Lying on a bench at an amphitheater in the middle of a forest, I close my eyes. I feel the sun. I hear the birds. If I were in outer space, I would be able to see myself lying on this bench through the clear blue atmosphere. I hear my children laughing as they ride their bikes behind me and I unwillingly transport to my 65 year old self. Sitting in this forest alone, with only these ghostly memories.
It’s this inevitability of life that has provoked me to slowly learn to live in the moment, to put the camera down and immerse myself in the current now God has given. Recently, I’ve been contemplating the horror that this too shall pass. The perfect chaos of the tangles of my 4 year olds hair, the way my 6 year old says “nuse” instead of “use”, the fact that my 7.8 year old still wants to hold my hand and kiss me on the cheek in public. The shelf life is all too apparent as of late. Again, the elderly woman who feeds the ducks at the park will tell me in some distant city on some other date, “these are the golden years, enjoy and drink them all in”. So, I’ve been schooling myself on stopping and REALLY smelling the roses that I’ve been so blessed to have been given. All three of them.
So it is here in Oregon that I have been trying to change to make the most of what we have here. Of course, it is easy to have these “aha” moments in the presence of the glorious landscape that is Crater Lake. There is something the color, clarity and consistency of this hole in the Earth that pulls these feelings out of you. It’s also the contradiction in season. I mean, where else in the United States can you ring in the Summer Solstice by sledding with your family in shorts? This is what we did on our first day at Crater Lake and it was pretty incredible!
It was only after exhaustion had finally set in that I was able to pull my recreationally ambitious family to the 7700 year old caldera. Unfortunately, to these tots this was just a side show. I explained to them that this hole in the Earth was once an active volcano. Before it exploded and imploded it was Mount Mazama. The volcanic eruption was 40 times greater than that of Mount Saint Helens. After the mountain blew its top, it became so heavy with molten lava that it imploded and caved in on itself, forming the caldera you see today. Over many millennia, the caldera has filled with rain and snowmelt (average snowfall being 533 inches per year) to create one of, if not the most pristine lake on the planet. No rivers flow into it, none flow out. It is also the deepest lake in the U.S.at a stunning 1,949 feet.
But the caldera is not alone. She houses another volcano that sprung a few hundreds years after the collapse of Mount Mazama. Wizard Island is the focal point of the caldera and you can take a boat out to the volcano and climb into ITS caldera. We were a few days short of the opening for trips to Wizard Island but this is definitely an excursion for another day.
We did get to hike down to the lake itself and taste its 7000 year old nectar. Yes, it is that clean! Cleaner than what we drink out of our water bottles or the tap!
Above is Pman trying to get his lips into the tumultuous waves. It was so difficult that this was the only way to accomplish our goal.
Don’t worry! They loved it and were asking for more. Laney bug declared that “It’s more watery than water”! She couldn’t get enough!
We then started our hike back up 700ft and got to examine the pumice that was produced from the activity of so long ago. We couldn’t help but throw some into the water and watch it float.
We then drove back to our campsite through the valley below. Absolutely gorgeous with farming land and rivers all over. I had to snap a few!
Back at the campground we “enjoyed” the Williamson river and its frigid temperatures. This river is anywhere from 38 to 42 degrees Fahrenheit and it is bone chilling! Boober and Pman were the only crazy ones in this family to try out a dip. It was a goal that unfortunately I did not achieve this trip!
This part of Oregon was incredibly picturesque and the weather was on point! Night temperatures were in the lower 50’s while daytime temperatures were in the mid 70’s. I was looking at the weather around the country while we were here and it made me want to stay FOREVER!! In fact, we liked it so much that we are going to complete our tour of Oregon in the fall by exploring the Columbia River Gorge to the northern coast. So there will be more Oregon memories made and adventures to come!