Crater Lake National Park

We finally got our first WiFi access! About 30 minutes south of Crater Lake National Park, we stayed at a small RV campground to juice up our batteries, wash some clothes, and get some work done. 

The next morning, we headed northwest to Crater Lake National Park and to subsequently lose our freaking minds. A little backstory: at first, we planned to skip Crater Lake completely as it is located more south than we initially wanted to travel on this road trip. Well, the night before we decided, what the heck, we’ll go to Crater Lake and grab a couple photos while passing through to the Umpqua River Gorge. Ha!  What we have certainly learned this past week is that all of those popular, iconic places you see photographs of all the time are that way for a very good reason. What an insane natural formation Crater Lake is and regardless of how many pictures you see of it, it is just not the same as witnessing it in person. Needless to say, we spent many more than a couple hours there. Instead, we made an entire day and evening of it.

I read in a pamphlet that Crater Lake has no rivers running in or out of it. Because of this, the deepest lake in the United States - at 1,949 ft deep - is perfectly clear, reflecting an intensely vibrant, perfect hue of blue light. The entire landscape demands attention. The red and brown volcanic rock cliffs, white sand beaches, turquoise blue shallows, and the iconic Wizard Island form a spectacle like no other. 

The adventure started with us making our way through the valley, passing through expansive farmland up into the woodlands overlooking the gorge until ascending to 5000ft and entering the park. We eventually reached the bluff of the massive 6 mile wide crater. Once our eyes peaked over the cliffs, we became frantic, scurrying to grab our things while finding the closest parking spot. We jumped out of the car, grabbed every ounce of camera gear and sprinted to the edge. We were floored in awe by the beauty of this place.

Kaite and I have never been to the west coast so we have never quite understood the scale of these Pacific Northwest landscapes until now. It’s great to have little to no expectations and to then be dumbfounded by the natural wonders of the world. It is just yet another unfathomable feeling nature can offer.

After running around, scouting compositions, working together to find angles, removing foreground distractions, and taking portraits of each other, we followed the perimeter road around the lake to find a better composition of Wizard Island, the focal point of the entire crater. 

At this new location, we made a new travel buddy and fellow photographer named Gary. We enjoyed conversation while watching the birds and chipmunks gain attention from other travelers with food. In time, we all moved on to the best angle of Crater Lake to take time lapses, photos, and explore every nook in the northeast quadrant. 

That night we disperse camped near Gary just outside the park where we shared stories and photos and talked about life and future travel plans. The next morning we parted our ways, him heading toward Yosemite and us to the Umpqua River Gorge and Toketee Falls!

To stay up to date, follow along on Instagram and Like our Facebook Page! There is more to come! After Toketee Falls we’re on to the Oregon Coast!

Toketee Falls Umpqua River Gorge