Blue Grotto Redux (Lost Creek Lake) 07-Feb-2020

It rained some. Then it snowed some. Then it did these things again (and again). The snow pack deepened. Creeks rose. Intermittent streams came alive. It was thus time for our near yearly pilgrimage to see the Blue Grotto in full flow. This is where, in a narrow canyon on the north shore of Lost Creek Lake, a seasonal stream falls some 40 feet over a pour-off composed of soft greenish rock, which is ash from Mt. Mazama (which exploded, some 7,000 years ago, to form Crater Lake). The walk to the Grotto from the Lost Creek Trailhead (7 miles out and back, with no appreciable elevation gain) is a pleasant stroll through oak and pine forests, across meadows, and over several side creeks, with views of the lake all along the way.

We were also motivated to get out from under the fog that had been plaguing the Rogue Valley for several days. 😦 Bright sunshine up on Mount Ashland, gloom beneath. We figured Lost Creek Lake was far enough up the valley to be above the fog. We were eventually proved right – the sun emerged from the gloom as we made our way to the Grotto and we were in full sunshine all the way back to the trailhead. 😎 And the Grotto was experiencing a good flow, with a charming little waterfall, a pool, and colorful rocks.

Just leaving the trailhead at Lost Creek
The clouds begin to dissolve
A moist (and thus happy) lichen along the trail
More parting of clouds
Colorful rocks downstream of the Grotto
Blue Grotto
Inside the Grotto
The pool in the Grotto
View from behind the waterfall
Circling the pool

Two things about the Grotto. It’s more greenish than blue (a point The LovedOne makes every time we come here 🙄 ) and it’s not on Blue Gulch Creek (which is one canyon to the west and runs year round). After quibbling about green versus blue, and nibbling on a snack, we headed back.

Going back under a moss-strewn canopy
An outcrop of greenish ash in the lake

Along the way, we made a brief detour to see a small water cascade that only occurs in the Spring – when there’s water in the intermittent stream that feeds it and low water in the lake (which is actually a huge reservoir whose level fluctuates 60-100 feet annually).

A small, seasonally submerged, cascade
Back through one of the oak forests
Almost to Lost Creek Trailhead

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