Ride Day: 6 - DGB

Let's see where are we? Ashland!  Ok, so we're off to Crater Lake.  The highway out of Ashland to Klamath Falls was apparently repaved recently. As we rode the twisties up and over the Siskiyou Mountains we became alarmingly aware that we were on fresh, black, unmarked pavement, and that most of the guardrails were missing, exposing us all to hundreds of feet of sheer drop off just off of the shoulders of the road.  No pressure!

The riders handled it well (even dodging a random cow in the road), and arrived safely in Klamath Falls for our first gas stop. We then began the climb in elevation to Crater Lake National Park. The geology in this area was formed some 350,000 years ago by volcanoes, magma chambers and lava flows, and there is volcanic ejecta and cinder everywhere. Fast flowing rivers have amazingly carved deep gorges through the lava flows, creating spectacular scenery.

Crater Lake itself is a result of an entire volcano collapsing into its own magma chamber 7,500 years ago, then filling up with rain water, snow melt and ground water. The lake is said to have the purest and cleanest water in the world. The water is over 1,900 feet deep in some areas, the caldera is six miles in diameter, and the peaks of the caldera rim are over 8,000 feet above sea level. There is a visitor's at the 7,100 foot level, and a road that circles the rim allowing for amazing vistas about every 10 feet. Perhaps the most spectacular thing about this place are the colors. The minerals eroding down the caldera walls shimmer and change color as sunlight and shadows play across them. Best of all is the deep ultra-blue of the lake water, mixed with teal and green near shoreline. Photos just don't do it justice.

After a couple of hours exploring the rim and taking photos, I left the park ahead of the other riders to go visit a good friend and his family in Terrabonne. I was treated to a home cooked meal and great company. My friend, also a bike rider, rode with me up to Madras. An early bedtime tonight - Mt. St. Helens tomorrow. Awesome. Volcanic, even.

DGB