Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Northwest Road Tripping

Greetings from The Road. We headed over to Crater Lake National Park this week and through my camera-phone it looks like this:
That's Wizard Island sticking out of the extra-blue water. Isn't Wizard Island a cool name for a body of land? Crater Lake was formed over 7,000 years ago when super-active volcano, Mount Mazama (another cool name) blew up extensively. In fact, it blew so much that it imploded, creating a nearly 2,000-foot deep hole, sealed by lava and much devastation for hundreds of miles around.

Wizard Island was a lava dome that desperately tried to recreate the mighty mountain that once stood there, but ran out of magma before that could happen. A squirrel visits on occasion, stowed away in a backpack full of trail mix.
After the hole filled with water, we have a lake to marvel at. No fish ever lived here, so a hundred years ago, some frustrated fishermen smuggled some into the water from their backpacks(?). The only survivors of five species are some salmon and steelhead trout. The salmon try to swim upstream to spawn, but there is no upstream, so they swim around the lake in circles, probably the most sexually frustrated fish on the planet. Then they get eaten by the trout. The rangers would love it if you came to Crater Lake with your fishing gear and put the fish out of their misery.
We also visited Trees of Mystery in Klamath, CA, but the rain, fog, and mist were so heavy, we only went to the Native American museum (indoors and quite extensive) before moving on. This giant statue of Paul Bunyon (with his ox, Babe) actually speaks and waves to you as you enter. That's some rustic customer service.

Here's an old hand-painted map that shows our progress as we headed south. Starting from Portland:
And heading toward Crescent City, CA, where our Motel 8 supplied us with the ambient sounds of a foghorn, 60-year-old yuppie bikers bragging about their rides, and sea lions going: ORK! ORK! ORK! throughout the night. I'll take foghorns and sea lions over loud and narcissistic baby-boomers on motorcycles ANY time.
The Avenue of the Giants--home to many a bear carved from a tree trunk. Before conservationists, there were loggers. The loggers, who were macho and very skilled with an axe, loved to cut up the big trees and make them into houses, tunnels, driveways, animals, and gift shops. They did leave some behind to grow, so you get some impressive forms of nature to drive through.
This hollowed out tree-house is probably worth half a million in the California market. If it were located in Oregon, it would be a fine starter home at 300K.
Arcata inspires a little crazy dancing.

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