September 27th, 2006

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Day 4

We got up too early and headed off to Crater Lake. The entire rim drive was open, and we started around to the West, stopping at the lodge, then continuing to the Pumice Desert and then to the Cleetwood Cove trailhead for lunch.

We descended to the lake where I went swimming! There were also a bunch of kids swimming in their underwear. They were shivering fiercely after they got out so I let them use my towel. (I heard the water is really nice if you get there when its 100 degrees out from a forest fire watcher at Lava Beds.) We ascended, considered the Mt. Scott trail, but switched to the Garfield Peak trail so Laura's legs wouldn't get killed. The peak gave us an excellent view of the lake and the surrounding terrain.

We returned to Mt. Shasta City and ate at a lovely Mexican restaurant. Unfortunately there was a scary TV show featuring a bunch of women with stripper names and a guy wearing a giant clock around his neck. Then we relaxed in the hot tub and slept.
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Day 5

We slept in, then awoke and headed out on CA-89 and stopped at the Ranger Station outside McCloud to get trail conditions, then continued onwards to the mountain.

After making sandwiches we headed up the the Clear Creek trail towards the springs. We came across a park ranger after clearing the forest and he thanked us for filling out our wilderness permits and warned us of the mountain lion (I think it was following me from park to park).

At the springs there was a group of people who were looking for a place to camp before heading up to the summit on Sunday. We had lunch above the springs, then headed down hoping to get some ice cream from McCloud, but the shop was closed. Instead I got taffy from the candy store and Laura got $3.30 of fudge. After a nap we unintentionally had a fancy dinner at Lily's.
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Day 6

Day 6 was low impact. Laura returned to San Jose and I headed up to Lava Beds National Monument. I ascended Schonchin Butte and talked to the nice girl who was on fire watch. She recommended I drive out to Medicine Lake, so I did. While there I watched a hawk try to go fishing, but didn't get a picture.

There was also a really huge lava flow near the lake. Upon returning to Lava Beds I walked around the Fleener Chimneys, then headed up to Klamath Falls to sleep eat dinner and sleep.
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Day 7

I started out at Petroglyph Point then headed over to Captain Jack's Stronghold and hiked the long loop where I got a lot of sun. Captain Jack's Stronghold was pretty sweet, an entirely natural fortress whose only downside was a lack of access to water.

After that I explored the lava tubes around the visitors center. I am glad that I have calluses on my knuckles, but wish I also had them on my knees. My cave explorations resulted in a scrape on my knee that left a lovely bloodstain on my jacket and a bruise on the small toe of my left foot when it got caught between two rocks. Spending time underground was totally awesome!

Exhausted, I headed back towards Klamath Falls and found seven or eight mule deer grazing alongside the road.
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Day 8

I explored three more caves and saw two bats and a snake!

Then I drove off to Lakeview and soaked in the hot springs-fed pool at Hunter's Hot Springs Hotel and talked to a surgical tech named Ted who told me of the Balmorhea State Park in Texas that has a coldspring, and I told him of my recent travels.

The lucky bastard is living at the hotel! Tomorrow I return through the Oregon Outback which should be an awesome drive, to Seattle.