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USA – Road Trip – Crater Lake – 21st / 22nd September

We left Sisters early and passed through Bend via another Safeway to get some fresh fruit and veg. We didn’t stop in Bend but have heard many a good thing. Our aim was to get to Crater Lake and take the Cascade Lakes Highway en-route. We passed the 3 Sister mountains and took a right off Highway 97 to get onto the route. This is a scenic drive indeed, we drove passed Mt Bachelor and stopped at Sparks Lake to photograph the lush meadow and reflections. We stopped for lunch at another named Crescent Lake, before getting the highway onto Crater Lake.

We came into Crater Lake Park from the south end and drove around the west rim road…Wow!! This place is amazing, the lake is huge and reflects everything around, we couldn’t stop enough to photograph it. It is now a caldera and was Mazama volcano which lies beneath the lake, each time we stopped we read a little more information. The weather was great for us too which also meant even more tourists were out to join us.

After some touring around the rim and more photographing we made our way to Mazama village campsite, it’s not really a village more of a resort for camping and or looking for lodges. It is a nice place though and we paid $19 for a tent spot, it’s also popular passing through point for the Pacific Crest Trail. When we settled into our camp spot we chatted to our friendly neighbours who gave us plenty of firewood, we enjoyed dinner, took showers ($0.75 for 4 minutes and they close at 8pm) and all wrapped up we drove back up to the rim to shoot some long exposures. We were chuffed to see the Milky Way out there too.

The following morning after a pretty good night’s sleep we got up early at 5.50am, packed and we were on our way by 6.25am so we could watch the sunrise over the Lake and do a morning hike. This time we took the eastern road towards the lake and stopped off at some beautiful spots along the way both towards and away from the lake. Again the weather was perfect so we just took advantage of good light and conditions. We found a lovely spot for some breakfast, and then took the 5 mile round trip hike up to the Mount Scott peak which is the highest point in the park at 8929ft. This is the highest we have been together on a hike and as the first people to be up there for the day it felt pretty good. We took in yet again the fantastic views before making our way back down and to the car. On our way out of Crater Lake we stopped at a few more vantage points before eventually making our way to the exit of the park. This was most definitely a very rewarding part of our journey so far.

Next on our list was to get to Florence, backtracking a little bit in terms of heading north again but we wanted to reach the Oregon coast at a certain point. This is where the Dunes are and we didn’t want to miss those. After a long drive we stopped in Eugene at the Fifth Street Public Market for a drink and a place to charge our laptop and batteries. After 2 hours we continued onto Florence and found the campsite Jesse M Honeyman 3 miles after leaving Florence. Again paying our honesty fee, we found a camping spot, bought some wood and set up camp. After long a friendly camper came along to borrow our axe, and after realising the wood was damp and a fire would be unrealistic he invited us to join him and partner Shelby for drinks and a warm fire. Thanks to them we were nice and toasty that evening.

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f/2.0, Leica 90mm f/2.8, Zeiss 18mm f/4 ZM processed in Lightroom 3)

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