Day 46 (7/16/14): Crater Lake National Park
Being in Oregon, we had to see the deepest lake in the United States: Crater Lake! We left our campground on the coast at 10:30am thinking it would take us maybe 3 hours at the most to drive the 183 miles to the lake, but it ended up taking 3.75 hours to get there! Luckily the drive was scenic as most of it was spent next to the impressive Umpqua River. In fact, when we first came across the river, we thought it was a lake due to how wide it is. Also, when we first started out driving, we came across the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area and pulled over where we actually saw quite a few elk!
The long drive paid off when we reached Crater Lake National Park and saw the impressive rim and unbelievably blue water of the seemingly bottomless lake. Photos don’t even do it justice! Make a trip out with your RV or a National Park RV Rental to see Crater Lake for yourself. You’ll be mesmerized! You might also be interested in learning the origin of the lake. With the word “Crater” in its name, I assumed that the lake had been created from a meteor hitting the earth. That should be a safe assumption, right? Come to find out though, that wasn’t the case. The lake was actually created by a volcanic eruption that caused a mountain to collapse. This formed an incredibly deep basin, which gradually filled with rain and snow over the course of thousands of years. Good to know!
There is also an island in the lake, which happens to be a volcano as well. Therefore, Wizard Island is a volcano within a volcano. Think about that for a second: a volcano in a lake of another volcano. Pretty crazy, right?! I think so! The other part I found fascinating about Crater Lake was the massive chunk of rock where the original mountain broke off. You can almost imagine a mountain there in place of the lake.
There’s a 33-mile scenic drive around the entire lake, but we only made it to Rim Village. After driving 183 miles to get to the lake and knowing we’d have to drive another 183 miles to get back to our campsite, we didn’t have it in us to drive the entire circumference of the lake. Plus, from several of the viewpoints we stopped at, we could see the entire lake. We also made a few stops on the way back to enjoy the scenery. When we finally got back to our RV at 7:15pm, we were exhausted from the long day of driving. We weren’t too tired to make another campfire though and roast hot dogs! Always a good way to end the day!
Day 47 (7/17/14): Winchester Bay, OR
Such a gorgeous day! Today was the first day it wasn’t foggy since we’ve been on the Oregon coast. It was the perfect opportunity to give crabbing a try. We rented a crab trap for $5 from the local market, purchased some crab bait (which was actually chicken – go figure!) then headed to the nearby dock.
In Oregon, you must have a license to be able to catch crabs. The licenses were $11 per person for 3 days. Also, the crabs you catch must be male and at least 5.75” in width across their shell. If they’re female or smaller than 5.75″, you have to toss them back into the water. We got a measuring guide from the market where we also got our licenses, bait, and traps. It shows you how big the crabs have to be and how to tell the males from the females. Females have a broad marking on the underside of their shell (their belly) whereas the males have a more narrow marking. Of the piddly three crabs we caught, 2 of them were too small, and the third one was a female, so we weren’t able to keep any as they weren’t “legal”.
The female crab was feisty though! You have to pick them up from behind between their back legs to avoid having them pinch you with their front claws (a tip: when you reach under them, don’t reach further than beyond their back legs). She put up a fight when I picked her up! Somehow she managed to wrap her claws under her belly where my fingers were and clamp down on my middle finger! Ouch! Luckily, it was just a flesh wound though. 😉
Since we had been prematurely planning on having crabs for dinner (wishful thinking), we were in the mood for seafood. With no crabs to satisfy our craving, we decided to just have seafood at a restaurant in Reedsport. As satisfying as it would have been to cook and eat crabs that we had caught ourselves, it was still satisfying to eat seafood caught, cleaned and cooked by someone else! Plus, I didn’t have to clean and prepare the crabs and then clean up afterward, so it worked out. Instead, we watched a lovely sunset over the bay.