Today was the day for our boat ride around the lake with a three hour side trip to Wizard Island! To get the boat we had to travel back up to the rim, then drive about halfway around the lake to the Cleetwood Trail Head, then walk 1.1 mile downhill, 770 feet downhill, to get to the boat dock. There is a lot of construction along the west rim of the drive and they said to allow an extra 40 mins to get through it.
It got really cold last night! I was sleeping in my long undwear and got in my sleeping bag and closed the windows! The coldest morning was also the earliest morning since Dad and I decided we needed to leave by 7 to ensure that we had enough time to make it to Cleetwood dock to get the boat at 9:45! The other cold mornings I've been able to get up a bit later after the sun has come up!
The temperature in the RV this morning was 46*, I didn't turn the heat on because I hate the smell of the burning dust and the propane furnace almost always sets off the CO/LP detector! I just got dressed and crawled back into my sleeping bag and ate breakfast in bed...like a real camper! LOL! When Dad picked me up the temperature in the Jeep was 37*, and it fell to 34* on the way up to the rim! BRRR! I was impressed that it was 10 degrees warmer inside versus outside though!
We didn't run into any traffic from the construction, we went through before they started, and arrived at the parking area by 7:30. We needed to be there by 8:45. So we were a bit early, and it was too cold to walk down to the dock early, so we drove a little ways down the road then went and sat in the parking lot. We saw lots of people going down to the dock in shorts and t-shirts and kind of thought they were crazy. We figured it was going to be super cold out on the water with the wind and yesterday was so cold all day. We had all the cold weather gear!
Turns out we were the ones that were over prepared! As soon as the sun got up good it was hot! We were taking off layers of fleece and stuffing them in our backpacks and trading fleece hats for sun hats. The air was cool, but the sun was hot and intense! And today was a glorious clear day with no wind! This was great for watching the colors in the lake! And the boat ride was calm - the afternoon wind makes the boat rides rough sometimes.
The boats are small, they hold 37 people I think, and we had a Ranger with us who narrated the whole tour! A lot of the information she had was similar to the movie yesterday but it helped to be seeing the things she was talking about! We learned more about volcanoes than I ever wanted to know!
After about an hour on the boat we arrived at Wizard Island! Wizard Island is a cinder cone volcano that formed after Mt. Mazama erupted, it emerged after the lake was formed! It's named Wizard Island because it looks like a Wizard Hat! (Of course almost all cinder cone volcanoes look like wizard hats!) on Wizard Island there are two trails - one to the summit and one to Fumerole Bay. If you hike to the summit you can walk all the way around the rim and even down into the crater. You can also fish (the fish don't belong in the lake, they encourage the catching of as many as you can and removing them from the lake), swim (yes, swim, it's allowed, but the water is cold) Dad and I hiked up to the summit as soon as we got there, the views were amazing! The lake was at least 9 different shades of blue! I walked all the way around the rim, Dad walked down into the crater.
I really wanted to swim in Crater Lake, but the cold water temperature (about 55*) combined with the cool air temperature (60s during the day, but remember that hot sun...) and the cold morning made me rethink my plans. After our hike we had about 30 minutes before he boat was coming back so I went down to the dock and stuck my feet in! The water was very cold! My feet never really got used to it, but it did feel good!
Because the water in Crater Lake is so pure - it's all snowmelt and rainwater - it's incredibly clear!
After our time on Wizard Island we got back on the boat and continued our tour of the lake. We went past all the features we'd seen yesterday - Pumice Castle, the Phantom Ship, only now we were down on the water! We had many chances to look at the water and see how crystal clear it is and to examine it's color.
It was 3:00 when we returned to the boat dock, ready for the 1.1 mile uphill hike - re-gaining the 700 feet we lost thus morning! There were lots of people at the Cleetwood Dock area, some were swimming, many were sunbathing on the rocks. Cleetwood Cove is the only place where you can access the water. I still kinda wanted to swim, but I'd have to walk up the hill wet and I didn't want to do that. Once back at the parking lot we saw the traffic backup from the construction, it didn't take long to get through it though, and soon we were back at the campground ready for an early dinner!