Our quick Saturday drive takes us through more beautiful forests, along the Rogue River, to the little burg of Prospect, Oregon.
There are very few RV parks in the area, and with an abundance of snow still on the ground in higher elevations, there are even fewer available right now.
Crater Lake RV Park is in the trees, across Hwy 62 from Prospect. Our site in the back of the park is nicely level with FHUs, fire ring and picnic table. Our satellite connects but the park WiFi doesn't. The staff are super friendly, and provide information and maps for the area.
|From on the lake, to IN the trees.|
|Crater Lake RV Park|
Prospect, Oregon, is a post office, a gas station/"grocery" store, and pizza place. Everything else is closed. The gas station attendant provides way more information than we need on the troubles of the two "pending" cafes down the street - be careful what you ask for :-)
Sunday we head north in Piper. The emerald forests here are lush and thick, and driving the straight, thin highway is like the maze scene in Harry Potter where the sides of the tall green hedge get narrower and narrower....cool, but kind of eerie.
Our destination today is Diamond Lake. This rare natural body of water sits between Mt Thielsen and Mt Bailey.
We take the east entrance just a few yards and find it blocked by snow. No closed signs are posted, but It. Is. Blocked. By. Snow. I wish I had taken a photo of the motorhome stuck in that snow about thirty yards in. People never cease to amaze me. It was gone when we left later in the day.
The west entrance is open, but only as far as the boat launch. Campground and resort are still closed. A fishing tournament is under way so there are a lot of boats on the water. Additionally, the small dock has a handful of people with their poles in the water.
Bill finds a spot along the shore for a couple hours of fishing while Tessa and I take the trail around the lake. It is a perfect-weather day, and although there are lots of fishermen on the lake, it is very quiet and peaceful.
|I swear the water smells cold.|
|And yet this visitor from Europe thinks a quick swim is a good idea - he even talks his girlfriend into joining him. There was quite a bit of screaming involved...|
|Plenty of room for the tournament boats to spread out.|
We save our drive to Crater Lake for Monday as the temps are supposed to reach the low 90's. It's my 61st birthday, and the whole day is a gift.
Before we head north again, we drive into Prospect to check out more falls on the Rogue. They are deafening, and spectacular.
|Note the deck to the right of the falls. It is attached to a small house we could definitely call home!|
|The mighty Rogue.|
Bill says "There will likely be some snow up there."
|Relief map of the lake in the VC.|
|These signs are all the way around......at least we didn't "just miss" the opening.|
|I don't know why I'm surprised the road is closed, we have to enter the VC from the side door.|
|Snow banks fill the parking spots, leaving just the middle near the lodge. The lake is over the bank on the left.|
|With all the avalanche warning signs, we think Piper is the perfect color!|
I've seen photos of this amazing place. I know the color is intense. I expect it to be beautiful.
I am completely blown away. Nothing prepares you for the reality of this view of sapphire blue - it is the definition of breathtaking.
|The light color in the water is the reflection of clouds above. It is all naturally pure water from direct rain and snow melt. No streams enter or leave the lake. The blue is from the clarity and great depth (over 1900', and the deepest in the US).|
|The remaining cinder cone is called Wizard Island.|
|A flat-lander all my life, I'm sure this is the deepest snow I've ever seen.|
|The snow bunny wears herself out.|
|The surrounding mountains are beautiful, although the steep slopes of snow above the highway are intimidating. I'm happier when the road moves away from them.|
|For me, it is the reflections that make it so unique.|
Seeing it in person I can't believe that any human has ever touched it - it is so pristine. But in addition to regular testing by park personnel and environmentalists, and boat tours - swimming and fishing are also allowed.
In fact, fishing is encouraged and does not require a license. Only artificial bait is allowed. There is no limit on the number of fish you can catch from the shore (no boats) - and no releasing. Why?
Because there aren't "supposed to be" any fish here. Fish don't come from the rain or snow. Two species survive of the six that were introduced between 1888 and 1941. Now "we" know that fish are harmful and unnatural to this unique environment.
I would love to make the full loop around the lake someday, but I can't imagine it being anymore beautiful than it is surrounded in snow. What a special gift.
On our way home we stop for a very late lunch at Beckie's Cafe in Union Creek. Their food is delicious, and the staff very friendly. My birthday pie is perfect.
|Coconut cream - my favorite!|