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We decided to spend just one night at Crater Lake and it turned out to be the right decision for us at the time. By our second day, Kei was downing the cold medicine and my Dad was starting to fade quickly.
So what you do when people start getting sick? Take a strenuous 1 mile walk down the side of a cliff of course.
We’d decided the previous day to take a boat trip around the lake. Tickets for the boat rides are only available 24 hours in advance from special kiosks inside the park. By the time I located the kiosk to purchase our tickets, our options were 9:30am and 1:30pm. I opted for the earlier time and, despite having to get up at the crack of dawn (you need to arrive at least an hour before the boat leaves), it turned out to be a great decision. The tour takes two hours and there is no shade on the boat so we were well and truly sun kissed in 80 degree sunshine by the time we got back to the dock at 11:30.
That’s not to say that everything was warm. While we were waiting to board our boat, a few insane people decided that jumping off a small cliff into the frigid waters. I was happy to stand by and take pictures.
We boarded the boat and were told to prepare ourselves for some bumpy waters (it wasn’t too bad).
Then the Ranger started the tour. Despite the investment of time and, of course, money, this really is the best way to see the lake. I don’t think you can fully appreciate the geology and beauty without getting up close and personal. You find out that the water really is that blue and clear and that the cliffs are far higher than you imagined. I even learned a thing or two (or 10).
The rocks in this photo lie about 50 feet below the surface. The water was incredibly clear and I added no filters to the color. Stunning.
The boys loved the boat ride at first…
But two hours is a long time to ask them to sit in one place and keep themselves entertained without the aid of an iphone.
The complaining really kicked in about 30 minutes before the end of the tour and then abated when they worked out how to build a fort between the seats using a collection of sweater and jackets.
After two hours, we arrived back at the dock and, while we took some time to mentally prepare ourselves for the steep uphill climb, we dipped our toes in the water.
But only because the line to jump in off the cliff had grown too long. I would have totally jumped in otherwise (ummm, no).
It was then time to make the steep climb back up the hill. Mum and Dad had a head start so we caught up with them on the way. Then Thomas decided that, since he is never first at ANYTHING, he wanted to reach the top first. I decided to walk with him while the rest of our group took it a little more easy.
We passed a lot of people on their way down to their own boat tour and were sweet enough to let them know that the walk down is a lot easier than the walk back up so they should enjoy it while they can. And then an 87 year old woman passed us coming down the hill and I saw a 70-something year old man pass us for the 4th time (he was training for something and had walked the trail both ways over and over again). Suddenly I felt like I shouldn’t be complaining at all even though my face was red and my lungs ready to burst. I mean if an 87 year old woman can do it… I just wonder how long it took her to get back up.
Still, the steep climb didn’t stop us from enjoying the view.
And Thomas’ wish to be first was granted.
After a big drink of water, we headed back to the lodge for a well-deserved (and delicious) lunch. It’s a little spendy for dinner, but I highly recommend lunch at the Crater Lake Lodge.
Finally, with our bellies full, we hit the road for our next destination.
Coming soon: We explore the Oregon Caves