Monday, July 13, 2009

Into the Mouth of the Crater - Day 3

Woke up in Crater Lake National Park and, thank goodness, the cold temperatures from yesterday have rolled out. Today we are taking the Cleetwood Trail down to the bottom of the lake and then taking a boat tour. The hike is one mile in length (one-way) and drops 700 feet as you descend from the East Rim Drive trailhead to the lakeshore. The return trip is comparable to climbing 65 flights of stairs. When we booked the boat tour, the reservation desk was skeptical of us taking a five year old on this trail, but Morgan is an excellent hiker.

The hike down was steep but beautiful. Pictures don't capture the true beauty and peace of Crater Lake.

View along the Cleetwood Trail. Notice how steep the trail is.

Looking down at the boat docks.

At the bottom of the crater.

The boat trip was excellent. Our Ranger, Don was well informed and gave us great information about the park and its formations. I highly recommend this tour. It's the only way to really learn all about the park.

A close-up of Phantom Ship.

Morgan complained more on the way down then she did on the way up. She marched right up the side of the crater singing her little heart out.

Once back up, we had a late picnic lunch and then visited the Crater Lake Lodge (we stayed at the much cheaper and much less fancy Mazama Cabins). The inside of the lodge is all wood and logs and is quite impressive. They also have a small exhibit about the history of the lodge.

We drove around the Rim a little bit and then took a stroll up to the Sun Notch Viewpoint, which provided a view of the Phantom Ship from above.

Phantom Ship from above.

This was one of our favorite spots so we decided we would return here tomorrow as well. For today, we were done with our hiking and exploring.

It was off to Annie Creek Resturant for a buffet dinner. We did bring a cooler and our own food, but we wanted to have a few meals that weren't PB&J sandwiches. We quickly found out, if you aren't eating your own food, the park has you, so they inflate the prices. This place is a complete rip off. It was expensive ($15.99/pp for the buffet) and the food was horrible. It was late in the day and most of the trays were empty or dried up. We found out later that they offer a lighter fare buffet (salad/soup only) and individual pizzas for much cheaper but this is not advertised, you have to specifically request it. Now we now better.

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