Crater Lake - Day 1

I've decided to make this a three part series instead of writing one long post about my trip to Crater Lake, which was incredible, by the way.

I woke at 4:40 a.m. on Thursday, July 24. My intention was to wake at 5:30 and leave by 6, but I was so excited that I was out the door by 5:15. The drive took almost four hours and provided its fair share of beauty as the roads wound up the sides of the Cascade range. Before I'd even gotten a glimpse of the lake, I had already pulled the car over at least four times to marvel at the sight of the mountains.

Here is a picture of my first view of the rim, just minutes before the lake spread itself out before me.

More Snow than Jersey

Before doing anything else, I drove immediately to Lost Creek Campground, where I set up my tent and stored my food in the animal proof locker. I couldn't help but ponder what a bear frustrated by the smell of food and the inability to get at it might do, but there was much to do and see, so that thought soon left my mind.

Once I'd established my place, I took a drive around the rim of the lake. Despite the haze created by all the forest fires, every view I had of the lake was simply stunning. I won't bore you with all of my pictures, but this one shows the brilliant blue of the water.

Deep Blue

Eating lunch at the Rim Village Cafe, I had my first ever celebrity sighting. Who would have thought I'd see a celebrity at a National Park? Anyway, I got a sly picture of Jin from Lost as he was snapping photos of his family. Daniel, I wanted to call and tell you, but there was no cell phone reception. It's him. Don't doubt me. I almost ran into him when we were both trying to get spoons from the dispenser.

Celebrity Sighting!

I spent most of the afternoon relaxing at my campsite. Around 4 p.m., I drove out to Watchman Overlook and hiked to the top of Watchman Peak, where I intended to stay until sunset. When I checked the day before I left, the trail was still closed, but the trail crew managed to dig through the 8 foot bank that remained on one side of the peak so that my plan to hike to the top would not be foiled. After about 3 hours and 100 pages in my novel, I was getting too cold and headed back down the trail.

Things Are Looking Up

It wasn't until I arrived at the car that I realized I'd either lost my keys or locked them inside. Fortunately for me, a lovely crew of folks from Illinois had a wire hanger and the skill to break into a car. It took a while, but at least I didn't have to get someone to take me to the ranger station. It doesn't seem like AAA would come out to the national parks. Unfortunately for me, my plan to take killer pictures of the sunset were bumped to the next night.

Driving back to the campsite was a harrowing experience. Windy roads, along the sides of cliffs, in the deep dark of night, are not fun driving for a weenie like me. I made it back safely, though, and settled in for a restful sleep before another full day.

To be continued...
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