Vacation Wrap-Up

August 24, 2009
The Nelsen kids checking out Crater Lake.  The lake is actually at least 2,000' below although it looks quite a bit closer.  Nice view of the quick dropoff in the landscape under the water.

The Nelsen kids checking out Crater Lake. The lake is actually at least 2,000' below although it looks quite a bit closer. Nice view of the quick dropoff in the landscape under the water.

Finally, after about 30 years, I took the boat tour.  We found the "Old Man of the Lake"!

Finally, after about 30 years, I took the boat tour. We found the "Old Man of the Lake"!

I’ve got a few pictures here from this past week’s vacation.  It was one of those “perfect” vacations where I had no contact with the outside world (okay, one cell phone call) from Saturday through the following Friday morning.  My family and I spent 3 nights at Diamond Lake, near Crater Lake.  Then we headed up to Waldo Lake for three nights in our little “Craigslist” travel trailer.   To me camping at a Cascade Lake campground is probably the pinnacle of the Pacific Northwest experience.  You’ve got all our native hemlocks, douglas fir, noble firs and other trees smelling up the air real nicely.  The lakes are usually pretty clean, and mosquitoes come after you with a vengeance in the evening or anytime the breeze stops.

Crater Lake was incredibly blue this time, more than I remembered…probably because of a very blue sky and no haze.  I wasn’t aware that it’s okay to swim in the lake…I’ll make sure I bring the swimsuit next time even though it’s real cold.  Also I had never heard about the Old Man of the Lake.  A solitary tree that’s been floating around in the lake (upright) for over 100 years!  The link can tell you more about it.
Not the best picture, but you get the idea.  Waldo Lake's water is incredibly clear...this is my shadow (in the inflatable kayak) down into about 15' of water!

Not the best picture, but you get the idea. Waldo Lake's water is incredibly clear...this is my shadow (in the inflatable kayak) down into about 15' of water!

Waldo Lake at sunset during a heat wave.  On this day it was 97 in Portland, but only about 83 up there at 5,400'.  A perfect day in the Cascades

Waldo Lake at sunset during a heat wave. On this day it was 97 in Portland, but only about 83 up there at 5,400'. A perfect day in the Cascades

Waldo Lake is a hidden treasure that I also didn’t know much about.  It’s located about 15 miles north of Willamette Pass.  Apparently it’s one of the clearest lakes in the world, second only to Crater Lake here in Oregon.  There is so little “life” in the water that the purity is similar to distilled water.  No gas motors are allowed on the lake, so it’s a real kayaking/canoeing/sailing place…very quiet.  Your first thought on seeing the water close up is “wow…those blues and greens are incredible!”.  I measured 67 degrees even a few feet down in the water, which was warm enough for snorkeling on a hot day.  The colorful experience was similar to snorkeling in Hawaii, except for no signs of life, just some occasional mossy/algae spots.  Riding a bike through the standing dead forest of the huge Charleton Burn of 1996 was neat too; that’s along the north shore of the lake.

All good things have to come to an end, but at least it’s back to a job I enjoy.  Quite a roller coaster weatherwise the next few days.  A quick trough swinging by tomorrow cools us off, then the next trough digs well offshore pushing a hot ridge up over the Pacific Northwest for a few days.  A nice stretch of summer weather will finish out the month of August.  Some of you may be tired of the hot weather, but we’ve seen plenty of gloomy days inbetween the hot ones as well, plus the long rainy periods of Fall and Winter can’t be too far off right?
Chief Meteorologist – Mark Nelsen 

RE: More Changes In The Weather Center

August 24, 2009

I’ve been on vacation for the last week, but will be back tonight.  I’ve sucked the vacation “well” dry, so just a day or two off at a time between now and March.  But I talked to Rob late last week…what a disappointment for us but a great deal for him!  Rob was a weather intern at KPTV about 4 years ago, then finished college and came back to work for us last Fall.  I figured he would fly the coop at some point but hoped it would be a bit farther in the future.  He’s a great employee and friend; we’ve had many long discussions about weather patterns and other geeky things.  He’ll be missed. 

I have to admit that I’m slightly jealous.  I first applied for on-air jobs in 1991 right out of college.  I grew up here in the Pacific Northwest and REALLY wanted to go somewhere back east to live in and forecast thunderstorms and blizzards (far more active weather), plus I’ve always had a soft spot for agriculture and small towns.   But I couldn’t get anyone to hire me in little places such as: Fargo, North Platte, Kearney NE, or Kirksville, MO.  Instead I took a job for a small company here in Portland that forecast wind for windsurfers in the Columbia  Gorge for the next two years.  By chance I got that job at KOIN, so I never did get a stab at the wild weather in the Midwest.  Yes, I was lucky to start working in a large TV market, but Rob is doing the right thing by getting some experience in a small “market” first.

Good Luck!

Chief Meteorologist – Mark Nelsen