It's quite the drive from Portland to Crater Lake. It typically takes anywhere from 5 - 6 hours depending on the traffic and the road conditions. Because we left so early, there was very little traffic to impede our travel, and we made to the North Entrance of the park around 9 am. We checked the weather the night before, and unfortunately the forecast had changed from earlier in the week from mostly sunny to mostly cloudy with a chance of showers. Since we had made plans for the entire weekend which included some time in Bend shooting the Cascade Lakes and visiting with some friends, the trip was on regardless of the weather.
When we got to the Crater Rim, the water was so still and quiet that the clouds were reflected almost perfectly such that it looked as though you were looking down into the sky. We took the time to hike up to the Watchman's Tower which is where the above shot was taken. The hike took us about and hour, and it was quite windy at the top of crater rim where the tower was located, so we didn't linger too long admiring the view. It was kind of neat to look down into the small crater at the top of Wizard Island though.
After our short hike, we continued around the crater rim to the Rim Village where we had a cup of hot chocolate, purchased some souvenirs as gifts for the grandkids, and walked down to the Crater Lake Lodge. While there, I took the opportunity to take a few infrared landscape shots of the island. That image can be seen above.
From the Rim Village we drove down to the Pinnacles. These are geological formations created when fumeroles were fused, buried by subsequent eruptions and then years later exposed when the surrounding ash and soil were eroded away. They are strange and interesting formations, and Wanda had some fun shooting them with one of my cameras.
As we wrapped up shooting the Pinnacles, it began to drizzle, and though we had planned a picnic lunch, we decided to finish the rim drive, exit the park where we entered, and then head on up to Bend for dinner and a good night's sleep. We had reservations for two nights at a hotel in the Old Mill District, and we knew there was a weekend concert and art show planned during the our stay.
We got into town around 5 pm, checked into our room and decided to check out the art show before dinner. There quite a number of booths set up and an eclectic collection of art on display - sculptures, photographs, quilts, paintings, crystal, glasswork, and much more. We didn't purchase anything, but we had fun walking around and looking at the various displays.
After the short walk through the art show, we stopped for dinner at Greg's Grill. The meal was quite delicious, but the most enjoyable part of the evening, was sitting around the large gas firepit outside the restaurant enjoying the music from the concert and chatting with the locals. While we were there savoring the company, the music and our drinks, the weather began to clear and soon we were able to enjoy a lovely sunset. Unfortunately, with our previous 4 am wakeup call, we had to call it an early night and head to bed.
The next day we met with some friends for coffee, then headed out to shoot the Cascade Lakes for another day of shooting. We managed to get in some photography at Sparks Lake and Devil's Lake, but not much at any of the other lakes because of the sheer number of people out enjoying the day.
On our way back into Bend from our day's outing, we stopped at a meadow by Spark's Lake and had our picnic of hummus, flatbread, fruit and cheese. It was a quiet and peaceful meal and most relaxing for both of us. Afterwards, we did a little more shooting, and Wanda managed to catch me in my classic "shooting a landscape pose." And here's the final shot from that day:
When we got back into town, we stashed our gear in the hotel room, then took a short walk downtown to the Deschutes Brew Pub for a locally brewed beer. Later that evening we met our friends for dinner, had another lovely meal with good conversation, and got a good night's sleep before our trip home the next day. Before we went to sleep, however, Wanda made sure we got the laptop out and planned our next few get-away weekends in advance.