Cresent City and the Pacific Ocean

Trip Start Sep 01, 2008
Trip End Nov 19, 2008

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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, November 2, 2008

We made it! California, our last state. And the Pacific Ocean - we have completed the journey coast-to-coast. It was an exciting moment driving up the road to the overlook from which we could see the sea, the waves pounding away in the little cove below us. Atlantic Ocean to Pacific Ocean in just a few weeks.

But, oh dear. The rain caught up with us today. When we were packing up the car this morning, the drops were already starting to fall and this was very much a sign of things to come. We didn't let this deter us from our plans and it was with a mixture of naive hope and mild trepidation that we drove south and turned onto the road that climbed up to today's scenic attraction: Crater Lake.
 As we drove through the thick pine forests, the rain really pouring down now and the light from the sun barely penetrating the clouds and trees, our hope began to fade. Our view of the road ahead was obscured by cloud, but we knew it was out there, winding its way to the summit of the mountain whose contours were invisible to us. We edged our way up this road, taking care not to go too fast since we could see so little of the tarmac. Then the trees fell away, a sign that we had come to the top of the mountain from which we should have a panoramic view of the surrounding hills and see the stunning feature that we have climbed all this way to catch a glimpse of. Crater Lake is out there, hiding in the cloud, rain and fog. It is a large, lake-filled volcanic crater - the deepest lake in fact in the Western hemisphere. Poking out of the surface of the lake is a smaller volcanic cone which has been nicknamed "Wizzards Island" because of its resemblance to a magical hat. In the summer, the crater walls are covered in green plants and little flowers. In the winter, it is caked in pure white snow. Today, the crater walls are doing all they can just clinging on and refusing to be dragged off by the downpour of rain.

We drove on around the "scenic rim drive", which should be re-named the "scary rim drive" when the cloud is this low. Off to our left is the cloud-covered lake, off to our right, nothing but cloud as the outer slopes of the crater fall away. When we came round to the visitor's centre we found the rangers as jovial as ever, appologising for the lack of lake views. Apparently in the winter this is a very common phenomenon because the crater is effectively a big bowl that traps cloud and keeps it there for days on end. So we bought postcards with pictures of how the lake looks on a clear day, something that all visitor's would be doing today. And we settled in the warmth of the café for a bit, drinking hot chocolates and praying for the rain to let up. It didn't.

It poured on out of the heavens for the rest of the day, all the way to the Pacific coast. To celebrate our arrival at the seaside, we thought that we would splash out and pay for a sea-view room in the nice-looking Bay View Inn - but much to our glea it cost no extra and for a bargain price we were happily settled into a spacious second (i.e. first) floor room from which we could admire the grey ocean through the never-ending downpour.
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Where I stayed
Bay View Inn
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