JULY 27, 2006

     Crater Lake National Park is one of the prettiest places I have ever been.  An old volcano has filled with water, leaving a 2000' deep lake, the deepest in the United States.  The crystal clear, strikingly blue water is simply breathtaking.

Wizard Island
Crater Lake National Park
7-26-2006 @ 4:01
Wizard Island
Crater Lake National Park
7-27-2006 @ 9:39

     This is one of the more unusual hikes I have done.  In order to hike on Wizard Island, you first have to get to it.  That requires hiking down the Cleetwood Cove Trail from the rim of the caldera to the water and then taking the boat ride to the island.  The Cleetwood Cove Trail is smooth and wide and drops about 700' in one mile.  I travel that distance in about twenty-five minutes and pick a shady spot at the bottom to await my boat ride.  Unfortunately, I have about a three hour wait as all the earlier rides were sold out.  I spend a little time watching some girls jump from rocks into the water.

Boat docks at Crater Lake
7-27-2006 @ 11:18
Girls jumping into water
7-27-2006 @ 11:56

     A couple from Oregon sits down beside me while they wait for their ride, which is one hour before mine.  Eventually, their ride time arrives and they take a seat on the boat.  The boat operators then discover they are one rider short, so the couple puts in a good word for me.  I am in luck, so I jump in the boat and get to leave an hour early.  In a few minutes, we arrive at Wizard Island, where the couple and I are the only ones of the forty-two riders to get off.  After a short snack break, we start our hike to the top.  The lower sections of the island are very rocky and it is slow going.

Sandy and Lee
7-27-2006 @ 1:55
Base of Wizard Island
7-27-2006 @ 1:59
Lower trail on Wizard Island
7-27-2006 @ 2:00

     We reach a trail junction sign and take the right fork, which leads to the top.  Many of the trees on the island are completely covered in moss.  After a little climbing, the rocky trail gives way to a smoother trail.

Trail junction sign
7-27-2006 @ 2:02
Moss covered trees
7-27-2006 @ 2:07
Trail to the top
7-27-2006 @ 2:14

     Eventually, the trail smoothes out a lot and although smoother, it is still a steep climb.  We take a moderate pace as it is hot when you are in the sun.  As we near the top, the trail again turns rocky and rough.

Middle section of trail
7-27-2006 @ 2:31
Upper section of trail
7-27-2006 @ 2:40

     After almost an hour, we reach the top.  The caldera of Wizard Island is only a small depression.  We continue on the trail as it loops around the top.  The view of the lake from the top is quite good.

Caldera of Wizard Island
7-27-2006 @ 2:46
Trail around the top
7-27-2006 @ 2:47
The view from the top
7-27-2006 @ 2:48

     I am surprised to find several different flowers at the top.  There is also an interesting section of the trail that is bright red.

Indian Paintbrush
7-27-2006 @ 2:50
Wild Chrysanthemum
7-27-2006 @ 2:51
Red soil and rock section
7-27-2006 @ 2:53

     We can't dillydally too much on the way back as our pickup boat arrives at 3:30.  Fortunately the going is much easier on the way down and we reach the boat dock just in time.  The ride back takes us by two interesting features of the lake.  One is a small island named Phantom Ship.  The other feature high on the cliff is called Pumice Castle.

Phantom Ship
7-27-2006 @ 4:08
Pumice Castle
7-27-2006 @ 4:30

     We arrive at the dock a few minutes before five.  I say goodbye to my new friends and set a fairly hard pace to the top.  While the trail is very smooth, it is a little tougher than it looks.  I travel the one mile from the lake to the trailhead in about a half-hour.

Cleetwood Cove Trail
7-27-2006 @ 4:58
Cleetwood Cove Trail
7-27-2006 @ 5:01
Cleetwood Cove Trailhead
7-27-2006 @ 5:24

     This was a really great day hike.  Pictures do not do justice to the vast beauty in this area and you won't be disappointed if you do this hike. 


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