We drove up through the forests of Oregon in the morning. We were messy and tired that morning, but entered the tiny principal park VC to ask questions and buy magnets.
We decided upon driving North on the West side of the park which a ranger told us was the more scenic route. Greg decided that his only goal for this park was to take a dip in the lake. It’s only accessible from Cleetwood Cove Trail, a mile-ish trail that’s easy on the way down and not so much on the way back.
The drive was very steep and very scenic. The blue water was beautiful and unlike any other body of water I’d seen. It’s strange that lakes can be so different from one another.
We found that there was a lot of construction going on in the park and saw almost no signs. We had to guess based on the map where the trailhead was because there was a parking lot across from it.
We got ready for the trek and started down, taking our time (which is actually more challenging for muscles than going down quickly). Once we saw the access points for the lake, we realized that there was a cool, tall rock that everyone was jumping from.
We also noticed the giant pools of pollen formed along the coasts, something that is gross to be in, but very aesthetically pleasing.
When I saw the tall jumping rock, I knew I had to go in, too. The water was cold and full of pollen, but I do anything for a thrill. It took me a while to actually jump, mostly because I really didn’t want to get in that pollen, but the 1.3 seconds of free fall were pretty cool (so was the water).
I landed in the water and immediately started paddling over to the rocky shore. I didn’t feel the need to spend any more time than I had to in the cold, grimy water. I landed on a rock and washed the pollen off before realizing that that rock wasn’t connected to the others. I had to get back in the water and pollen and pull myself up again.
I felt like I was covered in vom when it was over. Then, it was Greg’s turn.
When we were done, we dried off a little before making progress up the steep path. We took our time, getting bitten by plenty of mosquitoes. The Clif bars gave us the energy we needed, but we felt gross.
We drove out of the park, find another scenic view of a distant lake along the way (and a bathroom). I think it was June Lake, but don’t quote me on that one.
We found a lovely rest stop to sleep near that evening.
Crater Lake was my 18th National Park.