Oregon is without a doubt my most favorite state out of the many across the U.S that I have visited. It has a breathtaking array of landscapes and a rich variety of culture that I could explore time and time again. Visiting here is always a pleasure.

Usually I end up spending a lot of time hanging out in Portland while I’m here but on this occasion Missy decided to take some time off work while I was in town so that we could get out and travel a little. She had planned for us to visit Crater Lake and the Redwood national park in southern Oregon in a trip that would take in an overnight stay in Bend and then two nights in a tree house, something I was very excited about.

On the way to the tree houses we stopped overnight at a small town called Bend where we stayed in the Old St Francis School, a McMenamins hotel. The McMenamins group of pubs and hotels are usually based around restored historic buildings that each provide a unique experience based upon their history. Given the stress of my lost and found luggage situation I was happy to take advantage of the turkish bath at the Old St Francis School. Though I’m quite sure this wasn’t a feature when the place was a school, it was super relaxing to kick back and chill out in the 104 degree water under an open roof looking up at the sky above.

The next day we headed out early and went to the staggeringly beautiful Crater Lake. The journey took us through the dense Umpqua National Forest and the Pumice Desert where the smell of nearby pine forest mixed with the smell of burning wood from forest fires that couldn’t have been that far away. From there it was only a very short drive uphill to the edge of Crater Lake.

We couldn’t see the lake as we drove to the parking lot at ‘Merriam Point’ a famous viewing point, but I’d seen pictures in books so I knew that the view I was about to see would be stunning on this clear hot September day. As we walked to the viewpoint I wasn’t disappointed, looking across to Wizard Island the staggeringly deep blue lake stretched out before us stopping me in my tracks. It was awesome!

Crater Lake is some five miles wide and surrounded on all sides by cliffs up to 2,000 feet high. At its deepest point it’s 1,943 feet deep making it the deepest lake in the United States and among the deepest lakes in the world. With no streams running in or out of the the lake it is considered a closed ecological system. The crystal clear water comes from natural springs, rain and snow meaning the lake has remained unusually pure throughout time.

Old Saint Francis School
Umpqua national forest
Pumice Desert
Crater Lake national park
Crater Lake lodges
A bigger picture of Crater Lake