Standing at the edge of a tree-covered cliff, looking down, I couldn’t believe the beautiful mountain reflections in the Crater Lake! The drive from Medford, OR to Crater Lake was breathtaking – at every vista the car pulled over for us to explore, I was presented with sights of nature, untouched. Breathing in the fresh air was invigorating, and the smell of pine surrounded us. Every corner we turned elicited gasps and cries to hurry over for a look, before the early evening light changed.
But then the light did change, and the world before us was even more beautiful!
Again and again, each opening in the trees displayed a new, startling sight. Three photographers scurried to capture the images we could, “selfies” included. It was the “magic hour”, when the evening light is just perfect. Cameras (both phone and DSLR) were never put away for more than a moment. I photographed until my batteries ran out, then I did a quick phone charge in the car, just to have some means to photograph a tiny bit more.
We met a mother traveling to Oregon with her 20-something daughter. They had plans to stay in a secluded cabin, in the dark woods, under a vast sky full of stars. They would watch old horror movies all night, to scare themselves silly! We exchanged glances, and wished we’d thought of that.
Despite her camera shyness, the artsy, independent daughter was polite and sociable. I told her she was going to be in a photo with her mother, with the colorful sunset reflecting on the lake behind them. Reluctantly, she did as I instructed. Portrait photographers have this skill (which I consider a special sort of Superpower) to direct others. Or maybe that “Power” is an expression of years of teaching and leading.
What a sunset! I could have sat and watched it for days, among friends. The GPS gave each of us conflicting information, and service died out as we got further and further into the mountains. If we’d known the true length of the drive we may not have visited Crater Lake. The scenery and the memories created on the drive through the mountains were worth the time in the car. It was one of those silly, laughter-filled excursions you suspect you won’t be able to recreate.
With time, energy and funds to spare, I’d love to go back. At the conference I was attending, I won a free night’s stay at the hotel, and $30 in their restaurant, Larks. The eatery serves locally sourced ingredients, with delish food in a modern environment. With so many other places I want to visit, I’ll pass the free perks along to one of my West Coast friends, for a relaxing night away.
Back in Medford, a fellow conference attendee told me about the local brewery scene. I ended up at Portal Brewing Co., where I indulged in (hands down) the best grilled cheese I’ve ever eaten. Local brew was served in a small corner restaurant, with the intimacy and familiarity of a local coffee house.
We were surrounded by local art, which rotates monthly. Without being prompted, the servers/owners presented small tastes of their craft beer, sample after sample. Locals flooded the place, from college kids to seasoned patrons. The last thing I saw was a young woman on crutches, making her way carefully out the front door, with a growler in hand. That’s some good beer and some loyal customers.
Ready for the next Adventure! ~ Kat
Crater Lake: http://www.nps.gov/crla/index.htm
Portal Brewing Co.: http://portalbrewingco.com/