We chose a different route to Crater Lake than we did a few years ago. This time we passed Odell Lake, where I worked during my first summer with the U. S. Forest Service. Snow covered Diamond Peak sat peacefully behind the calm waters of the lake. An informational sign informed us that the lake was named on July 27, 1865 for William H. Odell who was surveying routes for the Oregon Central Military Road. Because of the Civil War, the road was financed by private industry in exchange for land. We also stopped at Crescent Lake where I lived that first summer. The marina is still there, but a new campground, cabins, and dam give it a completely different look.

Phantom Ship

Phantom Ship

The last time we visited Crater Lake the north entrance had opened but only the road to the lodge was open. This time we stopped for pictures of Wizard Island and then drove east. We learned that the Klamath believed Llao was the spirit chief for the below world and that Skell was the spirit chief for the above world. We stopped for lunch in the Whitebark picnic area. A group of Buddhists from Thailand were also there. One of them gifted us with an apple. Back on the road, we made separate stops to admire the Pumice Castle and the Phantom Ship. We took a small detour in order to hike through old growth fir and hemlock to see Plaikni Falls. “Plaikni” is a Klamath word meaning “from the high country.” It is hard to believe that this area receives 44 feet of snow each year. Back on the road, Vidae Falls was cascading down a hillside near the road. If anyone tells you, “If you’ve seen one lake, you’ve seen them all,” don’t believe them. Crater Lake has a deep blue color that is most distinctive.

After leaving Crater Lake, we traveled south around Klamath Falls. As I reminisced about Drake Peak, my wife discovered that while it is no longer a lookout, it can be rented for $40 a night. Bring your own firewood, bedding, and water! Later, we learned that Aspen Cabin is also available to rent at $40 per night. Hope the caulking has been replaced. Along the way to Redding, we enjoyed dramatic views of Mount Shasta. This second highest Cascade peak reaches 14,162 feet to the sky. We learned that its last eruption was in 1786. When will it erupt again?

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