Oregon is cracked. It is hot. It has vast expanses where openness reigns. I am in love with this state, so strange and different than the endless miles I slugged through in California (do you hear that tiny bit of bitterness shining through there?).
Today was a special day — we were heading to Crater Lake! This lake has been on my bucket list for over a year, since I wrote about it in a blog about the greatest day cycling trips in the states. The pictures I found were spectacular, and I pointed to it as the expected highlight of Oregon.
Crater Lake is the coolest. Period. You should check out the wiki page, because I bet you have just as little an idea of the awesomeness of the lake as I used to. A few highlights: there are no rivers flowing into the lake, but the snow and rain refill the lake completely every 250 years; it is the deepest lake in the U.S. and the seventh or the ninth deepest in the world!; there is a island called Wizard Island in the lake.
What more do you need to know? I hope this vague description is causing you to pack your bag right now. But maybe you should wait until the fire is put out, then you could actually travel all the way around the lake.
We arrived in Mazama early and found a whole herd of hikers. We checked out the hiker/biker tent site and quickly decided it would become an awful drunken mess of a place later that day. Instead we picked an RV site in the middle of glorious old people. They were friendly, clean, quiet, and let us use their hook ups to charge our phones. They were the opposite of the crazy people that make up my thru hiking comrades.
We didn’t actually make it to Crater Lake until the next day, a beautiful sunny day that we spent doing nothing. I woke up late, lay in bed while Boomerang made me coffee (I can get use to this life!), and then read and shuffled from place to place around our campsite.
Finally, late in the afternoon, we headed up to the lake. It was incredible. The blue was deeper blue than any body of water I have seen. The lake spanned an insane distance, and the smoke covered the opposite side with a cloak of mystery. There was a tall island in the middle, covered with trees and looking like the perfect place to say my “I do”s.
I fantasized about pedaling a paddle boat to the island, scaling the steep side all in white, and claiming my undying love in front of the lake creatures that surely reside in the deep blue depths. I imagined diving in afterwards, a sweep of dress streaming around me, making the water bizarrely white.
Then I slipped back into reality, found myself with two of my favorite people and insanely hungry. We left to hunt for food and to sink back into the most relaxing day I’ve had on trail.