Road trip!

Let me begin my saying that Oregon is beyond comparison. There is nowhere else on Earth that holds such an array of majesty, which can be traversed throughout a five-day road trip. We visited Mt. Hood, Sisters, Bend and Crater Lake. I will never look at the world the same way again, having seen the wonders nature creates–with or without humans.

We began our adventure by visiting Mt. Hood. We viewed the iconic mountain from various viewpoints, including Trillium Lake and the shining Mirror Lake. The hike around Trillium Lake is an easy two mile loop, and the hike around Mirror Lake is a moderate three to four mile semi-loop that took us two hours (you go up, make the loop around Mirror Lake, then go back down). Another gorgeous hike in the area is Little Zigzag Falls, which took us 35 minutes and was an easy 1.2 miles round-trip hike. It isn’t a loop, but it hugs the stream throughout the hike to make for gorgeous views (be sure to use the restroom before you go!).

Trillium Lake, Timberline Lodge, Little Zigzag Falls, Mirror Lake

Trillium Lake (top), Timberline Lodge (left), Little Zigzag Falls (right), Mirror Lake (bottom)

After being amazed by Mt. Hood, we drove south towards Sisters. We stopped along Lake Detroit for a quick snack, then continued to wonderful views of the Three Sisters Volcanoes from Dee Wright Observatory, where you can see more than 20 mountains/volcanoes on a clear day. Right beside the observatory also lies a “Sea of Lava” and a half mile lava river loop trail. I highly recommend taking the time to go on this quick, enjoyable, scenic and educational trail through the lava formations. Not only do signs educate you along the way, the view of the volcanoes around you is spectacular the whole way.

Steps leading to Dee Wright Observatory, Detroit Lake, views of the Three Sisters

Dee Wright Observatory (top left), Detroit Lake (top right), views of the Three Sisters (bottom)

Lava trail and Dee Wright Observatory

The Lava River National Recreation Trail (top and right pictures) and the view from the top of Dee Wright Observatory (bottom left)

Once we got a good night’s sleep in Bend, we decided to go on a hike! The ranger recommended the Green Lakes hike. Although Green Lakes is a loop, it would take 12 miles or so to do it, versus the four miles up and four miles down that we did. I was impressed by the hike, not by the summit. Part of that may be that once we got to the top, four miles up, it began to hail. There was a thunderstorm warning that day. Trust me, you do not want to be stuck at the top of a mountain four miles up when lighting, thunder and hail are coming your way. Please enjoy these before and after pictures.

If we had to do it again, I would want to do the Todd Lake Loop Trail, which is shorter, more relaxing, I would assume has a more impressive lake, and accessible from the same area we parked for the Green Lakes hike. I would also bring a hat and waterproof jacket. Perhaps a horse, as well.

Also in the area is a Lava River Cave, which is dark and scary, but interesting.

Crater Lake is a national park with the blue-y-est-ness water you’ve ever seen. When the sun hits the water, the inside of the crater looks like a mermaids lagoon alongside the Phantom Ship. I can almost imagine Crater Lake was the inspiration for Neverland. The pictures don’t even begin to do the site justice.

I would like to add that my photographs of Crater Lake have not been edited in any way–not even saturation or contrast. Enjoy!

Some things I was compelled to write down as a reminder to myself on this trip; sometimes your best shot is behind you, and don’t be so busy taking pictures that you forget to look with your own eyes (through which the world is much larger). This trip has been a humbling experience, especially to be at the mercy of nature and in the presence of miracles such as Crater Lake. Did you know it was formed by multiple eruptions causing the downfall of a mountain?

The final hikes on our trip were along the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway between Medford and Roseburg. We stopped by a lookout point over Diamond Lake, hiked the glorious Watson Falls (stopped at the second highest viewpoint since we heard that had the best views of the falls. There is an optional loop segment of the trail that doesn’t follow the water, but will get you back to the parking lot a bit quicker), hiked the easy but stair-filled Toketee Falls trail (sadly, we couldn’t get that close to the waterfall, as we were confined to a fenced, elevated lookout point), and, finally, hiked/swam the Susan Creek Falls.

Susan Creek Falls, Toketee Falls, Watson Falls

Susan Creek Falls (left), Watson Falls (top right), Toketee Falls (bottom right)

And that was our roadtrip. Thank you, God and Oregon.


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