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Trip Report Home after one week out of four but Crater Lake perfect

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We had booked four weeks, from Australia, to drive a big circuit from San Fran, up to Redding, Medford, then Reno, Salt Lake City, Yellowstone, Cedar City, Vegas and back from LA.
Wanted to see Lassen Volcanic NP, but it was only open at entrances. Decided to go to Lava Beds instead. Very pretty drive in Mt Shasta country, and across fascinating lakes in the Tule Lake Bird Sanctuary on the way, and Lava Beds was fun, climbing down lava tubes on ladders in pitch darkness with only small torches to light the way. An interesting place. A group of school boys and their teachers, with helmets and big torches helped us get our bearings at first.

Crater Lake approach had high walls of snow on the 20 mile approach, the last few miles they were several meters high. We had to walk the last 500 feet through a snow "maze" which came out at the still closed lodge and overlooked the lake. Dark blue water, the almost perfect circle of high snowy rim and a beautiful sky with great smooth wings of clouds in muted greys and blues, in places a touch of blue sky. No one else there, silent, perfect!!

In the hire car on the way back, DH's back began to play up, so I drove back to Medford. It was so bad the next morning, we decided to cancel Reno, stay two more nights in Medford, and drive to Salt Lake with a night at Winnemucca on the way. After a couple of days in bed, DH was having trouble moving at all, so we had to make the big decision. Continue on, or come home? All our hotels and car hire had been booked and paid for months ago, non-refundable. Travel insurance doesn't refund pre-existing. But iIn the end, he just wanted to come home! So we did.

United changed our tickets (hefty fee) and got us on a flight from San Fran that night, and we were lucky. DH had four seats to stretch out on, and I had three., and now, it is good to be recovering at home. It's just a shame I can't give some of you wonderful Fodorites our hotels! That's the trouble with booking early and getting better rates, some Priceline bookings too.

On one of the days he rested, I drove myself to Oregon Caves and did the cave tour. They are marble caves, and cannot compare in beauty to our Jenolan Caves in the Blue Mountains, N.S.W but they are really fascinating in the way they show the geology of the area, and the formations are pretty .The surrounding forest is stunningly lovely, with moss and dripping ferns and sedges. The tour itself is "challenging" with 500 steps, overhanging ledges to bump your head on, and lots of ups and downs. But this 70 year old managed well - thanks to "Active over 50's" classes etc.
Thanks to Fodorites for advice given in my planning - which is half the fun, after all. I've always thought that you learn so much in the planning, that it doesn't really matter if you don't go in the end. Got to be philosophical, don't we?

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