|River exiting the tube|
|Ordinarily, the river would flow completely underground here|
We hit the snow line at about 1500m as we continued towards Crater Lake. It got thicker & thicker & at the Visitor Center, it was two to three metres high in parts. With an above average 16m of snowfall last winter & a late spring, it was still very white & only one hiking trail was open (& that only for the long weekend). Crater Lake is actually in a caldera of an old volacano that collapsed on itself. I was expecting the lake to be beautiful, but this was something else - perhaps the most jaw-droppingly amazing thing we've seen yet on our little drive. With water only entering the lake as rain or snow & no rivers or streams exiting the caldera, the water is brilliantly blue. With the shelter of the caldera rim as well, there was no wind to cause even a ripple on the surface. Add to that the clear sunny day & the snow around the rim - the sum was something fantastic. Here are a few pictures - more here.
With a bit more driving on Valerie's part we eventually got to Bend late afternoon. After settling in to the motel, I couldn't resist getting straight out & hitting a trail in what is one of the top MTB towns in the States. As it was getting late & there were fireworks to go to later, I found the Mrazek trail on Garmin Connect. It was close to town & as an out-and-back I could make it last as long as I wanted - fitted the bill nicely.
It was a great introduction & a lot of fun. Mostly a (very) gentle climb on a nice wide dirt trail (bit of shock to be back riding in dust after the previous snowy rides!). There was one section that had a few switchbacks that were markedely steeper & there were some technical rocky step-ups to negotiate; but I dug deep into the recesses of my riding brain & remembered all I'd learnt in Colorado & Utah & cleared them all. I continued steaming up the trail in a high gear until I figured I had better turn around at seven o'clock.
As I expected all the way up, going down was neat. I don't think I realised how twisty it was as I was climbing, but I quickly found that I couldn't go as fast as I'd imagined I would. Still, not having to pedal as much is always good; although I did spend quite a bit of time in the big chainring - it's not often that happens for me on singletrack. My short little evening ride turned out to be 24km - but it didn't take long, so there was enough time to get home, shower, grab a meal & then find a good place to watch the July 4 fireworks.
Launched from a small hill just east of the center of town, the show didn't start until ten o'clock. After a rather monotonous first five minutes (it wasn't bad, just all the same sort of firework), a bit of variety was finally introduced & it turned out to be a really good display. At over twenty minutes, it was also quite long for a Bend-sized town. Finishing with a flourish it was well worth having headed out to see them - plus we got to sift around various street parties with fireworks going off all over the place.