Lots of news…how to make it all interesting…? Oh well, I guess I’ll just use the same approach I use in life. Jump in headfirst and hope for the best.
This week was the week I finally killed Oregon’s status as one of the few remaining states on the list I need to geocache in thanks to a little help from Superfriend Katy and a spontaneous roadtrip to Crater Lake National Park. What a beautiful place, the water is SO crystal clear and pure. I don’t care how many amazing Caribbean beaches or out of the way lagoons you’ve been to, you’ve never seen anything like this. (My camera is out of commission for the duration of the trip but Katy took plenty of pictures that I’ll be able to share in the near future.)
Making it down to the water isn’t the nature walk I expected it to be though. It was actually very similar to the first 1.5 miles from the top of the Grand Canyon. It was steep, dry, dusty and hot…and MUCH more crowded. In fact it’s probably a pretty good barometer for hiking the GC. If you manage Crater Lake and think you can do the same thing six more times with an extra 25 degrees of heat and 30 more pounds strapped to your back…okay, I give up. I guess it’s not all that similar.
Crater Lake is a dormant volcano that last erupted around 4000 years ago so there are also plenty of those wacky formations you’d expect to find laying around after volcanic activity. The Pinnacles are a formation of tall spires of super hard minerals that were created inside the lava flow as gases trying to escape created these conical features that over time where the only bits not eroded by the creek flowing through the area. Most are completely hollow and I was assured it wasn’t a good idea to try to climb down to them to touch one while wearing bicycle shoes (or ever. Spoilsports.)
After a short search for the world’s greatest campsite we stumbled across perfection without even trying. A campsite fairly removed from the rest of the campers, well shaded from the hot sun, even ground, good fire pit and bear locker AND right next to the creek! We jumped on the opportunity trusting we would never find better in the crowded park and started to set up camp.
I pulled out the tent and jumped immediately into bragging about the site and how great it was going to be sleeping next to a burbling creek. That was right about the same time I felt a little pinch on my leg. Naturally dismayed but completely realistic about the situation I looked down expecting to see a mosquito.
Instead I found a huge flock of mosquitoes. (I would say “swarm” but that just paints the wrong picture.) These guys were organized. They knew what they were doing and they were willing to wait their turn in line for the Brett buffet. It was a calculated and never-ending attack. I felt like Gulliver in Lilliput. These guys were going to take me down if I didn’t do something quickly. Bug repellant is a game of numbers and numbers were on their side. There were too many to stop. My solution?
Sulk in the tent like a coward while the mosquitoes enjoyed nature. Not the highlight.
The next day we ditched the park and headed up to Bend, OR where we finally managed to hunt down a geocache after one solid failure and minimal complaining from Katy (who incidentally did an awesome of finding the second geocache and saving the day).
Bend was one of those small communities I always find myself wishing I could be a part of but with the personal understanding that I wouldn’t be able to hang for long before I got bored. The town was VERY similar to the college town in California where I went to school. Bicycles everywhere (which I LOVE), plenty of outdoor activities (also awesome) but Bend definitely has Davis beat in the views department. Nestled right in the middle of spectacular snow capped mountains even in August it’s tough to beat the sights from downtown.
Sadly, I couldn’t get sucked in knowing that it must get ridiculously cold during the winter…I don’t like being cold.
I better wrap this up, Team. I’ve still got plenty of video work to do before I can get this week’s video up.
Thanks again for all your help, everyone!
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