Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Crater Lake National Park

Last night I slept for ten hours and when I woke up my headache was gone.

This morning, we packed up and headed for Crater Lake National Park on our way through to Bend.
River got restless on the way there, and started whimpering, which is his signal that he needs to go right away. Turned out to be a false alarm, though. And all he really wanted was to lie in the sun.


So I let him lie there in the dirt for about half an hour until he moved over to lie in the shade. "If you're going to be in the shade, you might as well be in the car," I said, and loaded him back in.


Upon entering the park, the first thing I saw was petrified steam.
A volcano erupted and lava flowed down over a river gulley. As the steam rose from the water underneath the layer of lava, it created a solid mass of rock sediment in the shape of the the flumes of steam. Over the next several thousand years, the softer, surrounding rock was eroded away, leaving this sculpture behind.
The longer I looked at the scene, the more I saw. I didn't notice the waterfalls right away, or the river at the bottom of the gulch.
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I wasn't prepared for how awesome Crater Lake would be.  When I first saw it I said "WHOA my God!" and I actually said it again the second time I saw it.

So blue and so still. It was like a blue mirror. I almost didn't take any pictures because I thought it wouldn't do justice, but surprisingly the blue shows up on film.
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On the other side of the street was a giant bank of snow that people were playing on. 

We stopped in a few places to get different views. The lake was formed by a giant eruption of a volcano almost 8000 years ago. It got the mountain so hot it collapsed in on itself creating a caldera. For the next several millennia it collected rain and snow. There is no inlet or outlet to the lake, so it doesn't get stirred up or collect any sediment from rivers. Evaporation and rainfall keep it at a balanced level. It is about 1600 feet deep. Wizard Island was created by a second eruption about 1000 years later.

The further into the park we got (it's basically a circular road around the rim of the lake) the more snow we saw.
When I saw a place where the snow banks came right up to the side of the road, I had to pull over and let River experience it. Even more surprising that the breathtaking blue of the lake was that we were standing in snow in mid July.
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The first and only other time I tried to see Crater Lake, the roads were closed. We drove as far as we could but had to stop before getting up to the lake. We did stop and play in the biggest snow back I have ever seen. The one today was significantly smaller.

I made a mental note that this is another place I could spend all day in, but having my fill after about two hours is good, too. I'm loving the freedom of having a National Park Annual Pass.  Not only does it get me to the front of long lines, but it allows me to enjoy an expensive park without feeling I need to 'Get my $30 worth." I can enter, enjoy and leave any time I want. I know myself well enough that if I did pay cash to get in, I'd want to make a whole day of it and see everything there.

Crater Lake National Park was only $10 per car, but other parks I've been at were up to $30.

I'm having some trouble with Babe. At lower speeds, I feel like I'm dragging something. I'm not a car guy, but I have a couple of theories. At my last maintenance appointment, they didn't replace my air filter. They were out of that part and said "it's not very dirty."  I contacted Mini of Portland to let them know I'd love to get a replacement air filter when I'm in town in a few days.

The other thing is it could be my alignment is off. It literally feels like something is scraping against something to prevent it from realizing its potential power. Sometimes, when I'm braking gradually, it feels like the pressure is uneven on the brake. So there could also be something wrong with the brakes, though I don't think that would affect the pick-up. I'll ask Portland Mini to look at it and see if they can find anything. Fingers crossed it's just the air filter. 



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