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Oregon Backpacking at Crater Lake - It has Inspired People for Hundred's of Years!


Oregon Backpacking - No where else on the globe combines a deep blue lake with almost 2,000 feet high surrounding cliffs, 2 beautiful islands, and a tremendously violent volcanic past. It is a place of spectacular beauty!

Crater Lake National Park
crater lake national park, oregon backpacking

The depth of Crater Lake is about 1,943 feet! It was measured back in 2000.

I went to Crater Lake National Park in September 2004 to do some Oregon Backpacking. It was right around the time that Hurricane Frances struck Florida. I live in south Florida and there were two hurricanes that year that devastated Florida and both times I was on backpacking trips.

This Oregon Backpacking was a little chilly for me at these high elevations. The park is over a mile above sea level!

Crater Lake
crater lake, oregon backpacking

Joe on a Chilly Day
chilly day, oregon backpacking

Wizard Island
wizard island, oregon backpacking

When I first arrived on this Oregon Backpacking trip, I decided to drive around the crater on the Rim Drive. There are places to stop and take photos. The size of this crater is amazing! The sides are more like cliffs that just drop off.

Crater Cliffs
crater cliffs, oregon backpacking

Boat Dock
boat dock, oregon backpacking

I decided to hike the Cleetwood Cove trail (only lake access) to go down to the boat dock. It is 1.1 miles one way, elevation 6,850 to 6,176 feet, and is strenuous with a 11% grade! The Trailhead is 4.5 miles east of the junction of North Entrance Road and East Rim Road. I met a young woman along the way and we hiked together. The only thing I remember about her is that she worked with Databases, complicated stuff!

Cleetwood Cove Trail
cleetwood cove trail, oregon backpacking

When we reached the boat dock, we rested for a while and I took some photos.

View from Boat Dock
view from boat dock, oregon backpacking

You can take the tour boat from the dock over to Wizard Island and hike around it. I chose not to do this because I wanted to hike up Mt. Scott today instead.

Wizard Island across Lake
wizard island across Lake, oregon backpacking

Well, we hiked out of the crater and it was a lot harder going up than down!

Mt. Scott
mt. scott, oregon backpacking

I got to the Mt. Scott trail head and I see that the trail is 2.5 miles one way, elevation goes from 7,450 to 8,929 feet, and the difficulty of this hike is strenuous. The trail head for Mt. Scott is 14 miles east of the Park Headquarters on East Rim Drive. It has views of Crater Lake with a historic fire lookout at the highest point in the park.

Mt. Scott Trailhead
mt. scott trailhead, oregon backpacking

I start my ascent of the mountain and the weather seems to be good at this point. It's partly cloudy and cool.

Mt. Scott Trail
mt. scott trail, oregon backpacking

I eventually come upon a picnic table and decide to stop for lunch. What great views from up here! Also there was a ground squirrel keeping me company and I think he was eying my lunch!

View from Picnic Table
view from picnic table, oregon backpacking

I continued up the trail until I got to this ridge that leads to the fire watch tower. It is windy and cold up here! And to make things worse, I have no gloves and my hands are freezing. Next time I hike a mountain, I will make sure to bring warm gloves with me.

Trail Ridge to Top of Mt. Scott
trail ridge, oregon backpacking

I finally get to the top of Mt. Scott and to the Fire Watch Tower. It has a sign that says no one is allowed to climb on the tower so I just walk all around it and check out the views. I do see that there is a woman ranger working inside.

Fire Watch Tower
fire watch tower, oregon backpacking

Crater Lake from Top of Mt. Scott
crater lake from top of mt. scott, oregon backpacking

What spectacular views from up here! It would be even better without the clouds. I am literally in the clouds! They are flowing over the top of the mountain and me.

Top of Mt. Scott View Away from Crater Lake
top of mt. scott view away from crater lake, oregon backpacking

Well, I eventually hike back down and believe me it is so much easier going down than up! I get to the bottom and decide to continue around the lake checking out the views and taking photos. I can't get over the size of this crater! The lake's depth of 1,943 feet (592 meters) makes it the seventh deepest in the world, and the deepest lake in the United States. Its water is some of the clearest found anywhere on the globe.

What a Large Crater!
large crater oregon backpacking

I soon come to Crater Lake Lodge. Crater Lake Lodge was built to encourage tourism to southwestern Oregon and Crater Lake National Park. It opened in the summer of 1915. Its visitors have come from all over the world. Even though the lodge was often in an unfinished state, the majority of guests have fond memories of their visits. The lodge lacked the hotel standards for service, privacy, and comfort, and suffered from neglect, throughout its history.

Crater Lake Lodge
crater lake lodge, oregon backpacking

To rehabilitate Crater Lake Lodge, the plan called for returning the exterior look and interior public areas to that of the late 1920s. Construction work began in 1991, after nearly 2 years of design and planning. Very little of the original building could be saved, but some of the original materials, such as the masonry stones, were salvaged for reuse. The Great Hall was taken apart and rebuilt. Much of the rest was discarded. Modern hotel standards were built into the new building, along with safety systems, utilities, and a steel structural support system. In the fall of 1994 at a cost of more than $15,000,000, the rehabilitation of Crater Lake Lodge was finished.

As I continue to drive around the lake, I stop and see very interesting rock formations.

Phantom Ship
phantom ship, oregon backpacking

I can see the past lava flows and layers in the rock!

Rock Formations and Lava Layers!
rock formations and lava layers, oregon backpacking


History of Crater Lake

Mount Mazama increased in size for nearly 500,000 years. It erupted violently, and then collapsed into itself, about 7,700 years ago. Snow and rain have filled Crater Lake ever since. More eruptions have created Wizard Island and other features.

I continue around the crater and come to a small waterfall.

Small Waterfall
small waterfall, oregon backpacking

I eventually make it all around the lake. As I stand there at the last turnout, next to the wood railing they built to keep people from getting too close to the cliff, I begin to feel really cold! I'm tired and hungry and the cold wind is penetrating my bones!

I decide to leave and go back to my motel and have a nice big dinner at the restaurant across the street.

The next day is a driving day for me. I was feeling really exhausted and probably had some Altitude sickness. I realized hiking down into the crater and back out (2.2 miles), and then hiking Mt. Scott (5 miles), all in one day, was too much for me. It took me at least 24 hours to recover from this day of Oregon backpacking but I would probably do it again if given the chance!

Even though Oregon Backpacking can be stenuous, it is a lot of fun. I highly recommend Oregon backpacking to everyone, just make sure you're in pretty good physical condition!





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