Thursday, October 01, 2009

Day 16! Crater Lake and The Great Chase

We woke up to blue sky. Had we not heard the forecast, we'd have been complacent. We weren't doing a lot of miles, hoping to have some time to spend looking at Crater Lake from the various different views. However, having seen the forecast, we set to work, packing up, cooking and eating our oatmeal and generally getting on the road.

In this picture, you can see the bear box. It's a box provided to keep your food safe from bears. We just put all our panniers in there. Rain protection.

Then we rode up - another 1000+ feet climb - to the rim. It was cloudy, but you could see the lake. Yay! We enjoyed, briefly, sitting on the deck of the lodge:

Then, feeling the pressures of the weather, we moved on. We stopped at several view points and got a few pictures,

but part way around the rim, we could see the rain moving in. Literally. So, we kept moving. When we knew that the next step was leaving the rim and going downhill, we put on our rain gear and got ready for a wild decent:

And wild it was. Anthony and Davan got up to 41 miles per hour on the decent. We flew down toward Diamond Lake with the clouds constantly threatening. Sometimes we could see the rain to the side of us. Sometimes we got sprinkled on. We made Diamond Lake, though, having ridden hard, despite the decent, and had just turned off toward the lake when the rain hit.

We hoped to find a campground and get out of the rain, but first we came to a gas station. We ducked under the cover for a few minutes and should have stopped to ask questions and plan, but instead, we haired off down a road toward a campground, according to a signpost which didn't say how far it was...

A few miles later, most of which was ridden in the rain, varying from pouring to sprinkling, Anthony finally heard me yelling at him to stop. I was done, done, done. It was my turn to hit a wall. By the time he stopped (in a spot where, thanks to some trees, it was only sprinkling), I almost fell over after getting off my bike. I grabbed some energy bites and started shoving them into my mouth hand over fist, which helped a lot.

I said, "We don't know where we're going! We might be circling around the lake to a campground on the other side - all miles out of our way. Let's at least stop and look at the map."

Anthony, contrite, agreed and we discovered that we were, indeed, circling the lake. We decided to go back. At this point, Davan burst into tears. She had her usual rain issue - cold feet - and was really unhappy we were going to have to back track in the rain.

When we got back to the (very small) gas station, we went in to warm up a bit and use the facilities. Davan and Anthony ate a little more. I didn't need any more after my energy bite binge. Then it was onward.

We rode up the road to where a campground was supposed to be...couldn't find directions...decided to go on to where we'd hoped to camp that night, all-in-all doing an additional 10 miles of mostly downhill after the Diamond Lake fiasco with, luckily, only sprinkles. When we finally got into Inlet Campground, it was 2:30 and we'd done 49.23 miles.

Just as Anthony and Davan had gotten the tent out to set it up, it started to pour again. All three of us worked together and got the tent up in less than a minute, but some rain still got inside. It wasn't too bad, though, and we got Davan in the tent with the sleeping bags and pads without getting to much more rain in. She got into her sleeping bag and started getting her feet warm.

Anthony and I moved the bikes and gear under some trees and then made a pot of soup to warm up and fill our hungry bellies. Inlet Campground was a pretty rustic campground with no water, so we were thinking we'd have to go to the river to pump, which was feeling daunting in my fatigued state, when our neighbors offered to share their water. That was very nice and really helped us out.

Davan got served our late lunch in bed. After we got cleaned up, we joined her. We spent the afternoon/evening reading, journaling and playing cards. Later on we had pb&j roll ups and split an apple, which was our only fresh produce of the day. We also polished off some cereal we had on hand.

We were a little concerned about food. We definitely had enough for the next day, but the day after that would be iffy without getting to a store. If we had to hole up due to rain the next day, a possibility we weren't excited about at this campground with it's very stinky outhouse and no water, we'd absolutely have to make it to Oakridge, the next town, the next day and it would be a day of Cliff Bars until we got there.

To make matters more interesting, the road we were to go on the next day was gravel with a significant grade - enough of a grade that it would be a good climb even on pavement. We weren't totally sure we'd be able to do it, but the other option was a 100 mile detour, which would mean definitely not being able to make it back home. We'd been thinking that we'd just give it a try and if it proved to be too unmanageable, we'd turn back, but between the weather and food issues, we were feeling unsettled about it.

We fell asleep, hoping to wake up to clear skies, or, at least, lack of rain.


  1. Anonymous4:43 PM

    Your writing is enthralling. I love reading the installments to find out what happens next. You really should write a book.

    I cannot fathom living on cliff bars and pb&j roll ups!

  2. Gosh, thanks! Your comment made my day!