The Road North (Day 2)

“Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” – Paul Theroux

Paulina Lake Girls


Day 2 of our Journey north found us waking up early around 7:30am and deciding on where to go for the day.  It was one of those days where you think you know what you will be doing for the day, but the only real thing we knew was our final resting point in Bend Oregon.  Time on these sorts of days really tends to not matter much so it really seems to slow down.  With that in mind after getting some breakfast in us we started back north again and decided to stop by Crater Lake National Park.

Pumice Desert

Upon arrival at Crater Lake the North entrance as the ranger told us to drive slowly and look out for slush which should have been a good warning of what was to come.  Now just to preface the temperature was in the 60’s and a few clouds about an hour away from Collier State Park and it is memorial day weekend.  Driving in we drove through the Pumice desert first which was quite the site being at 9000 feet and seeing a desert looking landscape.  I read later that this was formed by volcanic ash thousands of y   ears before.  This caused the  soil to be of poor quality as well as it couldn’t absorb water efficiently.  We got out of the car here for some pictures and it was completely silent like you would expect to hear in a desert except all of a sudden we started to hear this almost drizzle like a sound in the distance.  About five minutes later we started to feel hail on us.  This was a new experience for me as I never have seen hail this size before and it almost hurt on the skin.  As we continued onward the snow got worse to the point where it felt like we were in a blizzard.  We were driving by walls of 10 feet high snow on the banks leading in and we were in that state of disbelief as to what we were seeing.  Literally this morning a few hours before and close by we were in the sun and wearing t shirts.

Crater Dog Tramping

Suddenly I was transported back to Kalamazoo or Tahoe and our car started to feel almost unsafe to drive.  We ventured on to catch a glimpse of this amazing lake.  Upon finally reaching the lake we realized we wouldn’t be able to even see it as the snow and fog were blocking it from view.  We were kind of disappointed, but overall as I have said millions of time the its not about the destination, but the journey that takes place.  We did get out and take some pics in the snow and just bask in the moment as this was truly a very unique memorial day weekend surprise.  After not believing what had just happened I read the brochure given to us at the ranger station and realized that Crater lake is one of the top snow fall destinations in the world averaging just over 1.5 inches of snow per day.

Paulina Lake serenity

Upon leaving Crater lake we decided to head Further north to Bend and stretch our feet some in a recommended hike up at Paulina Lake.  When we arrived the weather was rain and somewhat foggy.  The lake was an incredible site though as it was so clear and the ranger was very welcoming in recommending a specific hike.  First we had to just get closer to the lake and take in this amazing site as coming from Michigan I have seen thousands of lake’s, but nothing quite as clear as this one.  The hike we decided to venture on was the “little Crater trail head”.  This was a fairly easy trail and was completely void of people through most of the hike which is a nice surprise coming from the Bay area traffic.  Our dog immediately took to it as it had a lot of trees for her to weave between.  I was first struck by how green everything was as it was almost blindingly green because of all the rain it gets.  All the trees had this florescent green moss that just was magnificent on the eyes.  The trail was very diverse as we got up a little higher we started to get amazing views of both lakes around us and the Paulina peak to the south.  Luckily as well the rain held off and we even got a little sun.  It was as if the rain gods were looking down on us and granted us some amazing views after our last excursion to Crater Lake.  This was one of those places that will go down as a hidden gem that we wouldn’t have ever found if it wasn’t for a recommendation from an ex-local.  These rare gems are really what makes travel and exploring all worth it.

Green Explosion

Next up was our anticipated destination of Bend.  We checked into our motel and dropped Madster off which was kind of weird as it had been the first time in 3 days we weren’t with her.  On these sorts of trips we really bond with her and build a deeper connection as best friends.  At first glance the city of Bend reminded me of Kalamazoo with a little bit better of surrounding scenery.  The city did seem really clean as well which was a surprise.  With all the beer around I figured it would be more of a hippy town and usually those are a little more dirty or laid back.  Either way walking over to the Amphitheater to see Sigur Ros we were pleasantly surprised by how small it was and we pretty much lied down right up front and melted into the ground after a long day of hiking.  We were also surprised by the weather as rain was holding off as the weather reports mentioned rain all week during this show.  After  a good opener for Sigur Ros the band came out and pretty much blew both our minds.  We have been listening and wanting to see these guys for at least 8+ years and too finally be able to see them together was really something special.  We talked beforehand about how this is one of those bands you can pinpoint where you were in your life when you first heard Tak for instance or watched Heima for the first time.  They put you into a world that is beautiful and dark and take you on a roller coaster of emotions the whole show.  After such a long day we skirted through downtown on our way back to our hotel to see what the nightlife was like, but were too tired to partake in any activities.  We were happy to get back to our motel and sleep in a bed with our favorite girl….Maddy.

The end to another wonderful day with my girls.  Looking back now it sometimes seems dreamlike as you set off on these explorations not knowing where you will go or end up each night and you really just appreciate all that we have been given as humans and all that we have created.  With so much negativity in the world this really cleanses the soul and opens your eyes to how amazing a place we have here.

Paulina Lake


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