I know, I know….it’s been FOREVER since my last post. I have been frantically editing photos and studying for my GRE, so I apologize! The next few posts will be dedicated to my trip to Bend, Oregon – get excited!!!
Cast of Characters
I should have posted this up before I went on vacation, but I waited until the last minute to do everything and ran out of time. So, before I start on Crater Lake, here is a brief introduction to the slew of ridiculous and hilarious people that made this trip absolutely incredible.
The Brothers Kephart: Bend, Oregon is my boyfriend Ryan’s hometown. I was there once last year briefly and brought an unusual early season snow with me (must be the Minnesotan in me…yeah, you betcha!). Ryan also has two younger brothers (Steve and Mike) that made the road trip up from California.
My Twinsie: My sister, Jess, who is the same age as me for 16 days in July, flew in from Minnesota to come see Bend!
Team You Won’t: Ryan’s ace Adam lives in California with his awesome girlfriend Drea. We really, really wanted them to come up with us but it just didn’t seem like it was going to work out. In the final hour, Adam got won’ted. Amongst their crew, if someone won’ts you, you pretty much have to! So, Adam and Dre drove up too!!!
Base Camp: Ryan’s parents were nice enough (crazy enough?) to let all of us stay in their beautiful home. Incredibly generous, especially considering the debauchery that was guaranteed to follow. Ryan’s little sister Stacey is the sole Kephart child left in Bend and she was there to rage with us whenever she wasn’t working.
When Ryan first told me about Crater Lake I was like, “ok, so it’s a really deep lake.” Then we googled photos and holy crap is it waaaaay more than just a deep lake. It’s absolutely beautiful. So, we had to go. I was pumped about it and sent photos to Jess and Dre too. We were all stoked to finally see it in person!
On Saturday morning (and I use this term loosely) we got up and rallied the group into two cars to caravan the 90 or so miles from Bend to Crater Lake. Adam brought a head-mounted GoPro video camera to film our descent which really completed his look of all out creeper.
Once everyone was finally loaded we made a stop at Big O Bagel to get some much needed breakfast. (As a side note, I was starving and had already put down a fantastic and juicy organic peach!) My sister and I both got bagel breakfast sandwiches which were delicious; but, I tried Ryan’s salmon and cream cheese on a bacon cheddar bagel and it blew my mind. I don’t even know why I ever bother choosing what I am going to order. I always like Ryan’s choice better and should just automatically order whatever he does. Needless to say, for the rest of the trip I would order the salmon and cream cheese bagel.
The road trip up consisted of rocking out to some satellite radio with great car dance moves by Adam and Ryan and some not so great smells that may have been caused by an unruly elk burger making its way through or perhaps by the mass amount of alcohol….
When we finally arrived, we were all absolutely amazed at the view! It really is hard to describe how incredibly vast and blue the lake is. Combine this with the cliffs surrounding it and it is really stunning.
The lake fills a caldera which was formed 7,700 years ago when the volcano Mount Mazama collapsed. It’s 5 miles across, has an average depth of 1,148 feet and a maximum depth of 1, 949 feet making it the deepest lake in the US and the ninth deepest in the world. In addition, by average depth, it’s the world’s third deepest. Out in the lake is Wizard Island, which was created by one of four subsequent eruptions that also created three formations hidden beneath the surface of Crater Lake.
Because the lake is mainly snowmelt and has no inlets or tributaries, very few pollutants enter the water, giving the lake an insanely blue color and remarkable clarity. In testing, the lake had a clarity of 142 feet.
After snapping a few photos, we started our jaunt down the cliff. We all hiked down effortlessly, joking around and taking in Crater Lake’s beauty. However, we did notice that everyone on the way up was not so jovial. Instead, most were sweaty, panting, and devoid of chatter because they were game-faced on the task at hand….climbing their way back up!
Once we reached the bottom and braved a particularly nasty trip to the foul-smelling bathroom, it was time to jump in! The guys all stripped down and jumped right in.
Dre and my sister turned to me to ask if I was going to jump. “OF COURSE!” I said. I wasn’t going to come all this way not to at least jump in and say that I was in the lake. Easier said than done….
I am the world’s worst cliff jumper. I have discovered this from my two experiences with it and one experience trying to jump off the train trussle. Train trussle experience was in Minnesota and I think it resulted in my sister pushing me after I stood up there for 20 minutes or so. My first time cliff jumping was in Thailand and I only jumped because a monkey literally came out of the jungle, pointed right at me and laughed. Taunted by a monkey! So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I was not much better this time around. Somehow, it still came as a surprise to me. I was completely confident walking up to the edge of the cliff, then I stood there and thought, uh oh…here we go again.
So, Dre jumps and my sister jumps. Then Jess treads water for five minutes or so trying to get me to jump.
No go. She gets out of the water and comes back up to the top to get me to jump. By this point, I have a sizable crowd of fellow tourists around me. Despite the crowd chanting my name, I was still frozen. Then a girl sitting next to me, maybe 6 years old, informs me that if her parents would let her, she would jump. “Great,” I think to myself, “that’s probably because you are too young to know how dumb this is.” Her dad tells me I need to hurry up because he is running out of camera footage. “Oh, I’m sorry, how inconsiderate of me to take up all of your family vacation footage…random stranger.” (This man claimed that he would put this video on youtube. I checked every day for a week and didn’t find anything, so let’s keep our fingers crossed)
Finally, it comes down to if my sister jumps again and waits in the water then I will jump. Jess steps back up and we try to switch places. Somehow we bump into each other and she falls off the cliff. Miraculously she catches herself and Adam is able to pull her back up to safety. After all of that, we need to get this thing done. Finally, I jump in, screaming on the way down and immediately losing my breath once I hit the icy water. Sooooooooo cold!!!! In the end, very glad I jumped though!
After some more pictures and getting dressed again, it was time to make our way back up. At first I was feeling just as chipper as I was on the way down. Then, sharp pains started stabbing at my side and continued for the rest of the way up. This hike up is no joke. Now I understood the myriad of benches along the trail and the disgruntled faces that we saw on the hike down.
We all had an incredibly fun day, despite my cliff jumping hiccup, and if any of you are planning to get out to Oregon (which you should!), you MUST go to Crater Lake. It truly was one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen.
Click here to see more photos!