Day 23: Crater Lake JunctionJournal for 2016-10-04 | Published on 2016-10-04 19:55:31
It rained pretty much all night, and the temperature dropped quite low. I (Pam) was hoping it would quit raining by morning, but no such luck. At 6:30, I got up to go to the bathroom, and had to put on my down jacket and rain gear over top. With it being so chilly, it was difficult to convince ourselves to make breakfast and pack it up, but we managed. The sun even peeked out for a bit, and the campsite sure was pretty with all the raindrops beaded up on the pine needles.
There’s nothing like packing up a cold, soaking wet tent. Since I’m the one carrying it, I think I had probably 8 extra pounds today with all the extra water. (Kidding, not kidding.) Once again, we started off fully clothed, lots of layers, and rain gear over top. The beginning of the ride today was gentle hills, no major climbs, up past the rest of the lakes of the Cascade Lakes region. In between rainstorms, we were able to see some pretty cool things, like the edges of the lava fields. The Ponderosa Pine trees growing in the mountains of lava are so beautiful. At the lookout for Davis Lake, we read that the eruption of Mount Mazama (Crater Lake) covered the whole area in 4-5 feet of pumice and ash. Apparently pumice loses heat rapidly at night, so the little valley that Davis Lake is in can get much colder than the hills surrounding it, down to 29*. So the Lodgepole Pine actually does better in that valley, since it likes the cold. Very interesting.
We finally made it to the end of the scenic highway (did I mention it is rated at one of the 10 best scenic highways in America?), took the Crescent Lake cut-off (FR 61), and then made our way around Odell Butte toward US Highway 97. Traffic picked up significantly once we left FR 46. We had passed a lot of hunting outfits, and even heard some gunshots in the early morning. Hunting season is definitely in full force. But the hunters, for the most part, seemed friendly, and waved at us when they had a chance.
Just before the turn for the big highway, we decided to eat lunch. There was a slight break in the clouds, the sun started to shine, and it was almost pleasant. It was still cold, but with the sun shining, you almost forget about that. We got through ¾ of our lunch before it started sprinkling again, which just encouraged us to get a move on.
It’s about 8 miles to Chemult from the turnoff to the highway, and it was pleasant, albeit with a small shoulder, mostly downhill ride into town. There’s surprisingly a lot of businesses for a town of 300, and we stopped in at the Pilot station / Subway for a drink and a chance to make plans and regroup. Here’s the deal. Yes, we are equipped to handle rain. And we are equipped to handle cold. But when you put the two together, it just makes bicycle touring so much less enjoyable. Plus, we weren’t able to see hardly any scenery today, because the clouds were so low. Tomorrow looks like about the same weather, and it’s snowing up on Crater Lake. Well, shoot.
We were almost ready to throw in the towel and catch the train from Chemult to somewhere further south. Instead, after much consideration, we decided to ride 10 miles down the road to the junction of Hwy 97 and State Route 138 which leads up to Crater Lake. We booked a room for 2 nights, and we’ll wait out the weather. By Thursday, it should warm up enough heading south that we should have good riding for the next week or so. It will probably still be cold up on the Crater Thursday, but we’ll just deal with it and camp down lower on the other side.
So that’s our plan. We’ll keep going. We’re definitely having a good time, seeing some beautiful country. If the weather can hold for just a bit longer….
Climb: 1719, a light day for us, ha!
View of the rivers from our campsite
River running past our campsite
Pam finishing her coffee
Raindrops on pine needles
Pine tree sprouting on top of the old lava flows
There may be a stop coming up, but I'm not sure
Teaing us with blue skies. Yea it started sprinkling on us like 5 minutes later.