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My eldest son came to visit. We hadn't seen each other since Christmas in NY. He arrived on the 11th of June and left today the 16th. June 13th was my 1st anniversary here alongside the side of the pond.
It is anniversary of another kind as well. In 1993 on June 13th both of my sons and I were here. I asked them both to truck on down to Buffalo and see the Grateful Dead with me. My youngest son and I had gone the previous year, this year all three of us went. It was the last time I got to see the Grateful Dead. We had a good time.
Matt came out last year right after I moved, this is the first that Jay has been here. I had anticipated his arrival since the end of winter when he said he was able to make it. I had wanted him to see how gorgeous the area was and how comfortable my new home was.
We set off on a trip that had too many goals in relationship to the time allowed us. This resulted in changing plans on the fly. We had set out to drive down the coast from Warrenton, stopping to see the sights and taking photographs when we saw something interesting. Truth be told there are many interesting things, far too many to be seen in the time we had to allot to this activity.
We left the driveway thinking we would ‘drift’ down the coast on Highway 101 and see the different lighthouses along the way. But after two lighthouses, an idea we had earlier and had not been able to accommodate in the time we had, came back. Crater Lake!!
Two lighthouses were enough, we could always come back. We decided to go directly to Crater Lake. The decision wasn’t made because the drive was boring, but my son had wanted to see the lake. So we went.
It’s a long drive. We left Warrenton before 8 and arrived at Crater Lake at sunset. All by chance we stumbled onto a scene that blew my mind.
It was the middle of June and there was a lot of snow still on the ground. Behind us on the ’rim’ drive was Crater Lake.
Finding this felt like a serendipity. We didn’t know where we were going and then it was there! That was my impression . But my son has a gps thingy and in retrospect I suspect that played a part in getting there. I was unaware of it being a factor at the time as he was driving and I was lookin’.
We took a lot of pictures and saw a lot of scenery that left me feeling humbled.
We came down from the lake on narrow roads that lay in front of us like a long series of ‘S’ curves in the dark, mountainside on the left, a sheer drop-off on the right. We were tired and exited onto route 62 fully expecting to drive another 50 miles to Klamath and the nearest motel. But about 5 miles from the park entrance we spotted a sign that said ‘Wilson’s Cottages’ and decided to stop.
Wilson’s Cottages turned out to be one of the pleasant surprises of the trip. It is an authentic 1930’s style tourists camp. It has individual cedar shingled cottages placed well apart between tall trees. The cottages are authentic because they were erected in the 1930’s and remain pretty much they way they were when new; you can’t get any more authentic than that.
I experienced the old wood work with a sense of nostalgia having been brought to places just like this by my parents as a child. Clean and neat and a hell of a lot better than driving another hour and then another hour back in the morning.
When I woke in the morning I discovered that we were in a forest of very tall trees.
There’s a path, if you look hard, down to Annie Creek which exit’s the park and runs behind the cottages. I heard it before I saw it while walking the path in the morning. The air was fresh and sweet, the only sounds I recall were those made by myself and then as I drew close the sound of water gurgling rapidly in Annie Creek.
One thing that struck me was that the 1930’s comforts acted as a catalyst to put me into a slower pace, a pace disconnected from the hyper fast society demanding more than can be reasonably expected. This is a good place to ‘get away’ and find your bearings. About five mile from the entrance of the park is a real plus too.
Crater Lake sits over 7000‘ above sea level. It is 1900‘ deep at it’s deepest spot. We went back up to see it in the daylight. There was still a lot of snow on the ground and it had snowed the week before. The sky was clear blue and the lake was as pure a blue as you can bring to mind.
It's a strange experience looking across the lake to the other side while realizing that at one time the 7000' peak rose to a height of 12,000' and that a third of it was literally blown up and scattered to the winds. The tranquil blue lake that remains is the empty shell of Mount Mazama that has quietly refilled itself with water over the intervening years. It sits there as one in meditation.
I had gotten some sore muscles from all the walking, but by my return the soreness was a memory, and it was a good soreness in that it awakened my sedentary body. Nothing like walking in the sand, over rocks and leaping rivulets to take it’s toll on a body that has done nothing but sit around for a year. It gave me the idea I had better keep walking.
On our drive down the coast we passed Cannon Beach and stopped first at some of the Neahkahnie view points overlooking Manzanita and the Pacific Ocean. Today it was overcast and it remained a sodden gray not quite daring to rain until mid afternoon when the skies became higher and gave way to broken patches of blue and white allowing sunlight to shine.
This is not abnormal weather behavior. It keeps the North Coast from getting boring.
I took a lot more photographs than I posted here. Way too many to post here. But on the way back to Warrenton we discovered another really pleasant surprise called Yachats. I'll have some pictures of that next time.
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