TRAVEL THERE: CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK
Welcome to Oregon! Well, sort of. This past summer my husband and I spent twelve days traveling the state and now I’m sharing the experience with you. I’ll tell you about the attractions we visited, the meals we ate and where we stayed. Maybe you’ll decide you want to visit Oregon, too. Today I’ll rave about Crater Lake. Yes, I’m going to rave!
Gorgeous, Beyond Words
Crater Lake National Park is the reason I was in Oregon in June, rather than May (when the 18th wedding anniversary we were celebrating actually occurred). Who can blame me? Crater Lake is Oregon’s number one tourist destination even though snow closes most of the park for the greater part of the year. That ought to tell you something. The snowplows can’t keep the roads open during winter, but by June the plows begin to clear the roads and one of the first goals is to get the North Entrance open.
As I planned our visit, hopes were high we’d get to enter on the north side and drive through the park, rather than be limited to the area adjacent to the Crater Lake Inn, which is open all year. I was disappointed enough we’d arrive too early to drive all the way around the lake, but I hoped for more than just a peek from the deck of the Lodge.
When the vacation was still months away I merely made notes to check the internet before driving to Crater Lake. The main entrance, which is open all year, was further south and east than the north gate, taking longer to get to and without the opportunity to see as much. But as the time to leave got closer, the visits to the Crater Lake website got more frequent. The website had a map which showed the progress of the snow plows. It was if the calendar and the map were having a race. The day before we left Texas the calendar was still ahead and it stayed that way every time I checked it during the early days of the trip.
At Timberline Bill did some business on his laptop, but I’d been so distracted by the catalog shoot that I let him shut everything down before checking the status of the gate. Bill wasn’t too worried. Our route took us right by the gate and if it wasn’t open we’d find out without going out of our way. “We’ll get there when we get there,” he admonished. I knew that, but it had become a sort of game with me, like avoiding cracks on the the sidewalk. However, we loaded the car and headed out unaware of how things would play out.
The drive from Mount Hood to Crater Lake is remarkable. Every inch of it is just one panoramic wonder after another. To my great joy, as we drove down US 97 the state of Oregon has signs informing you of the status of the facilities at Crater Lake. When we made the right hand turn onto highway 138, I knew I’d get to enter the North Gate. I couldn’t help asking the ranger when the gate had opened. Three PM on the previous day! My luck had returned and just in time.
OK, I don’t have words for Crater Lake. Gorgeous? Magnificent? Awe inspiring? Well, of, course! But the only other time I’ve felt so bereft of appropriate verbiage was standing next to Niagara Falls. So here’s a video Bill put together from our visit. By the way, the music is performed by my dear friend Allan Cox and he was thrilled to be a part of the project. Enjoy!
And should you go to Crater Lake? Yes, do go, but be sure the north gate is open!