Whew, it’s only taken me a year to finish this trip report! I’ve had it in draft since September 2019 🙁
Flashback Friday to Thursday August 8th, 2019:
After our 4th and final day on the PCT, Joel and I headed north, to one of the top destinations in Oregon: Crater Lake.
We were exhausted, after walking 54 miles in about 60 hours. Worse, our bodies emanated funk (disgustingly smelly), having not showered since Sunday–4 days ago. But we needed to wait until our hotel in Bend to shower, which would only come after our stop in Crater Lake. Many hours to go!
We enjoyed driving back to Mount Shasta (the town–while also enjoying views of Mt. Shasta, the mountain!), and talked about someday returning to climb it. We also finally had cell service again, so Joel tried to get his flight changed so we could both leave Friday (tomorrow) evening–we wanted to have more time to enjoy Oregon, go across the state line to Vancouver, Washington (adding a new state for both of us!), and check out Cascades Locks on the way.
We stopped for lunch at McDonald’s in Klamath Falls, OR. I don’t remember what I ate, only that it tasted really, really good after three days of freeze-dried meals and lots of trail mix.
We made a very wrong turn after this–or rather, we trusted the GPS and continued on up the road, rather than turning where the sign said “Crater Lake.” I can only blame our exhaustion for the lack of good judgement. Kinda reminds me of missing that last turn at Mt Marcy in June.
So 25-30 miles up the road from where we should have turned onto Route 62, we turned left… and quickly found ourselves on a dusty dirt road. This turned into a bumpy forest service road. I should have turned around, but we were already so far down the road, we held on to hope that we were taking an alternate route (I believe we might’ve even called it a “shortcut”–oh how wrong we were!). We finally ended up at a small, incredibly dusty trailhead parking lot. UGH! We realized we needed to go alllllllllll the way back.
We estimate we added an hour to our trip, with the wrong turn, so we both felt dismayed that we were postponing our long-awaited showers even further!
However… Crater Lake was so. worth. it.
We both marveled at the beauty of the national park–tons of people, of course, because it’s a very popular destination. We almost couldn’t find a parking spot! Once we did, we
headed over hobbled to the rim, and found one of the very best natural wonders either of us has ever seen:
Even though this national park abounds with trails (and plenty of roads, if hiking/walking isn’t your thing), we were so beat, we stayed close to the car, and soaked it in.
We learned why the water is so blue:
The color of Crater Lake is the product of its great depth, the purity and clarity of its water, and the way solar radiation interacts with water. Water molecules absorb the longer wavelengths of light better (reds, oranges, yellows, and greens). This energy slowly heats the lake throughout the summer. Shorter wavelengths (blues) are more easily scattered than absorbed. In the deep lake, some of the scattered blue light is redirected back up to the surface where we can see it. Around the edges where the water is less deep, some of the unabsorbed green sunlight is reflected back up. The color of the lake can vary from day to day depending on wind, cloud cover, and the angle of the sun. Source.
We limped over to the gift shop (Joel had blisters; I had sore legs), and bought a few stickers.
Then we hopped back in our dusty KIA, and drove up to the Hampton Inn in Bend, OR. Another 2 hours on the road.
After 3 nights of tent sleeping, I don’t know if I’ve ever been so happy to see that Hampton Inn. I think we arrived around 6 PM, and my very kind brother said I could shower first. Oh thank God. After a completely glorious hot shower, in which I needed to scrub my feet repeatedly to get all the dirt off, I felt refreshed–yet still exhausted. And I desperately wanted to get dinner, then crash into bed.
Joel was feeling pizza, so I found a highly rated pizza place in Yelp, called Bronx Born Pizza.
As we stepped outside, the skies of Oregon rewarded us with the most amazing sunset!
Even better, we drove past a park, and I saw the perfect opportunity for some gorgeous photos, so I made a U-turn and parked real quick.
Have you been to Oregon? Is it on your travel bucket list?