My excitement level had been so high going into today. We’ve never been to Crater Lake and are beginning a long string of new-to-us places. The unknown awaits and I get really excited about the potential that brings.
Our drive up north from Medford was beautiful and we definitely entered the Oregon forests I’ve imagined. Huge trees that came right up to the shoulder of the road lined the drive. There were a sprinkling of tiny towns and handfuls of options to pull off and admire some natural phenomenons. We did stop at one pull off that featured a natural bridge. This bridge was unlike the ones that we’ve seen in Utah that were carved by swift rivers. Instead, this was a lava tube that a river flowed right through. For 200 feet the river flows underground through this ancient lava tube. So cool.
We made it to Crater Lake by 11 and, just like we had predicted and read about, the vast majority of the park is closed due to snow and avalanche risk. We did talk to a ranger who offered a few suggestions and we took her up on one right away. We hiked (more like walked) about a mile along the rim of the caldera overlooking the lake and then back. It is absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. The lake is the most crisp blue I’ve ever seen. There is a dormant volcanic island (that you can take a boat to, that we had tickets for, that got cancelled because of the snow.) The whole thing is picturesque.
After the hike we found ourselves with not much to do and very few options available. Since we’re here another day, we decided to save the kinda longer hike until tomorrow. We spent the rest of the afternoon in the lounge area of the lodge playing games, reading, and drinking canned wine.