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Old 5 Apr 16, 08:44 PM  
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geoffa
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Grand Train Journey across USA - Day 4

DAY 4 ( 21st June 2006) – Boy! Have we got the blues.

We have had about 6 hours sleep. At least the beds at the Olympic Inn were comfortable.






There is a good breakfast on offer – all the usual – waffles, pastries etc.



Whilst I know this is contentious with some, I opt for gravy and biscuits. I don’t know why folk make such a fuss. Its merely savoury white sauce with bacon or sausage bits.



The hotel is lovely and despite being some 16 years old looks like it opened last week. The only thing that bothers me is all the dead wildlife that adorns the walls. I swear the bobcat watched every move I made.



There are geo-thermal springs in this area and they used to heat homes. Klamath “Indians” used to use them to cook their food!

Now, you are probably asking yourselves why did we get off the train here? I’ll explain.

We pick our booked hire car (Intermediate) for the day and head off for America’s deepest lake – Crater Lake. Formed in the Caldera of the collapsed volcano Mount Mazama, the lake is one of the most beautiful sights on earth. Out of the cataclysmic force of nature, over 7000 years ago, when Mazama blew its top and then collapsed, was born a pure, clean and tranquil place.

This information sign illustrates what happened:



To get to Crater Lake itself is a drive of 44 miles, so not that far. The State Road 97 runs along the shores of Upper Klamath Lake until it splits and becomes the 62 passing through Fort Klamath.



It was a military outpost near the western end of the Oregon Trail, between Crater Lake National Park and Upper Klamath Lake. Established in 1863, it was an important Army post during conflicts with the Klamath, Modoc, and Northern Paiute “Indian” tribes. The fort consisted of more than 50 buildings, including a sawmill.

Across the lake we pass the astonishing view of Mount McLoughlin:



We arrive at the mountain’s National Park at around lunchtime and call in at Annie Creek Lodge, a shop and restaurant just before the entrance to official park boundary.



We spend some time there getting to know the local wildlife – Annie Creek Lodge is still “under construction” and a local ground-squirrel had made it his aim to rob the builders of their rock-wool cavity insulation so it could build a nest. Back and forth it went, Oblivious to us two and never stopping in its task of gathering nesting material.



As we pass into the park there is a small charge of $5. We fully support this. It raises finds that help maintain the beauty of these parks. In return you are given maps and information leaflets.

After lunch - sandwiches eaten in the car, we move on up the side of the mountain and finally reached the summit – or in this case rim – of the caldera. We park the car and walked towards the pathway which is to one side of the rim edge.



At this point you still cannot see into the crater and only at the last minute, with a sudden surge of emotion, do your eyes come upon one of the most jaw dropping sites in the world. Before you, 1000 feet down in the crater is the surface of the 2000 foot deep lake.



The water is crystal clear at the edge and a vibrant deep blue for the rest of it. The colour is caused by the refraction of sunlight through the water, with blue being the only colour reflected back.





On the subject of sunlight, we have the most amazing weather. Lowland temperatures of around 81f, with cool breezes and hot sun at the rim. Not a cloud in the sky and the surface of the lake like a mirror – reflecting the image of the crater walls.

Taking the rim drive, we observe Wizard island, actually the cone of a newly forming volcano within the collapsed caldera.



Although silent now, geo-thermal activity continues and no one could ever rule out that one day Mazama my stir into life. Like Mount St Helens, Mount Rainier and all the other peaks in the Cascade range, volcanic activity below the surface of our planet continues.

The rim drive is open, but only recently so. Remember, this is June! At these elevations (between 7,000 and 8,000 feet), snow is thick and falls between September and April.



The spring thaw is slow and some parts of the snowline may never disappear. Even in June, the snow can be tens of feet deep. This photo shows Geoff against the depth of snow.



Up here there are facilities. They must be the highest toilets in the USA! The peace and the views are superb. We also get to try our first Huckleberries here. Admittedly, they were chocolate covered!

A few views for you:

Mount Bailey -



Mount McLoughlin -



Mount Shasta (summit) -



Mount Tielsen -



Along the rim are pumice vents. These formed during the eruption 7,000 years ago, Occassionally they do emit steam!



Upon our return to Klamath Falls, we return the hired car then go grab our bags, have a quick meal and then get a taxi to the station for our next leg of the journey.



The train is running on time tonight so at 10p.m. we are aboard.


The beds have already been arranged in our compartment. I draw the short straw and it’s the top one for me. Two problems – the bunk is 6 ft long – I’m 6ft 3”. You get one pillow. I usually need at least 2.

Grass Lake is the highest point on the whole route and then we descend to Mount Shasta. We catch a glimpse of the mountain as the train tracks pass over long ago lava flows now solidified into rock.



Shasta is famous for its bottled water, equivalent in quality to Evian as it filters through volcanic rock. We travel through two tunnels and pass over the state line into California. Dunsmuir, Redding and Chico will all miss our gaze as will Marysville and Roseville.



We are San Francisco bound but still have a way to go.

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Edited at 08:22 PM.
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Old 6 Apr 16, 12:20 AM  
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anji
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Gorgeous photos and can't wait for our stay at Crater Lake Lodge in June. Looking forward to the snow!
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Old 6 Apr 16, 06:48 AM  
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SaraCat
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Wow, that scenery is amazing and so beautiful. Thanks for taking the time to include so much information about the area.
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Old 6 Apr 16, 08:26 AM  
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Mr Tom Morrow
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Geoff. Those views are just out of this world. What a great idea to stop off, grab a car and go to view/experience them.
The road at that elevation must have been hard to construct judging by the snow depth and that was in Summer!
The trip is developing well.
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Old 6 Apr 16, 10:10 AM  
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DisneyGill
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Breathtaking photos Geoff.
I am really enjoying your report so thank you for taking the time to write it
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Old 6 Apr 16, 10:29 AM  
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Ruthy1604
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Amazing photos Geoffa.
My list of places to visit just keeps growing.
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Old 6 Apr 16, 09:07 PM  
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Stunning views...

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 8 Apr 16, 06:42 PM  
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Fantastic photos really enjoying reading this
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Old 8 Apr 16, 08:23 PM  
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OB1LukeLucas
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WOW! Magnificent, I could look at those views forever.
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Old 18 Apr 16, 07:43 PM  
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Melvin Pearce
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Love the photo with the sunset

Can't below the depth of the snow

and the blue of the lake

But not sure of your breakfast

Lesley and Melvin
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