We took the kids hiking today. Apparently they had a good time, since my daughter said,
“This is the greatest day of my life!”
And I asked if it was better than Disneyland, and she said,
And then Warren said, “Yes! This is WAY better than Disneyland.”
I am not making this up. They seriously said this. I should have made them sign their names to an agreement about this, but alas, I didn’t have a pen and paper with me.
Also, I didn’t have my camera with me, so I only have really super-crappy cell-phone pics, which I shall share anyhow.
Speaking of sharing: Here are some tips if you want to go to Crater Lake. This is the one outside of Flagstaff, Arizona, not the one in Oregon, for the record. 🙂
Take SR180 north from downtown Flagstaff (aka going towards the Grand Canyon). You’ll pass Snow Bowl on the way. Just past milepost 234 you’ll see the turnoff for Forest Service Road 760. (Note! The sign with a left-hand arrow pointing towards FSR 760 is probably 1/8 mile before the turnoff; the milemarker for 234 is in-between, so it can be a bit confusing. FSR 760 is marked, though, once you get on it.)
Drive down 760 for 2.1 miles. There are several roads that veer off to the left and right, but they are all marked with different FSR numbers, so just generally go straight-ish. Park your car at the junction of 760 and FSR9009D (which is on the left).
You’ll walk for probably… 1.5 miles (sorry, no GPS with me). Since you’re still technically on a forest service road, the terrain is generally pretty flat and easy to navigate. Lots of forks in the road as well; just keep to the right.
Now, in other directions for this hike I read that there is a “Notice” sign, which is where the hike begins. You’ll see a sign, which of course I can’t remember, but it doesn’t say “Official Notice” – it is more to the effect of “Hazardous Road conditions, Notice Ahead.” You’ll keep going straight, up the hill a little bit. THEN, then, you’ll get to the “Official Notice” sign. And this is your official notice that this is where your 200′ ascent uphill starts.
And uphill it is for probably the first 100′. Really uphill, on lots of loose volcanic rock. There are also some trees that have literally fallen over in the path. There was a fire in this area about 10 years ago, and you can see a lot of the damage, both on your side going uphill and downhill. Also, right about this time is a good time to look across the way and say, WOW! Look at that view. And look how much taller Humphreys is than this hill. 🙂
Eventually the hike does plateau off a bit and is not so steep, which is nice. You’ll continue in a curve around the hill until you come to a gate which has barbed wire on it and you have to stumble around poles to navigate through (presumably to keep out the larger wildlife). After this, you walk downhill a short ways to… THE LAKE! Yes, Crater Lake is in the center of an exploded, now sleeping volcano. Lots of fun rock-hunting for the kids.
Okay, so, the lake was pretty much non-existent when we went. And, as my kids so eloquently pointed out, “It smells like old mints.” Nonetheless – very beautiful, with tall aspens surrounding the lake’s spot. A recommended hike, even for smaller kids (mine are 5 and 7) – it was probably 2.5 miles from the car to the lake itself.
Now, that said, if you have some sort of SUV you can probably drive most of the way up FSR9009D to the “Official Notice” sign. The road narrows quite a bit not far before that point and driving would become a bit tricky. Definitely not recommended for, say, my Jetta. 🙂