I will add pictures into these posts later. Or just post them in an album on Facebook. But for now, words will have to do.
On Sunday, the 16th I entered the North Entrance of Crater Lake National Park. Once you enter, you have to drive several miles through a desert before reaching the rim of Crater Lake. I knew of two camp grounds around the lake, both on the southeast side of the park, one more primitive (and half the price) than the other, so I decided to go there. I started driving around East Rim Drive which eventually meets West Rim Drive to make a complete loop around the lake. I must have missed some signs along the way (shocker) because I ended up at yet another dead end and had to turn around. Apparently there was a big snow storm a week prior to my arrival and it closed that part of the Rim Drive. “No worries,” I thought, “I can just drive all the way back around the West Rim and meet the East Rim drive on the other end. That way I can reach the camp ground.” WRONG. I drove the whole West Rim, entered the East Rim, and after several miles was met with, you guessed it, another dead end. Laughable, really. With a few puffs of my breath I drove back down to the West Rim and found the other camp ground with plenty of open sites for the night. I set up camp and ended out to hike around this magnificent blue world where water meets mountains and mountains meet sky the same color as the water.
I got to Garfield Trail, stoked to be out of the car and walking around with some spectacular views. Lalala, there I was huffing and puffing my way up this mountain when GUESS WHAT HAPPENED. The trail was closed due to snowdrifts and I would not be able to get to the top of the mountain that overlooks the whole lake. Seriously? Reluctantly, I turned around and found a nice little outlook and sat down to write and take some pictures. In front of me was a nice guy taking a selfie in front of the lake. In striking up a conversation, I learned he was from Ohio and was traveling around alone much like I was. After talking for a bit he said, “Okay, so I know this is corny but will you take a picture of me staring at this lake? You know we’re all instagram junkies…” I happily snapped a few shots and we traded roles, him becoming the photography. It gave me a good laugh (and a good picture or two) and he went on his way.
Shortly after, I made my way back to the trailhead, and into a gift shop down the street. I grabbed some grub and a postcard and sat outside in the sunshine before retreating to a lodge to try and find some wifi for a bit. The wifi was 4 dollars for an hour and it was hit or miss as to whether or not you actually got an hours worth of work done. There were several times I had to log back in, shut the web browser, refresh, don’t refresh, pay again, sit, sit, sit, get excited at the prospect of a page loading only to get an error again. So after being thoroughly fed up with technology I tossed my hands in the air and went back to my campsite in the woods. It was one of the biggest campsites I’ve stayed at on this trip. It had plenty of room for a tent, my car, and my hammock. A nice ranger told me he sleeps in his hammock all the time, which I was hesitant to do because, ya know, bears and stuff. But he reassured me and I was determined to swing soundly into the night while hanging in my hammock. My tent was packed up along with everything else because I knew I’d have an early morning.
When morning came I was SO thankful I had already packed everything but my hammock. I woke up freezing cold (totally should have worn socks) around 4am. I attempted to resituate. No luck. I gave up and through my hammock in my car, turned the heat on high and headed to the nearest bathroom. The prior day in the lodge I heard a lady talking to a guest about a sunrise viewing at 5am in front of the lodge. I knew the lodge was close to another less popular pull off because I drove all of Rim Drive the previous day, so I went to the pull off and waited. The sun was slowly starting to glow behind the mountains across the lake. I changed my clothes, brushed my teeth and washed my face and waited patiently. The clouds above Crater Lake grew pink and orange and the water started to shimmer a little bit more. The water was thick looking, almost like it was starting to freeze. Much like me in my hammock. Just as I thought I had seen all of the sunrise I needed to see, this bright grapefruit colored ball of light slightly showed over the mountain. Faster than I could believe, that glowing grapefruit sun showed it’s whole figure and lit up the sky. It was bright and colorful but easy on the eyes, not bright and harsh like mid-day sun. Everything was calm. Everything was colorful. Everything was all right. And with that, I said my goodbyes to Crater Lake National Park.