We were shaken out of our sleeping bags Thursday Morning by claps of thunder so loud they shook the tent. While the kids were a bit scared – especially Elizabeth – ever since she was a little girl she has been extremely sensitive to loud noises, and this thunder was LOUD – Paul and I found it rather exciting. I have always enjoyed thunder and lightning a great deal, so I looked at it as quite the treat. It was raining big fat drops as we raced to the bathroom and flung all the kids in the car. It would be another makeshift breakfast in the car on the road as we drove down to Crater Lake. Thunder accompanied a good part of our drive as lightning trees lit the sky around us. Of sourse we did start getting nervous when I began counting between the lightning and the thunder – “One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand-” CRACK!!!! The stuff was right on top of us.
It wasn’t too long though before we had driven out of the storm and by the time we got to Crater Lake (two hours away from our campground) it was a bright sunny, warm day. We drove into the park and got our first glimpse of Crater Lake at the first viewpoint we found.
Jacob especially had a hard time towards the top, granted he is only three years old and managed to climb to the top – but more than that we realized as we enjoyed the spectacular views – he’s a three year old with a heart defect! We wondered if the high altitude and the strenuous climb made it more difficult for him. Anyway, I was impressed with all the kids, but especially my little brave heart. 🙂
Another neat thing was that at the top of the peak we met a 28 year old lady who had recently recovered from brain surgery, AND had had heart surgery as an infant to repair an ASD. It was cool to chat with her – she was very impressed with Jacob’s climb too – and to once again see what wonderful and full lives these little brave hearts can grow to enjoy.
The view of Wizard Island and the surrounding areas were amazing. There was also a visit from a little furry friend – he was about a foot away from me.
After Watchman peak we stopped at the visitor center and learned more about the lake. I got some views all the way around the lake – and pieced them together best I could. We also stopped for a picnic in the most amazing picnic area EVER!
After viewing the phantom ship we drove out to the Pinacles – one of my favorite things around Crater Lake. I remembered them from years ago when I had come with my parents. The pinacles are a colorful collection of 100-foot-tall spires that are being eroded from the canyon wall. The spires are “Fossil Fumaroles,” each marking a spot where volcanic gas rose up through hot ash deposits, cementing the ash into solid rock.
The trail was short – but near a cliff, so we were grateful it was hard-packed dirt and we could keep Jacob in the stroller. Near the end of the trail we passed a sign declaring we were exiting the national park and heading into the Winema National Forest. So, of course we had to give the children the opportunity of being in two places at the same time!
After the pinacles we finished our drive around the lake stopping for occasional views. Storm clouds were beginning to roll in and shrouding the lake in a heavy mist. We headed back to camp at about 6:00 in the evening. The trek home was an exciting one, but that story will have to wait until tomorrow.