Crater Lake National Park – July 2017

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park

Revisited in July 2017

We took the short drive from our new home down to Crater Lake bright and early on a Monday. We were hoping this would be a good time to see the park without the crowds. It worked out! We arrived at the North entrance and headed straight to Watchman Overlook. They were working on the parking lot but we were able to park alongside the road.

Crater Lake

The view was spectacular! There were still patches of snow along the road, on the edge of the lake, and in shady spots in among the trees throughout the park. The water was a deep aqua blue as it shimmered in the morning sunshine.

Lichen on rocks at Crater Lake

Such beautiful lichen on the rocks

We then went over to the Sinnott Memorial Overlook right behind the Rim Village Visitor Center. There were a few more people here but still very enjoyable to take the walk out to the overlook and see the lake in all its glory.

After that, we drove down to the Steel Visitor Center so we could watch the movie about Crater Lake and how it was formed. We all really enjoyed this and learned a lot about the natural history of this amazing spot on Earth.

Columbine at Crater Lake

Wildflowers were next on the list of things to see in the park and we headed to the Castle Crest Wildflower Trail which was a short drive from the visitor center. Overwhelmingly beautiful!

Wildflowers Castle Crest Crater Lake

There were so many flowers in bloom of all shapes and colors. There is a creek running down the hillside which provided the background soundtrack of babbling and rushing water. There were many, many insects including a hummingbird moth that we observed for some time.

White bog orchid Crater Lake

I was super excited to discover a “new to me” wildflower growing in abundance along the trail. The White Bog Orchid was so delicate and beautiful! I’m hoping to add it to my nature journal soon.

Plaikni Falls Crater Lake

Our last stop before heading back home was Plaikni Falls. This is on the east side of the lake and it’s a very easy two mile round trip hike on a fairly flat trail. The falls themselves are a cascading series of falls that you can hike to the base of and then look up to the top. We sat on some rocks and let the cooling mist get us a bit damp. People were taking off their boots and soaking their feet in the icy water. I was glad we had saved this for the rather hot afternoon.

I know we’ll be making more trips here in the future since it is an easy hour’s drive from home.

You can read my previous entry for Crater Lake Here: Crater Lake National Park Tips and Images

Outdoor Mom – July Part 2 Wildlife Viewings

Outdoor Mom July: Part 2 – Wildlife Viewings

This is Part 2 of my Outdoor Mom entry. You can read Part 1 here: Outdoor Mom Part 1 – My Own Backyard

I saw my first ever badger in real life! I was driving and it was crossing the road in front of me. At first my mind was trying to figure out what it was; too big to be a possum and not quite like a raccoon. As I approached, I saw the face and realized it was indeed a badger! Here is a link to what he looked like: American badger.

Raccoon in a tree

We have seen two adult raccoons in our yard (and trees) plus two adorable and entertaining young raccoons.

Young raccoons

One evening they were playing in our front yard and were just as curious about us as we were about them.

My husband has been telling me about the river otters that live right near our house but I didn’t see them until this past week. They are really good swimmers so I didn’t get to see them for very long because they swam upstream from where we were kayaking.

Doe and 2 fawns

We regularly have deer and fawns in our yard. There was a mama and two little ones that made an appearance at my birdfeeders. I’m sure they’re the ones that keep tipping the seed out.

Or, it may be one of the many squirrels that scurry around from tree to tree. We have several kinds of squirrels here but the most prominent one is the gray squirrel.


We have lots and lots of little frogs in our yard! Every time I go out to water I have to be careful not to squish them when walking in the grass.

California Tortoiseshell

The most interesting insect sighting has been the hundreds of California tortoiseshell butterflies that made an appearance all at once in our area. They’ve been seen flying in mass over the roads. We felt bad as we ran into so many of them on our way to a hike. Then, the next few days they were all over our yard. I definitely need to do more research into their lifecycle.

This nature loving mama is having a fantastic summer of wildlife viewing right in my own yard and then my neighborhood.

You may be interested in reading the other parts in this series:

Part 1 – My Own Backyard

Part 3 – Travels (coming soon)



Outdoor Hour Challenge – Mouse Study Revisited

Outdoor Hour Challenge Mouse Study @handbookofnaturestudy


Outdoor Hour Challenge

Mouse Study

From the Archives and the More Nature Study – Summer ebook

I have been fascinated with rodents this summer. We have so many to observe here in Central Oregon, rodents of all shapes and sizes.

But, for this week’s challenge, let’s start small and take a look at the humble mouse. I have packed this challenge with loads of awesome links and resources. There are also a few free printables included for your family to use.

Join us this week for a small mammal study and see what you can learn about the house mouse.



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