On Thursday, a friend and I rode our bicycles the 34 mile rim road in Crater Lake National Park, about 90 miles southwest of Bend, Oregon. We were fortunate to have tapirgal of Astoria Daily Photo along to chronicle our trip and drive a "support vehicle." It is her pictures that are on today's post.
The first photo, taken early in the morning in 30 degree weather, expresses the pristine quality of this amazing place. Crater Lake, the remains of an ancient imploded volcano, Mt Mazama, is over 1950 feet deep crystal clear blue water and is off-limits to boating of any kind. There is also no development in the park or along the lake. Due to the severity of the long Winter season, the park is usually open only from June through late October and, on this lovely day, amidst incredible Autumn colors, was practically free of tourists.
The second photo pays homage to tapirgal's skill with the camera and to memorialize the kindness she showed us riders. If you look carefully at the sunglasses worn by the exhausted bicyclist, namely me, you see that this is a group photo. In the left lens is friend Steve and, in the right, is the photographer with a beautiful shot of the lake in the background.
The last photo is a classic shot of "phantom ship" and the west rim. There are so many breathtaking vistas that I urge any of you to visit at least once in your life. However you might think twice before seeing it on a bicycle. This ride is no picnic. Many a guidebook or bike shop advisor describes the road in terms likened to jack-o-lantern's mouth. The grades are long and quite steep, and, on the downhills, the rider can reach truly death-defying speeds. Aside from the satisfaction of completing the course through this unique landscape, at the end there is the pure pleasure of easy chairs before a fireplace and delicious food and drink at the historic Crater Lake Lodge. I know that, unlike so many mundane days in life that disappear from memory, this day will stand out as one of the finest.