I stayed in Portland until the end of September, and it was colder than I liked. I’d planned to make my way slowly south through string of National Forests, and make a few stops in hot springs, Smith Rock, Painted Hills, Bend, Crater Lake, etc. But as I checked what the weather would be like, I saw that if I took my sweet time, it would be “too cold” all the way until I got to Southern California. So I spent a couple days driving south through Oregon. I skipped all of the planned sites that weren’t right on the way.
In those two days I saw that Oregon has a huge variety of landscape. There is the coast, the lush and heavily treed areas near the coast, the Columbia river gorge, the high desert stuff once you get inland a bit, and I believe further east has more. I could easily spend an entire summer exploring Oregon and instead of wishing I was elsewhere, I’d be wishing summer was longer. So… maybe some other time..
On the way to Bagby Hot Springs
[The color is messed up on all the pictures in this post. I don’t know why. Maybe has to do with them getting resized. But I didn’t notice pictures in previous posts being screwed up… I’d better figure this out]
Babgy Hot Springs
My friends from Portland met me there (and one of them took these)
This was the first hot spring I’ve been to where it’s common to get in the water. It was…. ok. Bagby is a little spring with no natural pool. A wooden building was made with wooden tubs. The water from the spring runs into pipes that go through the building and can be used to fill the tubs. It cost $5 go in. I paid and discovered later that I could’ve easily gotten away without paying, as many people did. For me, it wasn’t worth the $5. It’s a little weird going in tubs where you know thousands of people have been, and it didn’t feel like connecting with nature any more than just sitting down on the ground somewhere.
Bend seemed really cool. There are a lot of outdoors enthusiasts there. Just outside of town are a TON of biking trails. There are also a lot of Forest Service roads – roads that look like they’d have really good places to camp.
One strange thing about Bend is that while I was there, it smelled bad. The whole city. It smelled the same way cloth does if it has been sitting wet too long and a lot of bacteria has grown. I have no idea what it was from. As I was driving into town I was like “What the hell? Is that me? Is that something in the van?”. Nope. This whole fucking town stinks! (I like Bend though)
I took a nice scenic route out of bend – along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. It goes west out of Bend past Mt. Bachelor, and then south passing by a bunch of lakes.
Some information about Crater Lake:
- It was formed when the insides of a big volcano collapsed about 8,000 years ago. All the sort of capillaries and paths the lava took left a many open voids in the earth and it all caved down on itself.
- It filled up with rainwater. There are out inlets or outlets. The water level stays pretty consistent now. Given normal evaporation and rain, the rate of water replacement would turnover all the lake’s water every 250 years (though surely it doesn’t mix entirely so some of the water sitting in there has been there for nearly 8,000 years.
- The lake is basically circular with a diameter of 5 to 6 miles.
- The deepest part is nearly 2,000 feet.
- It holds 5,000,000,000,000 (5 trillion) gallons of water. That is a lot of water! But in the U.S. alone, so much fresh water is used that if the lake was suddenly supplying all the US, it would be emptied in about ten minutes! (The U.S. pulls 355 trillion gallons of fresh water per day).
- The water is as clear as any lake in the world because it is filled only by direct rainwater (and only a little bit of runoff from the inside edges of the volcano/crater). So there is very little sediment coming into the lake.
- It looks so blue because of how deep it is. Blue light passes through water much better than other colors, so because the light is traveling so far in the lake, all you get is blue coming out. The banks of the lake are really steep so it’s pretty much blue edge to edge.
I didn’t stay long. Just enough to take pictures at a tourist spot and hike up along a nearby ridge. It’s hard to photograph the lake when you’re near it, because it’s so wide. Even my fisheye lens couldn’t really fit it all in. If I come back and spend more time here, I should hike down to the lake surface. You can also ride a boat out and get dropped off on the island. The lake is basically all there is to this National Park.
Driving – just outside Crater Lake National Park
Here’s the route I took from Portland to Crescent City. It was prett-y darn nice. (the picture links to the actual route in Google Maps)
Next up, driving down the entire California coast. Yeah buddy!