We’d been on the road over a month and were amazed we still hadn’t left the state. It’s easy to forget how HUGE California is. What we really were the most excited about was getting to Oregon so we could FINALLY add another sticker to our map!
Somehow we assumed that once we got to Oregon, there would be no blazing heat and everything would feel decidedly more lush and green. What we got was this…
We were surrounded by wildfires. Northern California and Southern Oregon are battling massive wildfires right now and we drove through some of the devastation before we hit OR. There have also been new fires since we left. We had no idea Oregon had wildfire season as bad as Southern California. The air was not breathable.
We decided to escape to Crater Lake for the day to cross it off our list, then got the heck out of there.
When we got to the park entry, and even at the visitor’s center, the rangers warned us we might now be able to see the lake due to the smoke. Wizard Island wasn’t even viewable that morning.
Lucky for us, the winds had changed things. Wizard Island! Maybe it wasn’t as clear as it could have been but it was pretty spectacular.
Now this is hard to tell, but I took this picture looking over the bank from the picture above. The amazingly blue water is about 200′ below the wildflowers. The water at Crater Lake is some of the purest in the world. No water feeds in or out of it and as you can see, the color is spectacular.
We did the 33 mile rim drive and stopped a few places along the way.
View from the other side…Wizard Island WAY in the back
You can see some of the haze, but not too bad considering the circumstances.
Towards the end of the rim drive, we stopped at a small wildflower loop trail. Hard to tell in the pictures, but it was exploding with mountain flowers and was such a welcome lush oasis from the smoke.
Harlan is sporting his awesome ranger vest with his new Crater Lake badge!
Keep it up Jr. Ranger!
On our decent back to camp, the plan was to stop at Beckie’s Cafe for lunch and pie. This place seemed to be in all the guidebooks, and if you know me at all, you know how I feel about pie.
This is not a foggy day. That haze is smoke. In fact, here is Alan checking out the fire bulletin across the street… he was not the only one wearing a mask.
We were in the red “unhealthful” zone.
Luckily Beckie’s gave us a little break. And yes, those were both mine.
And this is just the boys being cute at the oversized furniture across the street. In the smoke.
Glad we got to tick off Crater Lake, and felt fortunate we had the means to leave the area. We saw many hardworking fire crews and staging areas along the way and could only send out our gratitude for them and prayers that everyone in the area could remain safe.
Cheers, and be safe Oregon!