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Outdoor Mom – September Journal

Outdoor Mom

September 2018

 Like much of the West Coast, we’ve been plagued with wildfire smoke off and on for the last month. It rolls in thickly, making it impossible to truly enjoy being outdoors for very long. But, the minute it clears out, we are trying to squeeze in the last of the late summer activities.

bike riding sunriver august 2018

Creating memories of a summer spent outside with family and friends is high on our priority.

crater lake phantom ship august

Sometimes we plan an outing and sometimes we get invited on a spur of the moment trip. This was the case with a day trip to Crater Lake National Park. Our son unexpectedly had the day off and he phoned us up and asked if we wanted to accompany him to see Crater Lake on a day that the skies were blue and clear. It took us about ½ a second to respond, “Yes!”

eating outside august 2018

We try to eat outside on our patio as much as possible.  The last Outdoor Hour Challenge in August was to have a late summer picnic. We’ve had several in the past few weeks but I haven’t taken a photo. The image above is our typical summer meal with a little grilled chicken, salad, and some beans. I’ve actually perfected my baked beans recipe this summer as the perfect accompaniment to any grilled dish.

fall river nature journal and river august 2018

We have a place we discovered this summer that’s very close to our house that offers a variety of nature experiences. It’s along the Fall River where we can hike, picnic, and just sit and enjoy an afternoon in the sunshine among the wildflowers. There’s also a nearby fish hatchery with amazing rainbow trout of all sizes to observe. These will be summer memories that will warm my heart during the long winter.

bbq shed august 2018

We are nearly finished building our bbq shed with the help of our sons. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a summer evening playing cornhole or just watching the dark descend on the mountains in the distance.

new aspen tree august 2018

Our main focus this summer was to landscape our backyard, or at least get the hardscape down and build a few berms. My husband has worked his little heart out creating a beautiful space for us to enjoy that far exceeded our summer goals. He surprised me at how much he has accomplished and even got an aspen planted in the far corner of the property. I’m going to love watching it change colors with the season.

There is so much more to share but I will end there in the hope that you will be inspired to get outside with your family during the next month.  I invite you to follow me on Instagram to see more of our outdoor experiences here in Central Oregon.

Instagram OutdoorHourChallenge small

Follow me here: Instagram – outdoorhourchallenge. If you would like me to take a look at one of your images on Instagram, use the hashtag #outdoorhourchallenge.

Want to join in the Outdoor Mom post?

Answer all or just one of the prompts in a blog entry on your own blog or right here on my blog in a comment. If you answer on your blog, make sure to leave me a link in a comment so that I can pop over and read your responses.

  • During our outdoor time this month we went…
  • The most inspiring thing we experienced was…
  • Our outdoor time made us ask (or wonder about)…
  • In the garden, we are planning/planting/harvesting…
  • I added nature journal pages about…
  • I am reading…
  • I am dreaming about…
  • One last image…


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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

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Crater Lake National Park – Tips and Images



This month I am sharing tips and ideas for a national park trip to Crater Lake National Park in the state of Oregon. Our family has visited this awesome place two times…both during the month of July. One time there was so much snow that we couldn’t do all we had planned but the second time it was perfect. Lesson learned? Check ahead of time on the national park website to see the current conditions...including road conditions.

On the way there we stayed in Ashland, Oregon(around 90 minutes) but Medford, Oregon (less than 90 minutes) is a little closer if you are looking to stay in a bigger city near Crater Lake National Park.

Crater Lake National Park reflection

This is one amazing place! The first thing you notice is the color of the water…Crater Lake Blue! The reflections will blow you away no matter the time of day. You can’t stop looking at the view.

Crater Lake 2007

You can drive all the way around the lake easily in a day since it is just around 29 miles. Our family completed the drive but not without stopping for a few photos along the way. We also stopped at the Visitor Center which was informative and included a movie. (Don’t forget to get your National Park Passport Book stamped before you leave!)

Crater Lake boat trip 2

We took the Crater Lake Boat Tour and it was worth the hike down to the shore to catch the boat (a little more than a mile each way). Our kids loved this boat ride and it was fun to see all the different rock formations from lake level. The guide was knowledgeable about the area’s history and geology so we soaked it all in. Yes, the water really is that color blue!

Crater Lake boat trip 1

Here is a photo from lake level where there was a waterfall coming into the lake. The tour was an hour and a half and you really did get a great look at this amazing lake from a viewpoint that was spectacular.

Crater Lake 2

The “Phantom Ship”

Crater Lake Blue Water

Crater Lake is known for its amazing clarity – the official website states that the water is so clear that you can see to a depth of 120 feet. The lake itself is 1,943 feet deep, the deepest lake in the U.S. and one of the deepest in the world. Truly a unique place!

Crater Lake National Park Hike wildflowers

We also enjoyed the wildflowers at Crater Lake National Park. There are several easy hiking trails that you can take around the rim of the lake and this one at Castle Crest Wildflower Trail is one of the prettiest we enjoyed during our stay. It is super easy with beautiful views of the area.

Crater Lake Wildflowers 1

Amazingly beautiful flowers to enjoy!

Crater Lake Wildflowers 2

We stayed outside of the national park (about a ten minute drive) at the Crater Lake Resort. This place was perfect for a family with active boys! We actually rented two cabins for our big family but with the reasonable price it was a great choice. I can tell you that it is exactly as depicted on the website and we would stay there again in a heartbeat.

Crater Lake Resort 4

Nothing fancy but clean and comfortable…including a full kitchen which helps save on your vacation food costs.

Crater Lake Resort 2

There were canoes and rowboats to use at the resort and that kept my men occupied while I did a little journal work.

Crater Lake Resort 2

There was a rec room and bikes to borrow too. This place was terrific.

This is a national park that you can take a day to visit, seeing the highlights and making memories that will last.

 Other Things You Might Like to Know

  • $10 entrance fee per car
  • Mazama Village has a gas station
  • There are a number of park brochures you can download ahead of time: Park Brochures.

You can read more of my national park tips in these entries: