Monday 2nd - Day 13.
Diamond Lake, Crater Lake, and onwards west.
Another 10 hrs of sleep - snuggled in our thermal pyjamas and under two fluffy duvets - and we woke in a winter wonderland. It had snowed overnight and all the trees and ground around us were dusted white. The flakes were still gently drifting past the window. With the ‘furnace’ on we had a cosy cup of coffee in bed, watching the lake.
We decided to explore and ran north along the lake shore to a small village and marina, and back for breakfast. It was bitterly cold - but in a good and invigorating way - and the ground was covered in a fine sprinkling of snow. Everything looked lovely, and felt exciting.
The campsite shower block, however, looked uninviting - a large shed with snow on the roof... Inside, however there were heaters blowing - it was warm and comfortable, and the showers were clean, hot and plentiful - very unexpected!
The dense grey/white snow clouds started to thin out, displaying patches of blue sky. We set off for Crater Lake and drove up through the snow covered trees, into the park. Just like yesterday evening there was a dramatic contrast between the long drive up to the rim of the caldera through desert / lava field, and the view before us on looking down into the crater.
Even though the sky and lake were far from being clear bright blue, the vast expanse of water gleamed in the morning sunshine, offset by the sparkling crisp snow on the trees and rocks around the rim.
We took photographs, drove a bit, stopped a bit, and enjoyed viewing the spectacle from many different vantage points. The western rim road was closed for the winter, so we drove round the east side and stopped off half way to climb to the top of Mount Scott (8938ft) - the highest point in the Crater Lake National Park. It was a good steady wintry hike up through a forest of spruce and white-barked pine, with great distant views all around. Many of the trees were covered in feathered ice. We set off wearing all our warmest clothing with hats, gloves and sunglasses, and gradually peeled off layers as we climbed. We stood and watched several small honey mantled ground squirrels and also spotted a pair of Clark’s Nutcrackers as well as a couple of large raptors - possibly a condor and a golden eagle.
The hike back down was considerably easier than the hike up and we were soon on our way around the rim to the Cloud Cap overlook - a great view of the lake in sunshine, and Pinnacles - a valley full of 30ft spires called ‘fossil fumaroles’ - really striking.
After this we drove on to the Rim Village Centre for postcards and coffee. The former were beautiful (more blue than our photos) and the latter was hot and delicious. We drank it sitting on a low wall overlooking the lake, with the sun warming our backs snd illuminating the water and rocks ahead of us.
It was time to travel on / back out towards the southern coast of Oregon. We followed the course of the Rogue River on Highway 62, and after pausing at Union Creek to admire the Falls, (and reject the campsite...) we drove on to the Joseph H Stewart state park lakeside camping near Cascade Gorge, to camp for the night and watch the sunset over the Lost Creek Lake.