23 July 2006 Sunday

Horrible night!  In the middle of the night, we woke up with mosquitoes in the truck.  LOTS of mosquitoes!  We thought about what we could do, including finding a hotel (at 2am, outside the park, not a good option).  We decided to turn out fan around and blow air from the back of the truck into the cab.  The bugs were then sucked out of our sleeping area and we finally got back to sleep.  This morning we both felt like crap.  

We have a tough hike planned and we want to get an early start before it gets too hot.  I don’t’ know how, but there are still several patches of snow on the ground, even though it’s in the 90’s during the day.  The highest elevations are cooler, but the lower elevations are hot and buggy.  

We hiked up Mt Scott, the highest peak in the park.  In 2 1/2 miles the trail climbed 1,500 feet.  It was a tough hike, but the views were worth it.  Along the trail and at the top, we had the most incredible views of Crater Lake, along with Mt Shasta, Diamond Peak and Diamond Lake, among others.  We were the first ones on the trail, but one woman passed us near the top.  As we were heading down, we saw lots of people on the way up.  It’s getting hot and we’re really glad we started early!  

We started to drive the Rim Drive around Crater Lake, checking out some of the overlooks and features.  We stopped at an overlook for the Phantom Ship.  The Phantom Ship is rock structure that looks like a ship with sails.  The rock that forms it is far older than Mt Mazama, the mountain we’re standing on now.  This ancient volcanic rock cinder cone had been engulfed by Mt Mazama, but later erosion exposed it within the lake. 

We stopped at another overlook for the Pinnacles.  This is a creek whose volcanic ash canyon walls have been eroded into strange pinnacle formations.  The formations were somewhat like those we saw at Bryce Canyon, but these were all gray in color.

It was at this overlook that we realized that our left front tire was very low.  Andrew pulled out our air compressor and aired up the tire, blowing a fuse in the “Tower of Power” in the process.  We found out we had picked up a nail from somewhere and needed it fixed.  We were a little concerned about how quickly our tire had been leaking, so we went out of the park to find a place to have a tire plugged.  Trying to find a service station to fix a tire in small town America on a Sunday afternoon is impossible!  We went to the first small town outside of Crater Lake and found only a few cows idly grazing, unconcerned with our plight.  

We moved on to the next town, about an hour away, Klamath, OR and didn’t find much there either.  We are now an hour outside of Crater Lake and considering going another two hours to get to a town to get our tire fixed.  This would put us three hours from Crater Lake but within thirty minutes of our next destination.  So, we didn’t get to finish our Rim Drive and we didn’t get the boat tour of Crater Lake.  

The temperature is over 100 degrees and we’d had a miserable night last night because of the heat and bugs.  So we started looking for a hotel with air conditioning in Grant’s Pass, OR. The first hotel we looked at had lost power that day and most of their rooms were very hot.   The Sunset Inn is a very nice place with a wonderful AC system!  As we were gettig our things out of the truck to go into the hotel, I grabbed a bottle of wine that we’ll open after dinner.   Andrew took it and put it with some other things and came back for something.  I heard the sickening POP of a full wine bottle hitting pavement.  And it wasn’t a bottle of Two Buck Chuck that hit the ground!   No, of course not!  This was a more expensive bottle we picked up on sale for $5.00 before we visited Napa.  Drat!  We’ll never know if it was a good wine.

There was a Chinese restaurant next door to the hotel and we ate there.  Our waitress was quite theatrical!  When we mentioned we were from Georgia, she said: “Well, Fiddle dee dee! Gone With The Wind was my favorite movie ever!”  And then she went on about the dresses and the hoop skirts.  We assured her that things have changed a bit since then.  

Later, back at the hotel, we got more photos uploaded with the help of the high speed Wi-Fi connection. 

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