Saturday, August 30, 2014

Garfield Peak

The hiking club had a two-part hike scheduled for Crater Lake on the last Saturday of August. I couldn't go because I had grandchildren Coral Rae and Aiden with me but I could kill half a bird with half a stone, so to speak. So, Dollie, (Dollie's) Mom, me, and the two tykes arrived at Crater Lake's Rim Village early in the morning, ready and eager for exploring magnificent Crater Lake.

Are we there yet?
Bidding adieu to Dollie and the Dollie-mom (they were doing the car tour around the lake) Aiden, Coral Rae, and I set off on the Garfield Peak Trail. We had walked approximately about 2 feet when I heard the first "Are we there yet?" I quickly got used to answering calmly "We're halfway" as brilliantly suggested in a recent article in Backpacker Magazine. That same answer heard over and over again confused the kids, and that was a good thing.

Crater Lake on a moody day
The trail is a steep one, climbing around 1,000 feet in its short 2.2 miles. The kids were feeling the climb but did enjoy all the stops overlooking Crater Lake. Well, to be precise, Coral Rae enjoyed the views while Aiden policed her, nervously pulling her back from the edge at every stop. Obviously, he wanted to end the hike with the same amount of sisters he started out with.

After a series of complex and protracted negotiations worthy of a multinational peace treaty, it was agreed we would stop and rest at each mile mark.  Mile one was next to the trail as it crossed a rocky avalanche chute but we did have nice views of Crater Lake Lodge, Union Peak, and Mount McLaughlin. In between the two peaks were numerous small cones dotting the pimply terrain.

I'm adorable!
As we climbed higher and higher and farther away from the lodge, more and more hikers voiced admiration for wee Coral Rae, it was a big hike for a small girl. Once Coral Rae figured this out, she would start up a conversation with each hiker by stating "My Grandpa says I'm an awesome hiker!" After the resultant "How cute" was uttered, she'd say loud enough for all to hear "Grandpa, everybody thinks I'm adorable!" She knows it, too.

That close to the summit
We had been leapfrogging a group from India and about half a mile from the summit, some of the party decided they'd had enough and started to turn back. Acting quickly and decisively, I blocked the way and pointed to the summit, which was within sight, and persuaded them to finish off the hike. They did thank me later.

Awesome view from the summit
We enjoyed the summit lunch and laze at the summit. The views were spectacular with the lake lying nearly 2,000 feet below us. The weather was unseasonably cool and storm clouds hovered dramatically over the rim peaks. Fortunately, the rains held off and we stayed dry all day.

We could see our trail below
On the way down, Aiden was off and running, enjoying the downhill hiking a lot more than the hike up. Coral stayed with me, entertaining the masses with a pert "I'm a trooper!" The hiking club had hiked to Plaikni Falls and were now tackling Garfield Peak. So, on the way down, we got to meet our hiking friends from Roseburg.

Cloud shadow on the lake
When we reached the bottom, we took a short walk to a rather elaborately constructed overlook of the lake. In the roofed overlook, there was a scale model of Crater Lake and I pointed out Garfield Peak to the kids. Aiden said now that we were at the bottom, there was such a sense of satisfaction to be able to point to Garfield Peak and say we had hiked up it. Success!

The little darlings
For more pictures of this hike, please visit the Flickr album.

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  1. Done that hike before - great view at the top. My only question is, who made it to the top first - you or one of the kids??

    1. The kids made it first but that was by design as I like to keep the mischief makers in sight at all times