Crater Lake is described as one of the most beautiful lakes. The word “pristine” is consistently featured in any description. After our initial entry into the park words like “cold” and “terror” are what come to mind. We had a lovely drive through Oregon’s Umpqua forest and as soon as we passed the Crater lands border BAM!
Did you know that Crater Lake has the most snowfall of any inhabited place is the US? And did you know winter is essentially September through June? And did you know that once the first snowflake falls they close 3/4 of the road surrounding the lake? And did you know my kids gave me an earful about telling them they wouldn’t need their snow suits?
I just really really really wanted a camp site with electric hook-up so there would be heat.
We drove to the campground through the still open west rim drive. We had a few sightings of the lake but it was cloudy, rainy and gray. I was also completely petrified of driving on the road in a giant RV with a tow car. I have always assumed that there are rules which govern road widths, shoulder size and guardrails. If they exist, crater lake got an exemption from every one of them. I swear the road is narrower than any with NO shoulder and no guardrails. Where the shoulder should be us nothing but a sheer drop down a pristine snow covered cliff. And the hair pin turns on a hill–Brent was extremely cautious but I felt we were seconds from hydro planing over the edge. I forbade the children from talking and breathing, they weren’t to do anything that would distract the driver.
We finally made it safely to the visitor center and then our camp site which blessedly had electricity (heat!). Someone had left a big pile of wood so we built a grand fire and had s’mores. Brody and I stayed up tending the fire but really just acted like a couple of pyromaniacs. We piled on twigs and logs and happily poked away with our fire sticks.
Weather is not looking promising for tomorrow but at least we are warm for now.