This past weekend my boyfriend and I celebrated four years together by taking a three day weekend to road trip from the very Northern part of Oregon (Portland), where we live, to the Southern part of Oregon to see Crater Lake.. with a few stops in between (more on those stops later).
I had been seeing pictures of the absolutely breathtaking Crater Lake for months thanks to all of the travel Oregon accounts I follow on Instagram, and I was jittery with excitement when we set out to lay our own eyes on it! Just take a look at this photo to get you in the mood…
HELLO?! IS THIS A REAL PLACE? Yes, yes it is, and I was about to see it for the first time.
A little bit of background in case you don’t live in the PNW, over the past few weeks there have been more than 50 active wildfires in the states of Oregon and Washington. Aside from being terrifying, this means that the state has been flooded with smokes, not only in the parks, but in the gorge and in Portland as well. Last weekend it smelled like a bonfire outside in the city – not okay.
As we drove through Deschutes National Forrest, Umpqua National Forrest and Winema National Forrest we passed by signs that said “If you see a fire, don’t stop.”
Okay, I might be paraphrasing a little – but that was the point. Three things were weird about that:
- That I live somewhere that wildfires are normal
- That I could be driving by/engulfed in a fire
- That someone would stop to look at the fire?
But then, I DROVE BY A FEW TINY FIRES, and I have to say… I could almost understand stopping to try to put them out – but I didn’t, because I’m a rule follower and the signs told me not to. Also, I enjoy living.
Putting the fires behind us we entered Crater Lake National Park, jumped out of the car and hustled up to the rim, where all of the hiking trails start. Oh. My. Goodness. I have never seen a more beautiful sight.
Although the park, and thus the crater, were filled with smoke from all of the wildfires I can honestly say that it took my breath away. With the pups in tow we headed out to explore the park and take in the view from multiple angles, each one more unique and stunning than the next. There is a fantastic amount of hiking trails to explore, taking you up to the top of the surrounding mountains, down into the crater itself and around the area. If you plan ahead you can even go for a boat ride out to the island that is in the middle of the lake, which is called Wizard Island- possibly because the whole area is so beautiful it must have been created by wizards? That’s what I’m going with.
If you are ever in Oregon (or Northern California) I cannot stress enough that you should go to Crater Lake. Trust me, no amount of talking about its beauty really does it justice. Pack your friend, significant other or dog and make your way down there – hell, I’ll join you.