Catherine Ryan Hyde Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of more than 25 published and forthcoming books, including the bestselling When I found You, Pay It Forward, Don't Let Me Go, and Take Me With You.

           

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My Strange History with Crater Lake

Catherine Ryan Hyde

Here's a pair of sentences for you.  I have been to Crater Lake, once.  I have never seen Crater Lake.  Weird.  But both statements are true.

Last September, I took my dog Ella and my 88-year-old mom on an RV trip to Oregon.  One of our first--and most highly anticipated--stops was Crater Lake.  We'd heard such great things about it.  But before we could get there, we hit smoke.  A wildfire, too new to have been reported before we left, had begun near the route we were driving.  But we were still a long way from Crater Lake, so we were sure we'd pass through it.  The trouble, though, is that it wasn't just one wildfire.  It was more like three.  Two were very big and one was very close to Crater Lake.  The closer we got, the smokier it got.   I had to keep driving, because the only logical way to get around Crater Lake and keep going north involves going right by the lake.  Right by it.  As in, pull out and see the lake from an overlook right off the route.

We stopped at the campground and cancelled our reservation, then quickly headed for cleaner air.  And, of course, because we wanted to see the lake, we pulled out at an overlook.  And did not see the lake.  It was stretched below our feet.  But, literally, all we could see was smoke.

Next week we're going back to Crater Lake.  A do-over.  This time I have high hopes that we'll see it.  This time I plan to hike down the Cleetwood Trail and take a boat trip over to Wizard Island, where I'll stay for a few hours, hiking to the top of the volcanic cone and taking lots and lots of pictures and videos.  If my legs agree, the next day I'll hike up Mt. Scott for its great views. 

So hopefully I'll have some new additions to my hiking and travel photos and my YouTube videos when I get home.  Wish me luck.