After too many days of heat, the Friends of the Umpqua hikers woke up to cloudy skies which presaged a cool day for hiking. It was perfect. After meetings at the county parking lot and Colliding Rivers the group numbered twelve including one newcomer who was in it for the pictures. And of course, Crater Lake always delivers on great scenery.
Arriving at the rim, the group drove down to the entrance to the east rim road, following it to the Pinnacles road which is in the midst of great road repair projects as parts of the road have been bombarded by huge boulders which are threatening the very existence of the road. The limited funding for the Park for some time has resulted in the dire straits of the collapsing road this late in the season. It may not even open next spring.
Making their way through the boulders the group arrived at the turnoff for the Plaikni Falls trailhead. The one mile trail was easy and the falls were beautiful even this late in the season. The most surprising part of this and the later hike to Garfield Peak was the number of skipping, jumping , chattering , dust-scuffling children, Labor Day being the last blowout day of summer. A warning radio call came from one club member to others below about a “strange white-haired man with a little girl on the trail”. It turned out to be Richard with two grandchildren (Aiden & Coral) who have developed into great hikers. There were more cars and people visiting the lake than the narrator who has been traveling to the lake for over 70 years has ever seen. Everything man-made was crowded and noisy. Only the lake was serene
Cumulus clouds threatened dire consequences such as thunder and lightning and rain, as they came and went as the hikers went up and back down on the steep 3.8 mile trail to Garfield Peak. The views of the lake were stupendous and the clouds provided optional lighting for photographers as the colors shifted and changed on the lake and surrounding area. The only rain encountered was on the way home. The Hiking Gods were watching over us as usual.
Roseburg Oregon Hiking Club