April 9-11, 2004
Out of curiosity, I read some Crater Lake trip reports in the Obsidian archives before sitting down to write this one, and it was a sobering experience! In the good old days, a spring weekend at Crater Lake meant circumnavigating the lake in three or even two days, and camping overnight in the snow. By comparison, the twenty-nine skiers and snowshoers who spent Easter weekend at Crater Lake this year, staying overnight at the Prospect Inn and enjoying their delicious breakfasts and dinner, had a pretty cushy trip, but no one seemed to be complaining.
Like last year, we had beautiful weather. In fact, the sun was so intense on Saturday that some of us wore wide-brimmed straw hats or other novel headgear, one sensible person coated her face with ghostly white sunscreen, and no one had any extra skin showing, despite the balmy temperatures. We were afraid the trails would be icy, but the snow softened up quickly—perhaps too fast for the snowshoers, who found it heavy going, but surprisingly good for the skiers. All of us started out from the Rim Village and headed clockwise around the lake, with skiers getting a head start. The lead skiers made it all the way around the Watchman but found the trail steep and icy near the end, and were glad to turn back. We missed the fresh, fluffy snow we enjoyed last year, but the views of the lake and distant peaks were spectacular.
Sunday morning we went off in all directions, some returning to Rim Village for a guided nature walk on showshoes, but many others choosing to hike. One group tried the Takelma Gorge hike, which starts just a few miles north of Prospect. The first mile or so of the trail runs through a forested area where the Rogue River is relatively placid, but then the river plunges into the gorge formed by a lava tube. For about a mile the gorge is narrow, deep, and twisting and the river is a noisy torrent. There’s a grassy promontory right where the gorge ends and the river once again calms down—a great lunch spot and a good turnaround. The short hike from Prospect down to Pearsony Falls also got a good review.
We had two wonderful evenings outdoors—looking at planets and constellations through Rick Ahrens’ telescope on Friday night, and sitting around a fire on Saturday night listening to Rick strum his guitar and sing, joining in when we knew the words. The most novel part of the weekend was a hula hoop contest, organized and enthusiastically promoted by Prospect Inn co-owner Jo Turner. Mary Croson stomped the competition with her amazing hip and head action, and won a Prospect Inn T-shirt.
Trip participants were Rick Ahrens, Dave Becker, Ray and Lois Bjerken, Anne Bonine, Mary Croson, Walt Dolliver, Jim and Sharon Duncan, Carol Faller, Giselle Garrity, Kathy and Stewart Hoeg, Anne Dhu McLucas, Chuck Mitchell, Jack O’Donnell, Bill and Margaret Prentice, Sharon Ritchie, Barbara Schomaker, Chris Stockdale, Guy Strahan, Pete Suttmeier, Clare Tucker, Sheila Ward, Martha Welches, Joanne Whitfield, and Ken and Beth (trip leader) Kodama. Giselle’s husband Leo joined us for meals.