Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake has been on our list of must-sees for a long time but it has eluded us until now. We got the RV out of storage, packed up some clothes and the kittens then headed south for a long weekend in the park. The kittens travel like seasoned pros now and they were just fine in their rolling home and spend most of their travel time curled up on our laps.

About halfway to the park we stopped off in Brownsville, OR to see a unique home/gallery someone recently recommended to us. The place is The Living Rock Studios. It’s a large home built by Howard Taylor over twenty years from local rock collected by himself and co-workers in the logging industry. If that wasn’t enough, he also spent free time creating masterful wood carvings, making mosaics from rare rocks and painting a huge collection of bird portraits. Prolific is too mild a word to describe Howard.

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The tour was lead by one of his daughters that still lives in the house. She was friendly, enthusiastic and entertaining. When it was done we bought some note cards and got back on the road south.

We entered the park from the north and had a beautiful drive along the rim of the crater to Mazama Village Campground on the south side. We checked in, found our spot and settled in. The sites are close together but are very wooded and feel cozy. If you stay, make sure you fill up your water tank from the potable water at the dump station before you go to your site. We didn’t know the sites had no water hookups and had to go back for water. By that time it was late afternoon so we just started a fire to relax and cook dinner.

The next morning we got in the toad (our Smart car) and headed to the lake and visitor’s centers. The lake is just as beautiful as everyone has said. Impossibly deep blue water surrounded by sky. The weather could not have been better with temperatures in the high 70’s, only a few puffy clouds in the sky and, surprisingly, low mosquito levels. We had hoped to take a boat tour of the lake but did not get a reservation in time so we settled for views from the rim. There are two main visitor’s centers, one in Rim Village and another at the park headquarters. They both have the same information but Rim Village also has a film you can watch that is very good. We took in the sights from many places along the rim and then went back to camp for more fireside dinner and relaxation in the open air. Sunday morning we got up, broke camp, dumped the remaining fresh water and headed home. this time via the east route through Bend, OR.

All in all I’d say that Crater Lake is a great place to spend one day and night. It’s REALLY beautiful but we didn’t find a lot to do in the park.

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