We made our way south and saw some amazing things along the way. We appreciated beautiful beaches. We survived the drenching jet boats. The redwoods made us feel rather small. We escaped from Alcatraz and biked the bridge. We enjoyed a lovely 4th of July holiday on the bay, and we indulged in all of the traditional Cisco touristy activities.
But all good things must come to an end, and we had reached the end of our trip. It was finally time to go home.
But we had one last stop before we did: Crater Lake.
Crater Lake is Oregon’s one and only national park, and we sure are proud of it. And why not? Boasting the deepest lake in the country (nearly 2000 feet), it is also one of the bluest you’ll see. Only Wizard Island breaks the serene surface, adding just a touch of character to Mother Nature’s volcanic masterpiece.
We had seen pictures of this incredible place, and I had been itching to go ever since I moved to Oregon. With our trip south, we finally had the perfect excuse – and an awesome way to break the monotony of a straight-shot drive back on the freeway.
Of course, I love beautiful scenes, and I was happy as a kid at Christmas with my camera in-hand. We wandered all along the perimeter to survey the various views, and we couldn’t find a bad sight in the entire park. Unfortunately, parts of the road were still closed due to snow (in July!), but we could almost make a full circuit.
I insisted on staying out for sunset, and we had fun playing in the remnant snow and the dying light.
And like the crazy photographer I am, I also insisted we get up early enough to catch sunrise the next morning.
I took pictures of the lake; Aaron took pictures of me taking pictures of the lake.
Hiking Crater Lake
We spent the morning going for a short hike, and we found a trail that bored its way straight through a snowbank. It was a crazy sight for the middle of summer. And of course, we had to leave our (temporary) mark.
We also managed the incredibly steep trail down to the water’s edge. With such an isolated body of water, I remember thinking about the thousands of visitors every year. I hope everyone who comes to see this remarkable park is as awestruck as we were and is filled with the same need to preserve the pristine lake for future generations. Honestly, I almost feared to even touch it lest I disturb the delicate ecological balance.
Over the years since this first visit, we have returned to appreciate this little slice of heaven. And I’m sure I will return again. It fills me with such peace and relaxation; it’s certainly a wonderful place to be. But nothing quite compares to the first time discovering a new beautiful location. It was the perfect way to wrap up our amazing road trip.
Have you ever been to Crater Lake? What were your first impressions? Which is your favorite national park?
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