We left Ashland, Oregon on Sunday, September 28 after breakfast burritos with our friend Andy. We drove back up through Medford to stock up on supplies and then headed northeast to Crater Lake National Park. Visiting this beautiful place together has been on our list for a long time; Harry’s never been, and the one time I went involved a harrowing experience with my elementary school friend Tracy Weber, some snow and ice, and an obstructed view. Needless to say Harry and I were both ready to experience the striking beauty of Crater Lake.
We arrived Sunday afternoon with blue skies overhead. We carefully drove around the east rim and stopped at several viewing points to take photos in the late sun. I must admit that the lake was amazing, but I wasn’t exactly blown away (get the volcano reference?). I think I was just tired and didn’t feel like dealing with the other handful of visitors all vying for the best photo ever. We decided to call it a day and find a camping spot, feeling like Monday morning was going to be pretty special.
We parked our van at a trail head in the national forest and were thrilled to find ourselves actually camping FOR REAL in our van. There was one other camper van across from us in the lot but for the most part we were totally alone.
Harry whipped up a great dinner on the camp stove (which he had to take out of the box) while I constructed some window coverings out of our pack towels (ghetto or clever, you decide). I didn’t want the guy across the lot, or Big Foot for that matter, to watch us sleep.
And then it got dark. Really dark, like the kind of dark you get from being under a canopy of trees in the middle of a big forest. The kind of dark that’s really deep and quiet. And it was only 7:00. So we sat inside the van and played Gin Rummy, making up rules as we went along because neither one of us could really remember how to play. I’m pretty sure I was the overall winner.
We crawled into bed by the soft light of our lantern and settled in for a good night sleep. And then I had a wee claustrophobia-induced panic attack. It was SO dark and I felt SO trapped! Once Harry opened the sliding side door, fresh air rushed in and I felt much better — it’s always reassuring to know where the escape route is. For good measure I wrapped my head lamp around my wrist where I could find it in a split second to ward off anything threatening (like Big Foot or the pitch darkness of night).
Crater Lake Day Two
We survived the night without incident and made it back up to Crater Lake first thing in the morning. And that’s when the magic happened! The sky was so blue and the views were just stunning. We were so in awe of the deep blue water we couldn’t take our eyes away. We went on the only hike that goes down to the water’s edge and found total solitude and peace.
We left Crater Lake feeling jazzed and excited for our next Oregon adventure.