Rim drive, swimming in the lake and sunset
Trip Start Aug 19, 2010
66Trip End Ongoing
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Although the day did almost start with a minor disaster as Zoe dropped her sunglasses whilst sat on a precarious log overhanging the edge of the crater rim. They bounced a few times and luckily snagged on a small branch less than a foot from the drop-off that would have signaled their demise. It was also a bit of a mission setting the timer on the camera before rushing to the edge and jumping onto the log, but that just made it more fun.
Today was a day to do the rim drive, at around 30 miles and with many stops we'd set off early and made the most of the glorious weather and stunning surroundings. By lunch time we'd reached a beautiful overlook that seemed perfect for lunch, we had a great view from the highest point on the rim drive and came across some interesting characters with a novel method of transport for the route, at first I thought this guy was just being overly cautious but as is turned out it might have been a wise move given that he only had one wheel on his chosen form of transport.
After lunch we carried on round towards the only point at which you can hike down to the lake itself, we'd heard wonderful things about the water itself and knew we had to see for ourselves, just driving around it was spectacular enough so seeing it close up had to be something special.
The temperature of the water varied throughout the year, at it's coldest when the snow was melting even a quick dip would lead to hypothermia, the deepest depths always remained incredibly cold, and rumour had it that occasionally the bodies of cowboys from the past would float to the surface having been well preserved in the icy depths....although none surfaced whilst we were there.
After yet another hike described as strenuous we made it to the lakes surface, we'd met a couple of people on the way down who had described the water as the best they'd ever been in, but also as very cold. So there was only one way to go in without knowing I would back out.
There is no denying this is truly somewhere special, the water was indeed cold, the kind of cold that you don't get used to after a few minutes, it just keeps lowering your core temperature....so the dip in the waters was only short lived, but well worth it.
After the swim in the lake we carried on round the rim towards Watchtower lookout where in days gone by park wardens would look out over the park to see if they could see any forest fires, these were especially likely during periods of lighting. However this did pose a certain problem, being high up during a lighting storm isn't always the best of ideas so they would sit on a wooden stool with glass tipped legs to help avoid conducting the full force of a lighting strike. These days it is still used but it also one of the best places to see the sunset over the park.
After arriving an hour early, partly due to us not knowing exactly when sunset was and partly due to an overcautious estimate by the guide of how long it would take to walk up to the point we watched the sun set. The wind was blowing a gale and it wasn't exactly warm but it was still worth the trek. We watched the sun slowly dip behind the horizon and the shadows rise over the lake, apparently Zoe used to spend many a night in her youth taking photos of sunset at home, this hobby has yet to leave her and has become something of a trend in our trip so far, and no doubt will continue to do so. A beautiful end to a great day