drive to another backpacking spot near Oakridge so that Monday morning we could beat some of the I-5 traffic and not have such a long drive in one day.

I picked a random halfway point to stop- Salt Creek Falls. I was looking at the hiking book I got from the library and learned that this is the second highest waterfall in the state. What a great find!

We spent some time admiring Salt Creek Falls and made some delicious mocha pudding.

Because we had spent so much of the day admiring Crater Lake, it was getting late. We needed to fill up water and to hike a mile to the shelter where we were going to sleep for the night. We were relieved to find a roadside camp where we could fill up our water. We drove up the bumpy gravel road to the Patterson Mountain trailhead, which we later learned is a popular biking destination.

We hiked to the lone wolf shelter- this time we did not have to carry the tent and found a way for Amy to ride in the backpack since it was quite late and we were not in the mood to cajole a preschooler! We cooked our salmon pilaf for dinner and Amy fell asleep in the shelter.

I was tired and had a not so bright idea- since we could not find a suitable rock, I thought I would use my keys for weight in the bear bag. The bear bag did find the branch but wrapped around it three times! I thought my keys were lost forever. Fortunately, Sarah knew the laws of physics better than me. She tied some weight to the other side of the rope, threw it over the branch, and we were able to get my keys down! There was much relief.

We were able to make a fire and enjoy the evening sounds. None of us had stayed in a 3 sided shelter before so this was a new adventure for all!

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