|Squinting in the bright sun|
The day after Christmas, we headed up to Crater Lake National Park for the day. It is a long drive for a day trip, especially with icy roads in the mountains, but I have been wanting to go to Crater Lake while there is snow on the ground ever since I went in October a few years ago (gorgeous, but well before any winter weather hit that year).
|The view over the Rogue Valley (apparently Shasta was visible in the distance, but I couldn't pick it out)|
Crater Lake in the winter is pretty hit and miss, with more misses than hits. The lake is often covered in clouds and mist and either fully or partially hidden. I got super lucky when I went in October a few years ago, and lucked out this year as well. The weather was clear and sunny, with just a few high wisps of clouds.
|Posing in front of Wizard Island|
|The larger dog kind of blocks Wizard Island from view while posing in front of it...|
The snow was gorgeous up there. It had melted and refrozen, so had a solid layer of ice as a crust, which made it less than ideal for snowshoeing, hiking, or skiing. But with the use of snowshoes, we were able to enjoy the rim of the lake without breaking through the ice crust and stepping knee deep into the snow with every step. (There are snowshoes for rent up there if you don't own any, and there are free ranger guided snowshoe hikes all winter long as well.)
|The three of us, staying well back from the edge, keeping the tiny dog warm in my jacket|
The dogs aren't actually the biggest fans of cold weather and snow. Koira tolerates it, and actually enjoys the snow a certain amount, but Ptera thinks that cold is stupid. She rode around tucked inside my coat about half the time, despite it being a balmy 38 degrees while we were there.
|Tucked in where it is warm|
|We play now?|
A few hours at the lake, then we turned around and headed home. It was a long day, especially for so little time actually spent at the lake, but still well worth it, and with only two iffy ice encounters while driving (one being turning around in the parking lot, where we watched a few other people have issues as well).
|This sign wasn't kidding. Especially with the ice on top of the snow, it was slick, and the drop into the caldera is steep. You would not want to slip or fall|
|The day just kept getting clearer the entire time we were there|
Dogs are only allowed in the parking lot and the viewing areas right near there, so it isn't an ideal destination for traveling with dogs. But it was warm enough that we went ahead and brought them and just bundled them up in their crates in the car when we went places they couldn't go, and they stayed plenty warm. Overall, with or without dogs, Crater Lake is certainly worth visiting.