I had been in Seattle for the summer, and it was time to hit that open road again. My friend, Chuck and I decided it was time for another road trip. We took a 4 1/2 month road trip starting June of last year. I upgraded to a van, named Stan. Stanley T. Vanley to be precise.
We stopped in Portland . I made curtains for Stan. Went to my first strip club, and got introduced to a long time friend of Chucks, along with shortly visiting another.
We kept moving, and we reached a hot spring near the Willamette National Forest, and then making a pit stop at a coffee shop in Bend. We were on our way to Crater Lake.
The booklet that was given to me upon entry by the forest ranger listed a bunch of things to do, including Camping, swimming, sightseeing, and hiking.
Brief history and fun facts on Crate Lake
Crate Lake was created after a volcano erupted, named Mount Mazama. Crater Lake was just a crater before a lake. There are no streams or rivers that connect a water stream in or out, which makes the lake famous for its deep blue clarity. In August 1994 the lake was measured to see how far in depth the eye could see, clarified to be at 134 ft. The water that subsides inside is purely from its annual rain or snowfall, which has fluctuated no more than 16 ft in the past 100 years, and replenishes its water every 250 years. The lake has a maximum depth of 1,949 ft, which makes it the deepest lake in the United States, and 7th in the world. For all my Seattle peeps, that’s like stacking 3 Space needles on top of one another, and still having some room! If you ever want to drive around it, make sure you have at least 33 miles to go, because that is the how long the loop is.
As we were driving along the loop, and in the midst of making out way to a certain peak we were looking for (I forget the name), I couldn’t help but wince when Chuck was driving, and I was alongside the edge. Heights make me want to throw up, and not in the “Oh him having so much fun” adrenaline way. Those peaks were something else to look at.
After driving around to a few spots, it was nearing golden hour and we arrived at a spot that looked good to set up shop. This spot was a good one, and we claimed it ours and said we were never going to leave.
Spoiler alert - we left
BUT before we did, the cameras had to come out, and my eyes focused on the sky, as the sun was painting colors across it, and bouncing down into the water.
When the stars came out, the next move was to find any rules about car camping in the park. None to be found in the booklet, and due to no cell phone reception, we were limited. We made a choice, we were staying in a parking lot by the lodge. It was dark by now and we were getting up early to get some sunrise shots anyway.
The alarm rang at 6 am, and I was tired but ready to take some photos. Before the sun was up, and before my shoes were on, I got out of Stan to get ready. There was a park ranger who who was in conversation with our parking lot neighbors, who also had no shoes on. The ranger turned towards me, shining his bright flash light my way, he called out, "When I am done with them, I will be talking to you next. so stay put"
A few minutes later the ranger came over, and asked if we knew the rules about car camping here, and how long we have been in the national park for. We said we had tried looking up anything about sleeping in a vehicle when we arrived the previous night, and we had found nothing.
The ranger informed us that there was a rule, and we were breaking it. There is no camping allowed outside of any designated camping spots in any national park.
No fine, no problem. He then pointed us to a place to go see the sunrise, and we were on our way on out of the lot. It was time to get the colors of crater, and get back on the road.