March 1, Crater Lake National Park:
After a month of living at an Airbnb apartment in Jacksonville, Oregon its time for new adventures. I’ve booked another Airbnb cottage in Bend, Oregon for a week. Since I’m on a 6 month solo road trip I’m looking to explore the beautiful natural landscape of the USA. So far it’s been an eye-opening experience. My plan is to see all the 7 wonders of Oregon on this trip. One down six to go. The next is Crater Lake National Park. I’ve always heard about it but I’ve never have been.
Granted it is winter but I think I will still be able to see it. According to the websites The Rim Village is accessible in winter while the perimeter road is closed. The drive is uneventful until I reach the mountains. As the elevation increases the snow piles up on the roads. Even though I’m a hardy New Englander, I realize now why chains are important. Driving cautiously, I finally make it to the Rim Village entrance of Crater Lake.
The opening of Rim Drive varies due to the weather, it’s advisable to check the official website; www.nps.gov for more details. I arrive in the early afternoon. Hundreds of other people have the same idea and I find one of the last parking spots. As I walk down the road towards the viewing area I see mountains of snow on the sides of the road. They are huge, at least 7 feet high, maybe more. I take a detour and clamor over the snow banks and slide down the other side. I brush myself off and walk away from the crowds. The views are amazing, not a cloud in the sky. I’m in awe as I stand at the edge looking down at the massive water filled crater surrounded by snow-white cliffs.
In the distance, Wizard Island, a snow-capped volcanic cinder cone rises out of the South westerly side of the lake. On the map it looks like there are trails, but I don’t see how one gets there since the sides of the crater look so steep. Do they drop by parachute and land on the island? Hmmm…
As I look around I see a massive four-story wooden and stone building looming out against the snow laden landscape. Most of the windows are boarded shut, except for a gable window and another one on the second floor. “Why not board all of them up?” I wonder. Maybe the large roof overhangs prevent the top gable windows from being attacked by nature. It looks foreboding, something out of the movie The Shining. A large conifer has snapped, precariously leaning towards the corner of the lodge.
Apparently the building is known as Crater Lake Lodge, which is only open in the summer. It’s the only lodge in the park. Closer to my right is a small brown house which sits close to the edge of the crater. The snow has slid off the steep gable roofs creating large snow piles hiding windows. It reminds me of a large white blanket crumpled up in the corner.
I’m glad that I’m able to see Crater Lake, one of our National treasures. I hope someday to return in the summer and truly explore the area. We live in a beautiful country surrounded by natural beauty; I hope Man remembers that.