Adventures in Oregon: Inland to Crater Lake

We loved the adventures we had driving southward down the coast of Oregon. We saw much of the ocean and nautical scenes as well as a variety of mountain hikes and nature preserves. It was the type of hiking we enjoy the most.

The weather was a bit disappointing from time-to-time, but considering coastal fickelness, I think we fared fairly well. It was now time to head inland for our last and perhaps most anticipated stop, Crater Lake National Park.

We were aware of the wildfires in Washington and Oregon as we had followed them prior to arriving in Portland, OR. If we were skeptical, our doubts vanished at the airport where ash was landing on our luggage as we waited for our rental car and most the the staff were wearing masks. We were believers!

Along the coast, the wildfires made only a small impact on our visit, but when we arrived at Crater Lake after a good day’s drive, this is what we saw.

Smoke and smog over Crater Lake
This was the best view. There were times when it was worse.

We had booked our room at Crater Lake Lodge more than a year ahead of time and paid an upcharge for a lakeside view. To say we were disappointed, is an understatement. We visited the ranger station, but the news was not good. The smoke predictions for the week were bleak indeed.

We were betwixt and between trying to decide what to do. We took some rides along the rim of the lake, but really there was not much we could see. Crater Lake is supposed to be an astonishing color and reportedly has some of the purest water in the world, but it could not be truly appreciated.

After consulting the weather/wind forecasts with our minimal wi-fi connection, discussions with the rangers and the hotel staff, we decided it would be wise to cancel the rest of our trip and head home.

***NOTE*** – I must extend plaudits to the park and the hotel for their willingness to provide a refund for all but the day we were staying at the hotel. The room was costly and the hotel was sparsely populated with guests. It wasn’t pleasant for the park service or those guests who were playing board games in the lounge when they would rather have been out hiking.

We were able to change our flights, etc. and we were prepared to head for Portland the next morning. I decided to wake up early to see if the quiet morning atmosphere would yield a worthy view.

A nice view the next morning!

I could not believe how nice the lake looked. I could finally see some detail and the color of the light was picturesque. That island to the left is known as Wizard Island.

Mount Thielsen from Crater Lake at Sunrise

The photo above shows a mountain rising in the distance which I believe to be Mount Thielsen with a height of over 9,000 feet at the peak. Google Maps suggests that the access road is only 6 miles from Crater Lake, but then there is the road from highway 138 to the mountain.

You can read more about Mount Thielsen HERE

I was so excited to be able to see parts of the lake and the surrounding area, that I took this panorama to document the scene.

Worthy of a Panorama

As we were loading the car for the trip to Portland and doubts arose in our minds, I was able to snap some daylight photos of the lake.

Wizard Island with the smoke lifting.

There is Wizard Island looking pretty good!

Here is a closer look!

A closer look at Wizard Island

Although it was a bit perplexing, we were set on returning to our desert home. Along the way we kept checking the weather reports to validate our decision to leave. We were able to learn that the smoke was once again heading to Crater Lake and more scenes like the one below were to be in the offing.

Another view with the Smoke closing in.

All in all we were satisfied we made the best decision we could. We were heading out early and stopped for breakfast and lunch. We thought we would have a smooth trip to the Portland airport, but nothing could prepare us for the traffic which nearly kept us from making our flight; but that’s another story.


Read previous posts about our adventures hiking and exploring in Oregon:

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 1

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 2

Exploring Astoria, Oregon – Part 3

Adventures in Oregon: Warrenton to Seaside

Adventures in Oregon: Hiking at Indian Beach

Adventures in Oregon: Views from Ecola Point

Adventures in Oregon: Movin’ On Down the Road

Adventures in Oregon: Garibaldi’s Graces and Pier

Adventures in Oregon: Tillamook – Cape Meares Lighthouse

Adventures in Oregon: Pacific City, Neskowin & Lincoln City

Adventures in Oregon: Cascade Head and Hart’s Cove in Lincoln City

Adventures in Oregon: Cape Foulweather & Drift Creek Falls

Adventures in Oregon: Newport to Yachats

Adventures in Oregon: Heceta Head & Sand Dunes

Adventures in Oregon: State Parks: Umpqua to Shore Acres

Adventures in Oregon: From the Shore to the Falls


Read more Hiking and Exploration posts HERE


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©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 –

Fuji X T-2: The Magic of Beginnings

“And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.” — Meister Eckhart

You might have read about my near horror story in a previous blog post, Fuji X T-2: When Support Helped Save a Vacation, but all turned out relatively well after the close call. This was my first major expedition with a nearly brand new Fuji X T-2 and I was anxious to see how it would perform.

I haven’t had a “state-of-the-art” camera in nearly fifty years. I had been using point-and-shoots with only a moderate interest in photography. I was generally a documentarian. I am now embarking upon the development my creative eye.

“You are never too old to set another goal, or to dream a new dream.” – C. S. Lewis

When we arrived in Portland, Oregon, the air was acrid and ash was falling from the sky and landing on our luggage due to the surrounding wildfires. We acquired an automobile and headed toward the coast. By the time we arrived in Astoria, OR, the sun was low in the sky; a saturated light grey. Little did we know that the coast was often grey and/or foggy.

One of my favorite photographs from this trip, was the very first one I captured in Astoria at the end of our first day. Our room was very near the Columbia river and the Megler Bridge. The area was, therefore, a waterfront and had many of trappings expected in such an environment.

As I looked outside the window of our room, I could see several boats that were in disrepair and in dry dock. The lure of these boats was probably the same as that which brings photographers to abandoned buildings. These boats were old and may not have been “sea worthy,” but they had character.

The sun was getting lower by the minute. I grabbed the camera and walked to the area with the retired Ladies of the River. One boat in particular caught my attention because it was stately even when adorned with decay.

I took a couple of pictures with the hope that I could capture the essence of the evening and the feeling I had standing next to this once dignified, yet working class boat.

A river boat in dry dock along the Columbia River, Astoria, OR

My first attempt with the X T-2 on our trip to the Oregon coast


File Name: DSCF0045.RAF
Capture time: 5:24:45 PM
Capture date: September 5, 2017
Exposure: 1/750 sec @ f/5.6
Focal Length: 18mm
ISO: 100
Fujifilm X-T2
Lens: 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS
Edited in Lightroom