Union Peak (Crater Lake National Park) 21-Sep-2021

We said good-bye to summer with a hike up Union Peak (7,709 ft / 2,350 m) in the southwest corner of Crater Lake National Park. The peak is the eroded remains (the neck) of a much larger volcano and is the second oldest peak in the park. The views from its summit are spectacular – provided they aren’t obscured by smoke. Which they were for most of this summer. So when our recent rains cleared the air and damped the wildfires, we knew it was time to visit Union again after a six year ๐Ÿ˜ฒ absence.

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Spruce Lake (Crater Lake National Park) 30-Jul-2021

Today emerged hot, cloudy, sultry, and hazy with smoke. Thunderstorms drenched us in the afternoon but the morning sprouted only a few pathetic rain drops. These only added to the sultry. A morning outside was about all we were up for. So we did two very short hikes which, when combined with a lunch outside at Beckie’s, made for a morning well spent. That there was pie ๐Ÿฅง involved had nothing – Nothing I say! – to do with the quality of this day. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Boundary Springs (Crater Lake National Park) 26-Jul-2021

Boundary Springs – which emerge from semi-arid terrain in the northwest corner of Crater Lake National Park – are the source of the mainstem of the Rogue River. Many other tributaries and streams contribute to the Rogue before it reaches the sea at Gold Beach, but that river starts here. It’s tempting to think that these springs somehow tap Crater Lake itself but they are, instead, fed only by snowmelt.

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Fawn Butte – Blue Grotto Loop (Southwest Oregon) 07-Feb-2021

The Blue Grotto is a geologic feature just above of the North Shore Trail on the north side of Lost Creek Lake. It’s where a seasonal stream has cut a 40-foot (12 m) waterfall through a greenish rhyolite formation that is ash from the eruption of Mount Mazama, the volcano that created the Crater Lake caldera. The Grotto is at its best in the late winter to early Spring when runoff brings the waterfall to life. We figured that rain and snow melt from a big storm a week ago had by now found its way to the Grotto’s waterfall, so we set off on our annual visit. In previous years, we’d simply hike out-and-back on the North Shore Trail from the Lost Creek Trailhead, which is a lovely hike. Then I discovered an old road that runs past Fawn Butte, above and parallel to the North Shore Trail. This makes it possible to form a loop that includes views from the hills, a visit to the Blue Grotto, and a walk along the lake.

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2020 ~ Adventures with The LovedOne

Oh, 2020. You seemed so nice when we first met. You were fun for two months, then you turned ugly. Real ugly. A plague and a recession and wildfires and an election and continuing drought. Yes sir, you threw quite a bit of hurt at us! Yes you did! But we survived. And The LovedOne remained photogenic while social distancing from others kept her within camera range.


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Red Cone (Crater Lake National Park) 26-Oct-2020

Rim Drive (and the North Entrance) in Crater Lake National Park close for the season if it snows enough or when November 1st rolls around. There hasn’t been any meaningful snow yet (or much rain for that matter). Regardless, the clock is still ticking and we wanted to get in one more hike in the park’s interior before the Rim closes. For that we picked a climb of Red Cone, another of the 40 cinder cones and shield volcanoes in the vicinity of the Crater Lake caldera. The Cone rises just northwest of the lake on the southern edge of the Pumice Desert. It’s easily reached via a ramble on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and a bit of steep cross-country up one of its sides (we went with the southeast side).

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This Yolks On You (Sky Lakes Wilderness) 16-Oct-2020

DISCLAIMER: The LovedOne played no part in this hike (she’s busy trying to re-start volunteer activity at the library). Nor did she have anything to do with the title of this post. In fact, she begged me to come-up with a more mature title. But I claimed artistic license. Laughter ensued. And that’s no yolk! ๐Ÿ™„

Goose Nest (not to be confused with Goosenest near Mount Shasta) sits east of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in the Sky Lakes Wilderness. Last August, I made an attempt to hike to its summit from the west. That didn’t work out. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ But, staying with the goose theme, I saw the Goose Egg (7,124 feet / 2,171 m) sitting right next to the PCT a little farther to the south. If not the nest, then the egg! So, egged on by thoughts of omelets dancing in my head, I struck off for the Egg today in perfect hiking weather (which is one of those ying~yang, good thing~bad things in these drought-stricken times).

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Castle Point (Crater Lake National Park) 20-Sep-2020

Our first ever mule packing trip was suitably adventurous but plagued by smoke for four of its six days. We came back to civilization to find that fire had ravaged (and is still ravaging ๐Ÿ˜ฅ ) a goodly part of our Oregon. We drove home in thick, acrid, choking smoke. And were then confined to our house (which we are thankful is still standing) by this foul miasma for all the next week. Finally, finally, last Friday the winds shifted a bit and we could breathe outside. By today the smoke had thinned enough – but not gone away, there are still fires burning – to allow for a short visit outside. Nothing dramatic, just anything other than staring out our living room window at drifting swirls of yellowish particulates and fetid vapors. ๐Ÿ™„

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A Goose Too Far (Sky Lakes Wilderness) 06-Aug-2020

Stretching south from Crater Lake, into the Sky Lakes Wilderness, are a line of small peaks. They were generated by the same volcanic forces that eventually exploded ancient Mount Mazama to create Crater Lake. A couple of years ago, I got to the summit of one of them – Mount Maude – from the south via the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). The tallest one – Goose Nest (not to be confused with the Goosenest near Mount Shasta) – sits just east of the Cascade Crest near the wilderness / park boundary. The shortest approach to Goose Nest is from the east on old logging roads. But I had always wanted to see if it could be reached from the west via the PCT, as had Maude. Map gazing and trip planning ensued…

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Dutton~Lightning Loop (Crater Lake Nat’l Park) 16-Jul-2020

Tourism is a key part of Southern Oregon’s economy and this year that part is really hurting. So we miss the tourists, even though we don’t necessarily want to be surrounded by them. Which is why we never go to Crater Lake National Park (or any of the other major national parks within a day’s drive) during the summer season. But this year, as some of you may have noticed, is different (and not in a good way). So we decided to test the tourist waters – so to speak – with a loop hike at Crater Lake. From Rim Village, we went down the Dutton Creek Trail, north on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), back up to the Rim on the Lightning Spring Trail, and back to the village on the Rim and Discovery Point Trails, for a 13-mile, 1,400 feet of gain loop.

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Garfield Peak (Crater Lake National Park) 26-Sep-2019

Crater Lake is the only national park in Oregon and the first one created (1902) by President Theodore Roosevelt. We don’t get up there as often as we should. Today’s gloriously clear and warm autumnal weather (which is forecast to soon change) shamed us in to paying it a visit. Doing so also seemed in keeping with our earlier TR themed trip. Some of the park’s facilities are now closed for the season but the lodge is still open (until October 13th), so we drove up and had lunch there.

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