Our second day on the road started back up at the lake, where we walked down to the Steel memorial overlook, built back in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The view from there is spectacular, too:
|Wizard Island again|
The Steel memorial, named after William Gladstone Steel, the man who almost singlehandedly was responsible for persuading Congress that Crater Lake deserved to be a national park, contains displays that tell about the eruption of Mount Mazama, which happened about 10,000 years ago and so was witnessed by the ancestors of local Indians, and the formation of the lake and of Wizard Island, which is another, much smaller volcano that was created after the collapse of the larger mountain.
Llao Rock is one of the main characters in the tales told about the formation of Crater Lake.
|The view south from the rim, complete with grazing mule deer.|
After we stopped briefly at the Crater Lake Lodge and at the visitor center at Mazama Village, where we watched a short documentary movie about the lake and the national park, we left reluctantly and headed south.
After we passed through Klamath Falls, we crossed the border into California and saw our next great landmark:
|Our first view of Mt. Shasta, so far off in the distance it almost looks like a cloud|
|And a much better view when we got closer|
The last time I saw Mt. Shasta, almost ten years ago, it hadn’t had any snow on top. Speaking as a Pacific Northwesterner, I have to say that volcanoes just don’t look right unless they’ve got snow on top, so this view pleased me greatly.
We stopped for lunch in the oddly-named small town of Weed, and then returned to I-5 and the plunge down into California’s Central Valley.
By the time we got to Redding, it was 99 degrees and the sun was baking down. Thank goodness for air conditioning. We saw our first oleanders and palm trees not long after that. Not that I have anything against palm trees and oleanders, but I grew up in California, and driving halfway down the Central Valley was not the part of the trip I was looking forward to.
We’d planned on spending the night in Sacramento, but we did not see a single motel (except for one big fancy hotel right downtown) along the entire stretch of I-5, and we wound up in the small town of Lodi, almost all the way to Stockton, before we found a place to sleep for the night. I wasn’t complaining (at least not too much), because it would make for a shorter drive into Yosemite the next day, but I was beat. And it takes a lot of driving before I will admit to being beat.