Rainy Day at Crater Lake
Wednesday, July 18, 2007: I noticed it was raining during the night, and it was still raining when I woke up. Fortunately, it was not raining as hard. Ultimately I ended up wearing a rainsuit for the whole day (a good choice). It was a chilly, rainy day of the type I've sometimes encountered in in the Adirondacks in summer. In fact, I got the rain pants I'm wearing from EMS in Lake Placid on just such a day about 10 years ago.
My plan to ride the boat to Wizard Island was out of the question (all were canceled). I drove toward the crater, then counter-clockwise to the pinnacles cutoff. It's about 7 miles to the pinnacles. After viewing them, I headed back to the loop drive and started back. I stopped at Castle Crest trail, which is recommended for wildflowers. It was okay, but in truth, I've been finding more variety along the loop road.
By now the visitor's center was open so I stopped to ask about the fox. The two people at the desk tried to be helpful, but just didn't know. However, they knew someone who might know. In a minute or two I was talking with him about the fox. He didn't know about this type of fox either, but after hearing the fox was mostly black with some gray accents, he recalled some books that might help. Pretty soon he had me looking through 5 or 6 books. I quickly hit paydirt. The fox was a “cross” morph Red Fox. There don't seem to be any Gray Foxes that look anything like this.
I started toward Mazama but pulled off into a turnout to consider options. While I was studying the material I had, a Gray Jay landed in the turnout! If birds were going to be active (the rain was almost stopped), I needed a birding location. I picked the nearby Godfrey Glen nature trail. The park newsletter gave it only two stars, so I hadn't been in a hurry to get there. In fact, the left branch of the trail goes along an interesting vertical-sided canyon. Later in the day I would return to take some photos.
I also found birds starting near the canyon mouth. It started with Juncos, but soon I had Audubon's Warblers (including young), a Hermit Warbler, Nashville Warbler, unidentified immature warbler (lots of yellow, with an eye-line...no, not an Orange-crowned), Creepers (including one bathing and another feeding a youngster), Red-breasted Nuthatches, and finally, the first Pileated Woodpeckers of the trip.
After driving around the lake a bit more, I returned to Mazama for lunch. After lunch I rested a bit, then went back to the lake in time for the sun to appear, complete with rainbow, followed by some amazing light. By the time I went back to the car for the camera (I wasn't carrying it due to rain threat), the light had gone. Then it rained a bit, and the sun came back out. It made a nice rainbow over the lake and this time my camera was ready.
I returned to Mazama, where I am typing this. I again have a late dinner reservation at the main lodge.
Mazama Cabins, Crater Lake NP, OR