|Looking towards the PCT and the Three Sister's in Bend, Oregon.|
20 years ago, when I was 19 and a freshman in college, my roommate and I took a month to hitchhike and camp in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. While hitchhiking near Dinosaur National Park in Wyoming, we were picked up by a man in a van who was once a seasonal park ranger in Crater Lake. He said Crater Lake was the most beautiful place he had ever been to, or had seen in his life. I remember him describing the surreal quality and color of the lake itself.
Fast forward 14 years, the first time I laid eyes on Crater Lake was while hiking the PCT with my friend Indie in 2010. The words of the seasonal ranger were ringing in my ears as Indie and I approached the rim around 6:00pm, however my thoughts were consumed by food more than anything at the time. Perhaps due to feeling famished, the cold, or "wilderness fatigue," the lake didn't strike me the way I had hoped. Actually, I don't think we were there at the right time of day.
A couple weeks ago, my parents and I reached Crater Lake around 2:00 or so in the afternoon. The parking area was buzzing with tourists. Miraculously, we scored a perfect parking spot with the trailer. When we approached the rim and saw the lake, all we could say was "Wow!" The blue color of the lake was absolutely stunning. I don't think I've ever seen a blue like that before...