A Quickie in Tahoe

After my visit to Crater Lake, I hit a wall. After 7 ½ weeks on the road, I was exhausted – physically, emotionally and spiritually.  I also felt a bit let down after the beauty and excitement of Montana had been left behind. I had two more places out West cirlced on my map – Lake Tahoe and Yosemite – but I wasn’t so sure that I had the energy to make that trek. I sat in my room in Klamath Falls, OR in tears, struggling because I just didn’t know what to do next. Keep going? Head to Boise and then back to Montana and all the beauty there? Go to my mom’s?? Go back to Louisville? My thoughts swirled in my mind, and finally I just gave it up to the Universe. I told myself to just be open, stop thinking about it, and trust that it would be clear in the morning. I slept soundly.

When I woke that morning, I was 90% decided that I’d head to Boise, get through the Dakotas and head back towards home. I posted my inner struggle on FB and folks overwhelmingly urged me to Tahoe/Yosemite. Feeling a bit re-energized (especially by a lovely comment by Matt Traub), I headed south towards Lake Tahoe.

However, as I drove, I started to second guess my decision. I must say that the drive between Klamath Falls, OR and South Lake Tahoe was one of the most stark, desolate, depressing drives I have made on this entire adventure. I certainly hoped that the payoff would be worth it! I drove through Reno, and then through Carson City. I started an ascent up a mountain that was taking its toll on many a car. My trusty Matrix made the climb with no problem, and the landscape became stunningly beautiful. I drove down to South Lake Tahoe, made it through the crowds, and headed for DL Bliss State Park, which I’d read offered a wonderful view of the Lake.

I stopped at Inspiration Point Vista for my first view of this lake:

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The crowds thinned the further I drove from South Tahoe and the closer to the park. I found a parking space and hiked a two mile trail. Thank goodness no bears in sight. A cool highlight was an old lighthouse at Rubicon Point.

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Once I got down to the beach, I was rewarded with a beautifully secluded little beach. I took my shoes off, soaked my feet in the cold clear water, sat up on a big rock, and enjoyed the sights for a while.

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Lake Tahoe is indeed beautiful. However, the overwhelming crowds and the glitz of the hotels and casinos I can do without!

See you in a few at Yosemite National Park!

Cannon Beach & Crater Lake

When I was visiting with Veronica, I asked her “If one wanted to put their feet into the Pacific Ocean, what would be the best spot nearby?” and she answered without hesitation “You have to got to Cannon Beach!” It was not the direction I intended to head, but what the heck, what else did I have to do?

So the next morning I headed northwest on Route 26. The skies were beautiful and clear but as I neared the coast, the clouds built and the temperature kept dropping! – for the first time on my trip I had to turn the heat on in my car! Finally I pulled into the little town of Cannon Beach, which despite the cool weather was PACKED with people. However, I had no problem parking in one of the many huge lots, and made my way down to the beach, and there it was, Haystack Rock!

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I had a ways to walk to get closer, but I did go down to the water and dip my feet into the FREEZING cold Pacific Ocean.

Brrr!

Brrr!

As I neared Haystack Rock, the clouds began to break and the sun started to come out and warm up everything nicely.

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I walked down right next to Haystack and along with everyone else, observed the many interesting sea life and formations in the tide pools. I was lucky enough to see orange and purple starfish!

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Satisfied with my little visit to the Pacific Ocean, I got back in my car. I drove for a bit down 101, as I heard it was a very pretty drive and offered a great view of the ocean. I was not disappointed, as I snapped a couple of the most beautiful shots of the Pacific.

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Early the following morning, after a quick overnight in Bend at an old but very well kept motel, I headed towards Crater Lake National Park. It was a short drive there, and I pulled into the last  stretch. I spotted the Crater Lake National Park sign, and pulled off in order take my usual selfie in front of the State Park sign. As I did so, I noticed two motorcyclists there – one was standing and posing atop the sign (I wonder how he climbed up there) and the other one had his pants unzipped and was peeing. I was hoping that once he saw me drive up he’d have the decency to put it away – but he didn’t. Not wanting to deal with that, I drove on. Ugh.

Between the fee station and the park itself, I passed what is called a “Pumice Desert. “ Wow, but also managed to find some pretty stuff growing.

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Pumice Desert!

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Pretty Purple

Once into the park, I pulled off the first chance possible at the North Entrance for my first look!  Amazing that there was still some snow at the base of one side of it!

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My First Look!

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Look closely and you can see some snow

I hit five of the seven highlights that are suggested as one drives around the rim. I think it’s also fascinating to note how the colors of the water changed from early in the morning to afternoon. Here’s some pretty pictures folks!

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Cloudcap Overlook – The highest point there in the park. Great view, and you can see the line of haze above the horizon from the wildfires in CA. Also, look at the Whiteback Pine Trees, and see how they are bent permanently from the high harsh winds up there.

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Line of haze at the horizon from wildfire smoke

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Whiteback Pines – permanently bent over

Pumice Castle Overlook – Look! It looks like a Hoodoo from Bryce Canyon!

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Hoodoo-like!

Phantom Ship Overlook – A little island that resembles a ship. It isn’t notated in the guide, but I got a WAY better look at a little trail called Sun Notch.

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Vidae Falls – A lovely little waterfall. Not much rainfall lately so it wasn’t as cascading as I’ve heard it can be.

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Discovery Point – It is said that in 1853, gold prospector John Hillman became the first Euro-American to see Crater Lake. Some stunning and beautifully colored pictures.

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Hi Everyone! Miss you!

 

Whew! I’m getting tired!