Today we had 12 snowshoers excited to get out of the valley fog and snowshoe at Crater Lake National Park. When we arrived at the Annie Creek entrance, the ranger insisted that we have chains on or traction tires on our rigs. In reading the chain laws under exemptions (https://tripcheck.com/Pages/Chain-Law), it seems Barry only needed to carry chains in his car and not actually install them. Jay and Karen were required to leave their AWD Subaru at Annie Creek Restaurant and Gift Shop parking lot. Leslie having both 4WD and approved snow tires, dropped the Medford area hikers off and went back down to Annie Creek to shuttle the others to the Steele Visitor Center parking lot.
By the time we had everyone shuttled in and snowshoes on, it was already 11am. Despite the disappointment everyone felt by the way the ranger handled the situation, it could not dampen the spirits we felt as we began our trek up the Raven trail in the low 20 degree weather. Someone had previously gone up the trail so there was a minimal job to break trail.
I asked if anyone was hungry and needed lunch to speak up. Everyone said they were good and would wait until they reached the rim before stopping for lunch. The sky was blue and we could not see any clouds anywhere. The way the sun shone on the snow made it look like crystals and it was truly a winter wonderland. Because of the steepness of this trail, we stopped a couple times to change or remove layers.
When we reached the top, we were met with a very cold wind. We decided the best place for lunch was down by the lodge. After taking our group pictures at the rim with The Watchman, Wizard Island, Llao Rock and Mount Thielsen and Timber Crater in the background, we quickly headed back down the trail.
When we were in the Steele Visitor Center parking lot, I saw 2 volunteer rangers who were very kind in explaining that upper management decides when the traction tire and chain requirements will be enforced. When we told them of our experience, they said they would be happy to pass along our suggestion that the requirement be listed in the alerts at the top of the park's webpage.
In order to save time, we decided to see if we could fit 6 people in each car for the drive back to Annie Creek entrance. We discovered that Ki has a remarkable ability to pack a car and we were able to fit all the people and gear in and avoid a shuttle.
When we were at Annie Creek we decided to make a stop at Phil's Frosty in Shady Cove. We were surprised that the valley was still engulfed in fog and the temperature seemed colder than it was at Crater Lake.
Upon arriving back at the Dollar Tree in White City we discovered an extra pair of snowshoes in Leslie's rig. I looked at the group picture to discover they belonged to Liz. Not lost, just misplaced.
Later that evening Nanci sent me a web link to a page on the Crater Lake National Park that made mention of the snow tire or traction devices. You had to scroll down the page quite a long way before you came to it. I also found a link on a page about snowshoeing asking if the webpage was helpful. Once I clicked yes, it asked how they could improve the website. I stated that it would be good if they included the traction tire and chain requirement in the park alerts that are listed at the top of the page. I also sent an email to the other 11 snowshoers and encouraged them to send some kind of message about it.