Willamette Pass, Klamath Falls, Crater Lake

August 25, 2001

It was the night of Friday, August 24th, and I was like, "What am I going to do tomorrow?"

The prospect of sitting around doing el zilcho didn't appeal to me... so I looked at my USGS map of Oregon and tried to figure out where I'd never been before.

There was always Brookings, Oregon on the south coast, but it didn't seem to have any appeal for me at that point in time. Then I remembered Crater Lake... and figured that since I'd be in that neck of the woods anyway, I ought to stop by Klamath Falls, just to see what it was like.

This gallery is the result of that decision.   

Somewhere along Highway 58.

Very Oregonian -- big coniferous-type trees, etc.

The Twins, Fuji Mountain (!), Davis Peak, and Diamond Peak. 

Yes, Oregon has a "Fuji Mountain" (which I didn't know before I tried to identify these peaks from my wall map). 

This is what Oregon Geographic Names has to say about it: "Fuji Mountain, Lane [County], a 7144 foot high, flat-topped peak two miles south of Waldo Lake, is another of Oregon's mystery names. The name predates World War II and has no known connection with the famous Mount Fujiyama in Japan. It certainly has no physical resemblance, either in size of prominence."


It's Camp Algonkian Island!

Anyone who identifies that reference... well, you get to go to the Silver Lake dance, but Pierre has to keep an eye on you the whole time ;) 

This is actually Crescent Lake, along Highway 58. This picture has all the quintessential ingredients: mountains, trees, lake, stump ;)

Klamath Falls, from a distance.

This is about four miles out of K-Falls, up on the side of a hill. Klamath Falls is the place in the middle distance that has all the trees.

More of Klamath Falls from a distance.

The water in the distance is actually one lake: Upper Klamath Lake. 

In the far distance, barely visible in this picture (but a lot more visible in real life), you can see Mt. Shasta, one of the California Cascades (yes, California has Cascades, oddly enough), towering over Klamath Falls 'n stuff.

Across the road from that scenery.

I got really, really lost in Klamath Falls, trying to find a hill where I could take a good scenic overview picture of town. I ended up on this two-lane road that went way the heck out into the country... when I found a place to turn around, and I was able to drive back downhill, I noticed that some spots along the road had a pretty good view.

But the only place I could stop was in the driveway of a house that was for sale. So that's where all the scenic overview type pictures were taken.

This picture shows you the scenery uphill from the house that was for sale -- it's more typical of Klamath Falls scenery than the picture below... this picture's got the dry grass, the occasional tree, the sagebrush, and the rock outcroppings.

Upper Klamath Lake, about 5 miles north of Klamath Falls. Facing west-northwestish.

When you drive to Klamath Falls via US 97, you spend 17 miles driving alongside Upper Klamath Lake. And there's still about 6-10 miles of it that you don't get to drive past. It's big. It's pretty much the only lake in Oregon that gets shown on national maps that are made back East.

One interesting feature of Upper Klamath Lake: Large gnats hover above its shores in ~2' clouds. You can see these clouds of bugs when you drive by on US 97 (although they didn't show up in this picture). In fact, about half a cloud of bugs ended up landing on my car and my self when I got out to take these pictures... ewww!!!

More of Upper Klamath Lake. Facing north-northwestish.

The peaks are Pelican Butte and Devils Peak.

Vanished volcano!

This picture was taken along OR 62, just outside of Fort Klamath.

The information pad shows a rough outline of what Mount Mazama must have looked like 14,000 years ago. Mt. Mazama was the mountain that exploded -- far more forcefully than Mt. St. Helens. It lost 7,000 feet of its total height, and a lot of its interior. That 7,000+ feet of debris came down as ash that is a distinct geological layer as far away as Saskatchewan (!)

This spot must've been incomparably beautiful when Mt. Mazama was still intact. 

It's still nice today, in a pastoral sort of way. It's oddly green, despite the fact that Oregon is having a drought year. When I was driving through here, I felt like I was back in western Oregon; only the Ponderosa nature of the pines and the yellow dryland flowers along the road reminded me that I was in the desert of south central Oregon.

More of the Wood River Valley.

See? It's notably greener than Eugene is this time of year, and yet this place gets a lot less rain than Eugene does. Odd.

Snowmobile crossing!

It's always a bit odd to see one of these signs on a 90° day in late summer. ;)

Near the entrance of Crater Lake National Park, on OR 62! 

So I'm driving up to Crater Lake on OR 62, driving the 45 MPH speed limit, and suddenly I see construction signs: "Construction area, speed 25 MPH". I'm thinking, "Why?" Then I see why. Gravel. Loose gravel.

They were paving OR 62 in a lovely rural Oregonian way: pouring down oil, smacking some gravel on top of it, and letting the passing cars do the paving for them. :b

Clink, clink, clink, went the gravel on my windshield.

Then a big truck ended up ahead of me. The clink, clink, clink got more frequent. I got more and more tense.

Then the truck and I had to stop for 10 minutes to wait for a pilot car to take us through the part that they were still working on. I developed a headache at this point. :/

When the pilot car finally got there, I dutifully drove along behind the big truck. The clink, clink, clink had now become a constant torrent of gravel against my windshield. I feared for its integrity. I also feared for my life, due to lowered visibility...

"Crap! I can't see a freaking thing!"

I had my lights on. The driver of the big truck ahead of me did not turn his lights on. Yes, I was bitter. >:/

It was like this picture more often than not.

This was a good visibility moment.

Note the truck ahead of me. It was carrying a bulldozer of some sort. Note the streaks on my windshield. I turned my wipers on to deflect some of the gravel and dirt, so I could see better.

This part of the trip was hell. :b

I was able to take the pictures because we were going about 15 MPH.

So, finally, I got to the official park gate. Then I remembered: Crater Lake is a national park. That means they charge money to get in. I hadn't thought of that, but I had just enough to get in, so I was OK.

I pulled up to the gate. The lady inside the booth handed me some brochures, waved for me to put my wallet away, and said, "You don't have to pay today. It's National Park Day!"

Oh my gosh!!! 8)

My luck never works like that!

I drove up there mostly on a whim, and the day I chose to go there happened to be *precisely* the 100th anniversary of the founding of the national park system, so I got in for free. 8)

That was totally cool. :) :) :)

Agua, árboles, y piedras.

How's that for understatement ;)

This is the world-famous Crater Lake, in Klamath County, Oregon. The picture was taken across the road from the Rim Village. I was facing a bit west of north, I think.

More Crater Lake!

This picture was taken facing northeast.

Crater Lake.

Facing north.

Crater Lake, and Wizard Island therein.

I like Wizard Island. It's a volcanic cone that formed inside Mt. Mazama after the original eruption, and before the crater became a lake.

This picture was taken facing northwest.

Text written 29 August 2001.
Last updated 19 January 2006.

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