Saturday, September 3, 2011
We celebrated Labor Day weekend with friends at Crater Lake National Park…Always a favorite place of ours. Crater Lake is a small National Park and our only park in the state of Oregon. It’s a 6 hour drive from Portland, but is well worth it!
We made reservations online using the Xantera website, which was a bit frustrating. Unlike state and federal sites, you are only guaranteed “a” site, you are not actually given the site number until you arrive at the park. We were camping with friends and were hoping for two sites together so we were told to arrive at the park early and speak with the people at the Kiosk. Check in on the Xantera site was listed as 12:00 so we arrived early in order to get our two connected spots. When we arrived, the ladies working in the kiosk informed us that the website was wrong and check in wasn’t until 1:00. They weren’t willing to work with us or to guarantee two spots together. We waited in the parking lot for several hours along with other frustrated families and we finally were given our site assignments…Our two sites were situated somewhat close together, however the first site was the worst site I’ve ever seen in a campground. The fire pit and picnic table were literally just five feet from the bathroom doors. Luckily the other site that we were assigned was HUGE and large enough that we were able to put both trailers on the pull through. It all worked out in the end, but I am going to contact Xantera about our experience. First, in the day and age of computers it doesn’t make any sense to me that you can’t pick your site online. Second, they need to update their websites with the correct check-in times, especially with a park this remote with long drive times. Finally, nobody should have to pay for a site just five feet from the bathroom door! That should not have been a campsite to begin with!
We also celebrated my 45th birthday…great fun! And thank you to my friend Liz for the extra special lemon cake from Jerry Frank’s! What a great treat!
The first night, we took a beautiful hike through a canyon along Annie’s Creek! If you’re ever in the area, this was a hike that I’d be sure to do. The scenery was spectacular and the hike itself wasn’t too difficult!
We’ve visited Crater Lake several times, but we had never taken the boat ride on the lake. You can choose a boat ride that drops you off on Wizard Island for several hours or you can choose a ranger led boat ride along the lake. We decided to take the two hour lake tour. It was a lot of fun and the boat driver and ranger did an excellent job educating us on the geologic history of the area. The walk down (and back up) is brutal, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I had expected it would be. We took lots of photo breaks on our way back up 🙂
It was a wonderful weekend filled with good food and laughter..the perfect way to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year!