2011Closer 2 Home travel blog

a snow drift at the front door of our RV in camp

we had half an hour to wait for the next trolley so...




Wizard Island

zoomed in a little

close up of the Wizard Island crater

the trolley

an artistic restoration

with our driver and Ranger Sarah at the helm


she was a bright and enthusiastic guide and much better than the...

the view north and west from the west rim

view from our first stop

through the reflections you can see the bottom under the boat

continuing around the lake, every view was spectacular

a high altitude pumice desert


pumice desert in the valley with The Sisters visible in the distance


Diamond Peak overlooks Diamond Lake

The Sisters


a blue sky makes for a blue lake



looking down at the boat launch dock

in this picture you can see part of the trail that leads...

a boat tour in progress and the boat doesn't look full


if it's not a pika it's a ground squirrel

Sarah uses some instruction aids

Madolyn's insect repellant shirt - Buzz Off!


from here we have a good view of Phantom Ship Island

the reflections are something else!

a good close up of the little island with a tour boat...

Sarah pointed out these white bark pines and their symbiotic relationship to...



looking southeast - that's Klamath Lake in the distance


Wizard Island

Phantom Ship Island in the distance

another view toward California and you can see Mt. Shasta today

zoomed in on Mt. Shasta in California


here again Shasta in the distance

one of the waterfalls that flows off the rim to the outer...



what's a rock face without a few flowers?


on our return we had a really good lunch at the lodge

a window dated from the building of the lodge - it has...

after lunch we took a short hike along the rim

a hiker recently fell to his death off of these cliffs

that's not white rock - it's still snow




a gnarly old snag

wildflowers are late blooming this year

no matter how many pictures you take of this lake - you...

an interesting rock face

not a stable formation to climb

you can see right through it!


Wow! A Clark's Nutcracker

just posing

easier than cracking nuts


this picture proves that nuts aren't all he eats!


an artist's rendering of how the eruption of Mt. Mazama might have...

some information on how the lake was formed


more info

and more

this describes it better than we could

so read it if you're interested - and skip it if you...

on why the lake is so blue!

of the fish introduced only the trout and Kokanee have survived


Today we continued our exploration of Crater Lake National Park, the fifth entry into the National Park system. We drove from our campground up to Rim Village, and there we caught the ‘trolley’ that circles the lake with a ranger guided tour.

The trolley is really a bus built to look like a trolley. It runs on LP gas, and it is painted a deep green with dark wood trim. The park service is very proud of these vehicles, and they take great care to keep them immaculately shiny and clean. There are two trolleys operating at any time, and every time they unload at Rim Village, they are cleaned inside and out so they will be beautiful and inviting for the riders of the next tour.

I talked to the man cleaning our trolley and he told me the small fleet of buses was made in Detroit, to be used as shuttles for a Superbowl game they were hosting one year. The city used ’Federal money’ to purchase the buses, so after the game they parked them in a field and walked away - leaving them for years to rot and decay. This dysfunctional attitude seems to typify Detroit, and it is why Detroit is one of the few U.S. cities we have never wished to visit.

When the park service bought the fleet, some of the buses had less than a thousand miles on them. They were mechanically sound, but the exteriors were ravaged from neglect. To say that they have been ‘lovingly’ restored is to acknowledge that each bus has 171 pieces of wood that had to be removed, refinished, and reinstalled - on the exterior alone! Today they are works of art, and we have the National Park Service to thank for that.

Editorial Opinion: The Park Service will undoubtedly be rewarded for their efforts by having their funding cut again, because in today’s political climate it’s unthinkable that our pandering Congress might ask their benefactors to do anything for the ‘public good’. Government for Dummies would define that as ‘Socialism’, and we can’t expect the robber barons of today to be as civic minded as the robber barons of the past, who bought, paid for and endowed many of our most precious national treasures with their own personal fortunes. Granted their largesse may have been motivated in part, by guilt and a desire to be remembered for something more ‘American’ than plundering. But that doesn’t detract from their generosity, nor relieve us from the responsibility to be grateful for it. We live in a time when it’s 'moral' to be selfish, and patriotic to show greed. What will our children and grandchildren inherit from this generation of fools?

The trolley ride was two hours of stunning views enhanced by thoughtful commentary. Our driver was a woman who normally drives a school bus. She navigated the rim curves with skill and finesse, while our guide for the tour, a Seasonal Park Ranger named Sarah, provided a great lecture on the lake and it’s history. This was Sarah’s first tour and she did a remarkably good job - much better than the more experienced tour guide on the boat yesterday. She just graduated with a degree in environmental sciences, and she was friendly and enthusiastic.

We learned a lot more about the lake and the park. At one point she showed us a white bark pine and she explained the symbiotic relationship this tree has with a bird named the Clark’s Nutcracker. The bird is related to the jay family, and it has a beak well adapted to breaking open the pine’s extremely hard cones. Without that help the pine would not be able to propagate, and without the pine the nutcrackers would go hungry. We were later rewarded with a nutcracker sighting, and the bird even posed for us while we took several pictures. In one picture the bird had an insect in it’s beak, indicating that it’s diet is not limited exclusively to pine nuts.

At the end of the tour we enjoyed a fine lunch at the recently restored Crater Lake Lodge, and we ended the day with visits to the two Visitor Centers, one where we saw a good movie about the lake and the park. We feel privileged to have spent this time enjoying one of our nation’s most beautiful and unique parks. We are grateful to the many Crater Lake lovers past and present who made our visit possible.

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