Friday, September 20, 2013

Diamond and Crater Lakes

from Bill...

Diamond Lake is located about ten miles north of Crater Lake and is a great place to camp, if you want to see Crater Lake. Debby found out about this little gem of a campground from the Wheeling It blog. It is run by the Forest Service, so once again we got a great price and a great site with a fire pit. After getting settled in, I went out to gather some firewood (it’s legal to do that here). I scored a pretty good stash of wood, but got stung in the leg in the process, a small price to pay for a nice hot fire. When we got here, the weather was hot, almost 90 degrees, but that was about to change. The next day temperatures were forecast to drop and it was supposed to rain all day. We thought about making a dash for it and heading out but decided we’d be better off hunkering down and riding out the storm.

Debby volunteered to drive to Crater Lake the next day, and off we went just before the crack of noon. It hadn't started raining yet and we were looking forward to a drive around the lake, taking in the views and snapping lots of photos. When we got to the lake the skies had become ominous and we were driving in and out of the bottom of the clouds; the fog was thick and Debby was white-knuckling it. Fortunately, we were able to grab a few glimpses of the lake from several overlooks - what a magnificent sight. As the weather was diminishing, we stopped in to check out the Lodge, which proved to be a great decision.

The lodge had a huge fireplace with a roaring fire going, just what we needed to take off the chill. We got comfy in a couple of wood rockers in front of the fire and ordered up a latte and a cup of tea. Right about then, it began to snow, and it was really coming down. We were so happy to be warm and cozy and enjoying our drinks inside. Needless to say, lots of people were coming in and hanging out and we were enjoying the show. One couple had been out riding their bikes around the lake, but gave that up when the weather turned.

As we ordered a viognier and an amber, a couple of guys, about my age, sat next to us, and Debby started chatting it up with them. Chris and Dominic were super nice, two long-time friends on their annual camping trip together. Debby told them about our campsite at Diamond Lake, and they decided to spend the night there, where it would be a lot warmer. Since we couldn't see the lake from the overlooks, we decided to head back down the hill. The snow had stopped, but it had blanketed the side of the road. We stopped for a photo, to contrast with the shot of our friend, Maria, lounging on a rock by the lake soaking up the sun a few days earlier.

On the way home, we ran into Chris and Dominic at the South Shore Pizza shop. We had just stopped to check the place out, but when we saw they had five beers on tap, we ordered up a couple  with a plate of spuds (breaded potato slices) and a salad. Man, those potatoes were good, and so was the beer. It was a brown ale from a brewery in Cascade Lakes, I think. After getting back to the campground, we dug out our Deschutes growler and I went back to get it filled.

When we got back to the campground we went for a walk and  found our new friends camped in a parking lot, connected to the camp host’s power (this was a no-hookup campground, so they were lucky). We decided to have a campfire at their campsite, so I walked back to get our car and the rest of our firewood. On the way, I picked up a can of beef-a-roni that someone had left behind at their campsite. I planned to either give it away or toss it. I asked several people if they wanted it, but found no takers. Soon I was talking to a large group that turned out to be from South Lake Tahoe. One was the owner of the Fox & Hound, and two of them knew Beth, from Tahoe Valley Campground.—small world. They had a bottle of beer that none of them wanted, so I traded it for the beef-a-roni and think I got the better of the deal. We had a great time at the campfire that night and said goodbye to Chris & Dom.

Enjoying the campfire in the pouring rain - for hours!
The following day we packed up and headed to Eugene, but not without getting a tip from the camp host to avoid our original route, which had major construction delays, and to visit Watson Falls on the way. It was about a half-mile hike uphill to get the best view, but well worth it. It’s a magnificent waterfall in the middle of a lush forest, so we got our exercise and a couple of great pictures.




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