With Crater Lake being so far away, I was worried that I wouldn’t get the chance to the famous landmark before the summer was over. Luckily, my roommates were as anxious to see it as I was, so on Friday afternoon of Week 6, five of us piled into the car and headed for a small hotel room in Roseburg. We crashed early – after the 4-5 hour drive, 9 PM felt like 11 – and left at 6 the next morning to beat the crowds to Crater Lake National Park.
For those of you in the Midwest, Crater Lake’s reputation is definitely well deserved; it was every bit as beautiful as I had expected, and more. The water was a deep blue that was so vibrant it seemed almost unnatural, and the shallows were a clear turquoise that rivaled the Caribbean Sea. Of course, there was no way I wasn’t going for a swim in that. One of the park employees instructed vaguely that we could jump in “a little ways around the corner,” so we found a spot that looked good and went for it. Not quite as chilly as the plunge I took the weekend before, but not exactly balmy, either.
After a steep hike back to the parking lot (during which most of my energy went towards trying to not look like I was dying as much as I felt like I was), we were ready for another hike. We decided to explore more of the area and head to Toketee Falls and Hot Springs in the Umpqua National Forest. We got lucky and had the hot springs mostly to ourselves. Unfortunately, the photographs don’t quite do them justice, but we spent a good hour soaking in the warm water and watching the stream below rush past.
It was the warmest I’d felt in months.