David: The rain pattered on the roof overnight making me glad that we were not camping. However the lack of soundproofing kept me awake a bit. We were in bed by 8.30, and lots of books get read on this trip!We started along the lake and then began the climb up to Crater Lake starting at 5,250 feet (so higher than anywhere in the UK). It took about an hour to get to the turn off that we got to yesterday. That was about 750 feet of climbing. The sky was cloudy but the sun came out occasionally. We went through the entrance to the park and were slightly surprised that we had to pay the same as a car.
The climb continued and the cloudy skies gained precedence over the sun. It started to rain in parts and then more than in parts. As we climbed through 6500 feet we were pushing new boundaries in height and, of couse, it got colder as we got higher. Then at about 7200 feet we came to the rim of the lake.
It is hard to describe Crater Lake – but imagine a giant ice cream scoup taking a chunk out of a mountain. The “rim” of the lake was the section of the ice cream that leaves an almost perfect circular hole about 5 miles wide. The lake – fed only by snow and rain and depleted only be evaporation – as there is no inlet or outlet – is 1000 feet below the rim. The lake is 550m+ deep in places and has a fantastic blue colour even when the sky is dark and cloudy. To say that this was a beautiful and yet remote place is to do a disservice to both those words. It was astounding.
But – and this was a big but – it started to snow. It was too cold to rain and started as sleet and then was full blown snow. We had decent gloves, over trousers and macks but had not yet (nb next purchase) invested in overshoes. Our feet felt like blocks of ice as we struggled up to the top at about 7600 feet. Then to Rim Village and the stunning “Lodge” built in the 1930s as part of the Rosevelt “make work” scheme that was so successful, and the best cup of hot chocolate either of us has ever tasted. We spent 2 hours there – getting warm, doing the blog and chatting to other cyclists. The rim road was only open to cyclists this weekend, something that only happened once a year. There were hundreds of bikes on cars as a result going up the mountain. It was tempting to yell “cheat” at the top of our voices but that would be unfair.
(Bernie: David had completely understated what was probably the most miserable half hour I have spent on a bike! Driving sleety snow in the face in fog, the poor visibility made worse because I had to take my glasses off. We crawled down the hill and just had to get there. This was insanity and I was determined never to get on a bike again! Half an hour in front of the log fire, dried out and toes toasty my ‘never cycle again’ resolve was waning and after the aforementioned hot chocolate I was ready to roll again!)
We left the Lodge and descended to Mazama Village through the rain. It had stopped when we were in the Lodge but had obviously waited until we left before opening the heavens. We tried to find the O’Sullivan campsite at Mazama Village but failed, and so left them a note.
Then it was 35 miles of glorious descent. We dropped from 7000 feet to 2600 feet with only the occasional pedal. It was rarely so steep that we needed to brake but steep enoug to maintain a steadt 0/25 mph. so much pleasure. We passed a lovely gorge where the river had forced its way through lava rock – lots of spray and white water in the solid rain.
Finally we arrived at the little hamlet/town of Prospect and a hotel build in 1889 (ok 60 years younger than our last house but that is OLD OLD round here) and a great meal with Bjorn and Mika. Good day all round.