Crater Lake, Lassen Volcanic, and Point Reyes

After our visit to Mount Rainier, we drove to Portland to stay with two 2009 Knox Alumni, Will’s cousin Sam Bouman and Kathleen Beeson. They were great hosts and an intriguing glimpse into the future, post-Knox. We brought news of the garden, bike shed, and Eco House – all Knox fixtures that were spear-headed by Sam and Kathleen’s Knox generation. Elizabeth went home that weekend for her brother’s wedding, while Arthur, Will, and Nora travelled around the  Portland area, exploring the cultural and social facets of the Pacific Northwest.

Elizabeth’s return to Oregon coincided with the next drive, to Crater Lake. Entering Crater Lake National Park, which displays the uniquely western trait of the arid, rocky landscape, prompted an uneasy feeling among all of us. Coming to an overlook on Oregon 62, we realized why Crater Lake was one the first National Parks to be protected. The lake is so clear that from the surface an object can be seen 150 feet underwater. Taken aback by the sight, we hung around the overlook for as long as the sunlight remained. The next morning, we hiked along trails southeast of the lake. We decided to see the Pinnacles, a unique geologic formation caused by the explosion of Mount Mazama 7,700 years ago. The Pinnacles are bizarre (see photos). We then hiked a recently created trail to Plaikni Falls. The hike was underwhelming but the falls were worth the walk.

The next morning, we took a boat ride on Crater Lake. Touring the lake from the water level reveals small creeks running down the face of the crater, and a closer look at the geologic features of the park. The boat and docks are kept hidden from hikers along the rim, just as the Rim Road and lodges are invisible from the lake’s surface. The park provides easy access while limiting its infrastructural intrusion.

Driving south to Lassen Volcanic National Park we saw signs for fire routes and road closures, and smelled the ominous char of a forest fire. The entrance station at the park alerted us to a closure of the park’s main throughway. We were only able to get a mile into the park before the road closed. We camped in the Manzanita Lake Campground, which thankfully was located right before the road closure. The next morning, we discussed the extent of the forets fire with park rangers in the visitor center. They told us that the fire started with a lightning strike along the Pacific Crest trail. Park rangers and officials never thought the fire was going to grow into anything very large or dangerous. However, the fire now encompasses the majority of the park. Local fire departments are helping to keep the fire from spreading onto the roads in the park. Besides these efforts, park management of the fire is minimal. The fire is going to burn until it naturally subsides.

Since the park was mostly impenetrable, we decided to continue on our way to San Francisco. Our goal was to reach Point Reyes national seashore that night. We reached the seashore late in the night and slept in the parking lot of a visitor center. Nothing came of that night besides a park ranger’s reprimand in the morning. We drove along the most southern point of Point Reyes towards the lighthouse. There, in the heavy mist, we climbed along the soft rock cliffs lined with red iceplant and wildflowers, to see the beach and the incredible vastness of the Pacific. After our morning spent in Point Reyes, we drove another hour to San Francisco, where we walked along the famous Castro street, saw an Uruguayan art house film in the Castro theater, climbed the hills of Buena Vista park, and encountered the dirtiest of hippies on the corner of Haight and Ashbury. We stayed with a friend of ours that we had met in Yellowstone last month, who was nice enough to show us the city.

Currently, our next stop is Yosemite.

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One response to “Crater Lake, Lassen Volcanic, and Point Reyes

  1. So great to see you all enjoying yourselves and taking advantage of “America’s Best Idea!” I see these precipitous ledges and I recall Mark collaring Will as he really wanted to go beyond the fenced off area. Keep an eye on him ARthur! area

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