(a report on me and my sister’s roadtrip…)
DAY 2 – Lava Beds and Crater Lake
It sure is easy to get up early when you’re camping and FREEZING COLD. When we left the day before, I asked Erin what she thought about the weather on this trip. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. She assured me that places like “Lassen Volcanic National Park” and “Lava Beds” sounded hot, so they must be hot. Well, it turns out that it was well below 40 degrees that night as we camped at the Lava Beds. Good advice, Erin.
Needless to say, we woke up early and went spelunking through the caves of the Lava Beds! What an adventure. We had the chance to go through an easy, medium, and difficult cave (though we didn’t make it too far in the difficult one).
Naturally, we didn’t have much time to spend at the Lava Beds, seeing as how we needed to cover some massive ground over the next week. So, we hopped in the car after buying our emergency 2 gallons of gas and drove straight to a gas station for a real fill-up. After singing On the Road Again – as was tradition – we continued our other morning routines. Mornings generally consisted of choosing classical music that we thought was befitting of our surroundings and our destination, and doing a dramatic reading of information from our travel books along to the music. By the time we would reach our destination, we not only knew the history of the place, the most popular hiking trails, and the best way to view the park in only one hour, we had also really set the mood with the music we had chosen.
There is no better way to describe just this mood-setting than our experience driving to Crater Lake the afternoon of Day 2. As we left the Lava Beds, we listened to Aaron Copland – it only seemed appropriate. But as we began climbing the mountains to the overlook of Crater Lake, it was clear that a different song was needed. It suddenly struck me that one of my favorite orchestral pieces was just suited for what I anticipated to be one of the most beautiful outlooks of my life. So, we put on “Nimrod” from the “Enigma Variations” by Elgar. If you’ve never heard this piece (or in particular, this movement of the piece), put it on your list of things to do before you die. Or better yet, things to do before next week. The only problem was, this particular movement is only about 4 minutes long at best. So as the piece came to an end and curvy roads continued to unfold before us, Erin shouted, “Repeat!!” and I pressed the back arrow to give the piece another try. Our timing was, how should I say it… AWFUL. We listened to “Nimrod” – no joke – 9 times before hitting the nail on the head. The 10th time, we knew it would be just right, the strings reaching maximum intensity as the view of the lake finally stretched before us. Erin and I both stared at the bright blue water in silence as the climax of the piece died to it’s final dramatic decrescendo. Slightly embarrassed, I turned to Erin with tears running down my face, only to find that she, too, was overcome with such an intense feeling of joy and beauty that all there was to do was to cry… and subsequently, to laugh! Man oh man did we laugh.
Crater Lake was probably my favorite stop on our trip. Looking back, I can’t say if it was the view or the music or the combo of the two, but either way, as I said to Erin during our picnic lunch, “I wouldn’t mind being proposed to here.”
As if the Lava Beds and Crater Lake wasn’t enough, we eventually left Crater Lake and headed to Bend, Oregon – a cute hippy town in Oregon. We were told by a friend of a friend that there was a “non-campsite” that was popular with the townies where we could stay.
So we followed her detailed directions (turn onto the dirt trail…when it looks like there’s a clearing, turn right…) and found ourselves alone in the middle of a large forest/bike path. It would’ve been okay except we kept making jokes about how if serial killers were anywhere, they would be there. We did a pretty good job of scaring ourselves. So we set up camp and headed into town for martinis and dinner at a brewery. That was seriously some good sister time. And we survived the night, serial killers and all.