Thursday, February 11, 2016

New Destinations: Crater Lake

Finally I'm at Darrell's house, anticipating all that he has planned for my visit. Mind you, I'd be perfectly fine sitting around loved ones' houses, soaking  them up and being a part of their lives for just the little while I'm here, but everyone always plans over-the-top entertainment. I love them for it. And for many other reasons.

But then, with loved ones: does one need a reason to love them? And, while thinking of great loves: I hear my beloved China is suffering its worst winter in thirty years! Buck up, my Chinese friends; it will soon get better. My heart and thoughts are with you even as I revel in the warmth of kith in kin.

As usual, my first stop was my son's house. Darrell had to work the first few days I was in Portland but had taken time off for the rest of my visit. Thus, after a few days to get used to being here, we loaded up the car and took off for snowier realms: Crater Lake. 

Let's back up for an instant.

We all know of the Seven Wonders of the World, right? The Pyramids, The Hanging Gardens, the Colossus of Rhodes and all, right? Well, Oregon has its own Seven Wonders, and Crater Lake tops that list.

It sits in the caldera of a dormant volcano. It is not fed by any other bodies of water. Its content comes solely from rain and snowmelt, making it one of the purest bodies of water in the world. The azure blue you see in the picture is a result of that, not of any Photoshop wizardry. It is the deepest lake in America and the 7th deepest in the world – or the 9th deepest, depending on whether average or maximum depth is measured/counted.  

See what I mean about my loved ones planning over-the-top entertainment for me? I had the privilege of seeing this wonder with my own eyes, but not before we drove through a mountain pass, and banks of snow more than 9 feet (3 meters) high.

I should tell you that little Benjamin came along, and Zeva the dog got her snow on, too. She loves playing in the snow! See her retrieving a snowball?

Driving home from this adventure, we passed through the Columbia River Gorge. In fact, the Columbia outdoor gear that is currently all the rage in China is named after that river, and the company's headquarters are in Portland. The Gorge, as it is known, is another of Oregon's wonders. That state's other wonders are: Mount Hood (a dormant volcano), The Painted Hills, Smith's Rock and the Oregon Coastline.

On a... worrisome note: I found myself terrified to climb the small, snowy slope to get up to the lake. I had broken my leg climbing down a gentle slope last year and found, much to my dismay, that I am now terrified of climbing or descending any slope for fear of breaking another limb. Darrell to the rescue! He pulled me up to the rim of the lake so that I could see for myself this scenic marvel. But then, I had to get back down that slope. A panic attack nearly overwhelmed me until Darrell suggested a foolproof way to get down. As you can see, I made it down the hillock just fine!  

Although sliding was fun, I don't want to have a panic attack every time I partake of my usual adventures because I'm afraid of breaking another bone. That's what is truly worrisome.

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