Got up early and headed out the door. Wanted to get to Crater Lake National Park by noon since it was a long drive. My friend Markus and Denise among others recommended it to me as something I should check out on my travels.

Long drive from Portland, but I’m finally here.

Now waiting in line to get my map and free access via the Annual National Parks Pass

I stop at first spot I see to get a view of this lake that everyone who has visited keeps excitedly talking about.

It truly is very very blue. The iPhone pictures do not do it justice.

 I walk to a small trail and get closer to the cliff edge and get a photo.

Man that is beautiful.

Some of the rocks around the edge on the trail.

I see a golden mantled ground squirrel!

I drive around until I get to Cleetwood Cove Trail. It is a steep 1.1 mile trek downhill to the lake and the only legal access point to visitors. The climb back up is going to be ‘strenuous’.

I start walking and meet two other hikers along the way: Meg and her son Ian (up ahead in the picture).

The path down.

Finally get to the base.

And walk ahead to a rock that I can jump from.

And then I take the plunge into Crater Lake. I ask Meg to take a video of my first plunge since I am doing it on behalf of the ALS ice bucket challenge and raise awareness for my friend Shilpa’s non-profit Surge for Water.

It is very very blue and cold. But bearable. I am ecstatic that I jumped.

So I do another one.

And in doing so and taking videos, I make some new friends from California along the way: Brittany and Kendall. They were fun to talk to, and Brittany gave me a great suggestion of a hot spring that I should visit while I am in Oregon.

The view from the rocks and the lake where we climb up to the top of the jumping rock.

Meg and her son Ian: the hikers I walked down with.

After changing my clothes and getting dry I head back up, and I continue to drive around West Rim Drive soaking in the various views.

Love the color of the cliff and the color contrast of the lake.

Native American Tales – Ancient Spirits

The coastline

I continue to drive around the rim and connect to the East Rim side.

And as I drive by I notice the other non water views of Crater Lake National Park are also beautiful.

Oh look a boat. There are very few boats allowed to travel in Crater Lake. I only saw two while I was there. I guess that is water preservation for you.

I come by the Phantom Ship Overlook

And then continue towards the Pinnacles Overlook. The entry way is limited to entry every 30 minutes due to construction.

After I get through.

I get to the trailhead.

Walk around the short path

And view the various pinnacles.

And mountains in the background.

After heading back to the car, the rest of the road past the Pinnacles entry and Phantom Overlook is closed and it is almost 5 pm. I decide to call it quits and head back home since it is getting late and I am running low on gas. The other two sites Videa Falls and Watchman Overlook would have to wait another day.

The desert that I pass by which is part of the Crater Lake National Park experience

And the road to the entry point.

I head over to a gas station, fill up and now plan to head over to Lavon’s home in Terrebonne, Oregon and hang out with some high school peeps.

Reflections:
I really enjoyed my visit to Crater Lake. I wish I had filled up my tank with gas the first time. I may have visited the other two points of interest on the late. I am so glad I found the trail to the lake and met some cool people. Jumping in the lake was awesome but I wish I had dived into it. I admit I was a little scared to dive, but jumping in feet first was no problem. Crater Lake is something I would definitely do again. I would swim a little more too and get goggles since I wear contacts. They say that you can look down and see further down the lake since the water is so clear but I didn’t want to risk losing my contacts.

Expenses: $52.67
Gas: $7.00
Gas: $42.29
Snacks: $3.38