12.17.2010,12:28 PM
OR Backcountry: Day 1 Crater Lake

We knew that the rest of the way to the north entrance to Crater Lake was a straight shot on pavement. I had planned it that way because the total mileage for our first day was over 200 and it was best that we allowed some daylight to set up camp. The ride south was not really fun with the coughing and choking DR, but I gritted my teeth and continued with my ear plugs well pushed in.

I had planned to camp at the smaller campground in the national park, Lost Creek Camp. Unfortunately, the ranger at the park entrance informed us that it was full, to the best of her knowledge. However, we could check it out to see if any sites were open.

The campground is east of the crater, so I had planned to turn southeast at the fork. Ed was tired and didn't see the turn, so we rode on the west side and south. It was a nice ride, but we were racing time and daylight at that point and didn't stop to take in any views. Because the roads follow the rim of the crater, you don't want to really take your eyes off the road. It's a long way down on the side.

We finally reached the southern point where the turn off follows the east side of the crater. The road on this side seemed less populated and more densely forested than the west side. We spotted the turn off that goes down the rim and deeper into the forest. About eight miles down the narrow road, we found the campground. All 15 sites were full. And both of us were tired, hungry, thirsty and tired.

We both had to use the rest rooms, drink some water, eat SOMETHING and just gel. It had been a long day and we were desperate for a place to land and get off the bikes. While sitting on a log near the rest rooms, a family stopped to chat. They were camped in the big main campground and out exploring for the day. They commented that someone in the campground might offer to share their site with us, but we couldn't depend on that. So we decided to head back to the main road and to the main campground near the south entrance.

We found it after back tracking about 12 miles and pulled into a huge parking lot and a sea of other vehicles. I remembered then that this was Labor Day weekend. Holiday. Tourists. National Park. = busy.

I parked scouted out a place to park the bike in the lot while Ed scouted a place to secure a camping spot. I spotted a familiar sight: a V-strom. I pulled up alongside its rider, parked the bike, and with relief pulled off helmet and unplugged my ears. Mike was on an impromptu bike trip from Bremerton, Washington, with a diversion to visit Crater Lake.

After a bit of chatting, I asked where he was camping the night. He also had discovered that Lost Creek was full and was planning on finding any spot to pitch his tent for the night. I offered to share our spot with him and he accepted. A great way to spend our first night in the sorta back country!

Ed returned with a camp reservation and map. We headed out toward our spot for the night with a sense of relief and anticipation of getting off the bike, changing into comfy clothes and breathing. What a relief after a 200+ mile route as our first day!!!

After setting up camp Ed and I walked over to the camp store, picked out sandwiches and chips for dinner. We were both too tired to cook anything. We each also picked up a toddy out of the cooler. That wine cooler was so soothing as it went down and soothed the tightness developing.

We discovered something that all forest (and desert, too) campgrounds should have: bear-proof storage and trash containers. (The brown boxes in the photo above.) These had a bear-proof door which opened into a good size interior to store food and drinks, as well as what ever else you wanted to store. The trash bins were as heavy duty and bear-proof; just larger. We also noticed the numerous "This are bears in this campground" signs.

I couldn't stay awake for very long and hit the bag soon after sun set while Ed and our fellow camper visited. The owls were awesome.

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posted by Macrobe
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