Crater Lake National Park - Oregon
When Darrell and I visited Oregon we decided to drive north along the entire coast in two days but we wanted to see Crater Lake too. So we left Portland and headed toward Crater Lake National Park, from there we'd head back west and pick up Route 101 on the Oregon /California boarder. While we were there the area experienced higher than usual temperatures, in the nineties most days, and everything was hot and dry. (It felt a whole lot like Oklahoma) Not exactly the cool green Oregon I'd expected to find but still just as lovely.
We entered the park at the North Rim Entrance, which is closed in winter, and parked at the first spot we came to. We hadn’t seen the lake yet, the view was blocked by trees and higher ground, and I was more than ready to get out of the car; people were walking back and forth, up the rise, the sun beating down. As we walked up a woman coming down said your hair matches the water! And looking back at these photos it kind of makes me want blue hair again. The blue is just that clear and intense, like nothing else I've ever seen.
The lake was formed by the collapse of Mount Mazama volcano and is 1,946 feet deep. We drove the entire rim, stopping to take lots of pictures. It's stunning, mesmerizing, but the trees and views of the surrounding mountains are just as beautiful.
The one hike we did while there was the Cleetwood Cove Trail. We did zero research before hand on the trail and it's the only legal way down to the water. But that was the one thing I wanted to do while we were there. Only afterwards, when I looked up the info for the trail, did I find out it was rated as strenuous with a eleven percent grade.
At the top there’s a sign and a map, the distance from top to bottom seemingly short (it's a very tough mile) and switched backed. Before we headed down I asked a couple coming up if it was worth it. The woman nodded, out of breath, hard but absolutely worth it. We hiked to the bottom and even though I wished I'd taken my camera I was glad I didn't have the extra weight on the way back up. It was totally worth it though to stick my feet in the clear blue water next to my favorite person. But I'm pretty sure the hike back up almost killed me. I was way too out of shape and I've never been more relieved to see the end of a trail.
I would love to back in the winter and see the area covered in snow and mist. It's completely transformed by the seasons. Sometime we'll get back that way, maybe even in winter, but no matter what time of year it is I'll still want to visit again. Maybe this time I'll even take my camera down the Cleetwood Cove Trail.