Tuesday, September 11, 2012
UP, DOWN & ALL THE WAY AROUND
I feel a bit like a frozen popsicle inside the tent. It’s another cold morning, there’s frost on the tents and bikes-it’s 28F outside under clear dark starry skies.
It’s warmed up a few degrees to 33F as we head out at 7:15 AM but it’s still bloody cold. I can instantly feel my fingers numbing up! It’ll improve once we ride away from the wooded area towards the warmth of the sun.
I’m looking forward to climbing up to the spectacular natural wonder-Crater Lake and checking out the expansive vistas around the rim. It’s going to be a good day!
The first flat 8 miles along the valley floor on Hwy 62 gives us a chance to “wake up” as we ride through Fort Klamath and enjoy the scenic beauty of the pasturelands. I can feel the quiet stillness and calm it brings to me-it’s a wonderful beginning to the ride!
Once we reach the sunny side of the road, many riders pull off to the side and try to take in the warmth of the sun before proceeding on.
We enter Crater Lake National Park at mile 9.2, from this point, it’s a gentle climb with gradient ranges of 2-4% for the next 4.7 miles up to the first rest stop. The dappled lighting through the coniferous forests provides a beautiful setting for this climb up towards the lake. Through some openings of the forest, you can catch glimpses of the jagged edges of the canyon that parallels the road. It’s quite extraordinary!
We arrive at rest stop-Annie Falls Picnic Area, mile 13.9 at 8:41 AM-40F. I had a few pieces of bagel spread with hummus and some strawberries. I bit into a berry and it was frozen!
We continue climbing for the next 4.8 miles to the park’s south entrance at Munson Valley Rd. The road levels out for a bit before the 7 mile climb up to the rim. The gradient ranges from 5-8% with short steep pitches of 9-10%.
We reach the water stop at Rim Village, mile 25.5 at 10:15 AM-56F. We take the time to walk around and check out the views of the caldera and lake-it’s magnificent! The water is intensively blue and clear while the sight of the expansive surrounding volcanic cliffs is just unbelievable! We’re up in the High Cascades!
The clockwise loop on Rim Drive around the caldera is 29 miles and is not flat but then again it’s no worse than the previous climb up to the rim. There are flat sections followed by many rolling climbs and descents. The key is to stop at the many beautiful vista points and turnouts to enjoy the unique views of the lake and the surrounding volcanic landscapes and mountain peaks. You will not be disappointed!
Continuing on Rim Drive…………
Can you believe it-surreal beauty-WOW!
Views of the Cascade mountains, so very impressive!
We arrive at the snack stop-North Jct Rd, mile 31 at 11:22 AM-63F. There’s alot of riders here and this snack stop has run out of snacks! Luckily, I always have a couple of nut bars in my top tube bag.
The time it takes to walk up the short hill to see more views of the lake is worth it-it’s gorgeous!
We’re now on East Rim Drive with more outstanding views of the lake.
The variety of perspectives of the lake around Rim Drive is absolutely spectacular! The road eventually loops away from the rim and heads south through a forested area and along a ridge. You get dramatic views of the cliffs to your right and gorgeous views of the surrounding Cascades forests to your left-WOW! I even get to see a mini waterfall!
After a few climbs along the ridge, the road descends and ends at Munson Valley Rd.
We reach the lunch stop-Mazama Village at 2:15 PM, mile 62-75F. Bikes are strewn everywhere and we find a place to have lunch off the sidewalk.
The remainder of the route will have us on Hwy 62 for one last short climb with the last 29 miles gently descending through a National Forest and rolling on the flats into Prospect.
We arrive at rest stop-Rogue Gorge Viewpoint at 3:30 PM, mile 79-80F.
We take a short walk up the trail to the overlooks of the Upper Rogue River Gorge-the sight and sound of the rapid flowing water is quite powerful.
The last 12 miles take us past the Union Creek Resort and continues through forested terrain into Prospect.
We arrive at Prospect School at 4:30 PM-86F. We are greeted by the loud cheers of the local cheerleaders-YEAH!
Today’s ride up to Crater Lake and around the rim is one of the most beautiful and impressionable rides I’ve ever been on-it’s one of Nature’s best work! Thanks again to all the CO volunteers for being out there to support us all. It was an exceptionally great day of riding!
6331′ of elevation gain
Avg grade: 3%
Max grade: 10%
Weather: FABULOUS-great for climbing! Very cold sunny morning with clear blue skies. Starting morning temps in the high 20’s to low 30’s becoming increasingly warm to a high of 86F in Prospect.
Crater Lake has inspired people for hundreds of years. No place else on earth combines a deep, pure lake, so blue in color; sheer surrounding cliffs, almost two thousand feet high; two picturesque islands; and a violent volcanic past. It is a place of immeasurable beauty, and an outstanding outdoor laboratory and classroom.
~Crater Lake National Park http://www.nps.gov/crla/index.htm
Follow this route for today’s ride: