Crater Lake National Park [Explore Guide]
Adventuring out to places and spaces around Oregon, in good company, is one of my favorite summer activities. Sometimes, squeezing in a quick trip to a secret lake or embarking on a whimisical hike after work days is enough to fulfill my adventurous heart. Other times, we [kristian and I] plan our trips in advance, waking up with the sun for a long day of adventuring far away from home. Regardless of our destinations, we always have our cameras in hand, hearts full and all the snacks.
This past weekend we trekked [drove] two and a half hours to Crater Lake National Park. We stopped at one of our favorite markets in Bend before heading out of town and made sure we were prepped with enough yummies to fuel our bodies for a long day of hiking and swimming. We are snack connoisseurs. That is a fact.
Crater Lake is a magical place. Drive a mile in any direction and the terrain seems to change drastically. From dry to lush; rocky to smooth; the terrain keeps you quiet entertained. We arrived at the national park and chatted with the park ranger, paid our fee for the day and kindly accepted a large map. It’s always important to have a map when adventuring. Our first hike was the Watchman Hike, a 1-mile vertical climb up a rocky and dry mountain, that leads you to the watchman tower – the place where park rangers watch and monitor forest fires. We arrived at the top, mesmerized by the truly breathtaking view of the lake. This first part of our adventure took about 1.5 hours, as we stopped to take pictures, to chat with other adventurers and to snack on strawberries at the top while enjoying the view.
By noon, we were done with our first hike, and hungry, as always. We drove over to the head of the Cleetwood Cove Trail. We had a picnic over looking the lake, sharing slices of prosciutto, left over hamburger patties, dried apricots, nectarines, plantain chips, carrots, sugar snap peas and a Kit’s Organic Bar. My belly was happy. I was really concerned about how I would be an adventurer while still sticking to the autoimmune protocol diet. This was the first trip where I was convinced it could be done!! Dried fruit, jerky, cured meats, raw veggies and bars like Kit’s Organic Bar and Epic Bars are awesome options for those avoiding the most common allergens, and in my case, staying AIP, while adventuring. Oh, and lots of water.
After lunch we ventured the Cleetwood Cove Trail – a long, rocky and steep trail [I may have slipped twice] that leads to the most majestic body of water in Oregon. The color of Crater Lake is my new favorite color. It is a neon royal blue. Truly breathtaking. The water is so clean, not to chilling and has soft, weathered rocks, similar to those in Lake Tahoe. When you get down to the bottom of the trail, you walk another 100 yards to your right to find a couple dozen families, couples and solo adventurers sun bathing on soft rocks, swimming in the lake and jumping off “the jumping rock.” It was definitely not crowded, but populated in a lively, fun kind of way. We spent a good portion of the afternoon swimming and enjoying the warm sun. My skin and hair has never felt as clean, smooth and refreshed as it did after swimming in Crater Lake. Magical I tell ya. At around 4pm, we hiked back up the long and steep hill, which was tiring but my competitive edge kept me going. I couldn’t let those behind me pass.
After a day full of sun, new freckles, crunchy lake hair, dirt between our toes and my pair of trustworthy adventuring overalls on, we were ready to head home.
More adventures and explore guides coming soon!