The next morning we went from this:
because we were in Crater Lake National Park! Sand to snow in one day. And the snow was still really deep. We were there in mid-June, but because of its elevation and location the park was still blanketed in snow and many areas were barred to visitors. Rim Drive was only accessible at one small point, as snow covered the rest of the roadway and bike path. Crater Lake itself, and the lodge where we stayed, are at the top of a high mountain, and the roads to get there were winding, to say the least. Luckily for us, the day we arrived was clear, so we had an awe-inspiring panoramic view. Honestly, to witness something like that, that’s completely from nature and not of mankind, feels sacred. Holy. We might as well have been in a cathedral.
The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.
A bit of information-sharing: Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the US, and one of the most pristine in the world. It was formed when a volcanic explosion caused the collapse of a mountain peak and created a caldera. This is where the lake was formed. There are no running sources of water that feed into or out of the lake, which means that all the water presented is from rain and snow over thousands of years. Wizard Island is in the middle of the lake and is volcanic; a cinder cone formed from the lava flowing into the caldera as the lake was created. You can actually hike down to the lake, take a boat to Wizard Island, and explore it (but only in the later months of summer). Unfortunately, we were too early in the season to be able to go. More info can be found here: Crater Lake National Park.
We stayed in Crater Lake Lodge, which was built in 1915 to accommodate park visitors. The lodge seems to fit its environment well, and the back terrace provides a spectacular lake view. The common areas of the lodge are so cozy and inviting, and fires roar in big stone fireplaces all day long. The dining room is nothing short of impressive as well, and the food is to-die-for. Possibly the best food we had the entire trip. And if you go, do NOT skip dessert — marionberry crumble, anyone? The one downside to the lodge that we were not expecting — given the rest of the ambience — was that the pillows were horrible. They look fluffy, but have no staying power and flatten as soon as you put your head on them. Even getting an extra didn’t help. So, as a tip, if you visit, take along your own pillow just in case!
As I said, we were lucky to arrive on a clear day to have the chance to witness everything Crater Lake had to share. Especially because when we woke up the next morning, we woke up in a cloud and it stayed that way through the rest of our trip. It was pretty surreal, actually.