Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day 15! Up, Up, Up

We'd made it over Bear Camp Pass and we would be able to do this, too. This was nearly as much climbing, but spread over nearly 40 miles, making most of the climb gradual, although we were expecting steep parts for sure, and the whole day just slow going.

We rousted at 6:15 and were rolling out of camp just after 7:00. We rode to the small town of Prospect, where we had hopes of finding a spot for breakfast. The steps of their small public library served us just fine.

The library in Prospect is only open two days a week and only for a few hours each time. A small town from the day before had two days, but still only half days. The graphics of the signs and such were very similar helping us to believe that the libraries in these towns probably share a roving librarian(s). We're very glad for our extensive library hours.

We then carried on riding with short breaks for Cliff Bars and other snacks, but no real lunch stop, due to wanting to get to the campground as soon as possible. That said, we did stop at a lovely little "town" with a store, cabins for rent and such that had a very scenic gliding swing overlooking a creek. We sat there to eat our bars before hitting the store for Advil, me having forgotten to buy it at a larger store while quickly going through our supply thanks to the still hurting knee.

Later in the day, we stopped at a snowmobile staging area complete with a warming hut and vault toilets. No water, though, and, by this time our water was getting a little low. Just after this stop, we crossed a stream, so we stopped to filter some water to fill the water bottles.

Then on we went. As the day progressed, so did the incline. The increasing incline was punctuated by sections of good, hard climbing. We eventually entered Crater Lake National Park:

However, there was still a good ways to ride to the entrance booth and the campground, so on we went. Both before and after entering the park, the ride was quite scenic and, for me, mostly enjoyable.

Anthony, though, hit a wall just about when we got to this sign. We rode on with me in the lead and widening it until we stopped for another food break and Anthony admitted to his struggles. I was feeling pretty good and, with the worry about getting a spot, Anthony wanted me to ride ahead. I took some of the heavy things that were easily switched (books, peanut butter) and left them with the tools I usually carried and rode on.

Just as I was feeling rather desperate about yet another really steep climb, it turned to downhill and I coasted up to the entrance booth. Feeling all happy and proud of riding there, I said to the woman working in the booth, "Hi!"

She said, dully, "That'll be $5." So much for enthusiasm, "You rode your bike here?" for example. It's not like it was common place at all for people to show up on bikes. Ah well.

I paid the $5 for me and the $5 in advance for Anthony, while Davan, being a child, was free. If we'd been in a passenger car, it also would have been $10. So, get this, seven adults show up to Crater Lake National Park in a minivan. It costs $10. Seven adults show up on bike and it's $35. What kind of sense does that make? Plus, the Pacific Crest Trail with lots of through hikers goes right through Crater Lake National Park. They do not pay. Odd, I think.

The registration booth for the campground was right around the corner. I hurried over and was waiting my turn behind two people who were arguing about price. Someone from inside the booth asked if I was with them. No, they said, "We didn't bring any bikes." I didn't bring the bike, man! I rode it here! Anyway, I was directed to the other side of the booth where I said, "Please, oh please, tell me you still have tent sites available!"

"Yes, ma'am, I do," she answers me without much interest. I guess only I was excited about having ridden there. Sigh. Still, it was great news and I was happy to hear it. Just as I was finishing up registering, Anthony and Davan showed up, Anthony looking like heck warmed over and looking very, very grateful that he wouldn't have to ride any farther.

I sent them on to the campsite and then went to the camp store to pick up some sort of recovery drink for Anthony, in particular. I'd been hoping for some Odwalla products, but they didn't have them. I got Anthony's second choice, Gatorade, as well as picking up some OJ.

Then I rode over to the site, 38.35 more miles accomplished when I pulled in:

We slugged the beverages - OJ never tasted so good! - and set up camp. Anthony and I toyed with the idea of eating at the buffet style all you can eat restaurant, but, after I went back over and checked it out, decided the price wasn't worth it for Davan and I, particularly.

Instead, I whipped up a bean dip which we ate with carrot chips and baked tortilla chips. We enjoyed a stroll around the near-by trail and the campground, tacking on a perusal of the camp store before returning to camp to eat some more. Anthony made pancakes again:

We stayed up late to go to the ranger presentation about driving the much less used east side of the rim drive and learned the bad news. The forecast for the next day was rain. Not only that, but the ranger told us that often, with a low cloud cover, you can't even see down into the basin of the lake. It was also getting colder and colder, with snow flurries expected on the rim on Sunday.

Now, we would be at a much lower elevation by Sunday and weren't worried about that, but we were not excited about the rain and possibly not seeing the lake after all that effort to get there. We made plans to not dawdle in the morning, as the rain wasn't supposed to start until 11:00 and went to bed as wrapped up as we could get - it was cold! - and tried not to worry too much about the next day, yet again.

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