Crater Lake has been on Justin's bucket list for as far back as I can remember and it was with real eagerness that we pointed the truck toward that Cascadian treasure from Redwoods. We began noticing the smoke about an hour out and by the time we reached the park, it was clear that we were deep in wildfire country.
Our hopes still high, we made our way to the visitor center, but had them dashed officially when the ranger there recommended we watch the video as "it's likely to be the only sight of the Lake you get this week." Womp womp.
Stubborn, we pressed on, and this was indeed the sole view of the Lake we managed:
It was clearly time to regroup.
So we scrapped our plans to head into Bend and made our way to the coast instead. Oregon is famous for its scenic coast and it certainly did not disappoint. It wasn't the Oregon we'd planned, but it was a gift all the same. From the stunning Heceta Head lighthouse, to the best trail run I've had in ages at Cape Perpetua, to the famed Cannon Beach "haystack" at sunset, we were surprised and delighted at every turn and could hardly be sad that our original plan got derailed. Perhaps our sole regret is not veering back inland to the Columbia River Gorge...Justin has never seen it and less than a week after our passing by, it was set on fire by the carelessness (maliciousness?) of humans and more than 35,000 acres burned. It's a tragic loss to say the very least.
But we lingered on the coast, marveling at the way the mountains rose straight out of the sea, how the hemlocks towered and the sword fern grew tall and lush and thick. We inched our way north towards Washington and reveled in the time together amidst such beauty.