Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day Hike...

"At the first view a dead silence fell upon our party. A choking sensation arose in our throats, and tears flowed over our cheeks. I do not pretend to analyze the emotion, but... to me it was a revelation." ~Frances Fuller Victor, author, describing her 1873 visit to Crater Lake

Yesterday afternoon. Crater Lake with Mount Thielsen in the background. This is a view along the moderately difficult, short hiking trail up to Garfield Peak in beautiful Crater Lake National Park. It's a lovely hike, and one of two we took in the park yesterday.

Crater Lake is 1,943 feet deep-- the seventh deepest lake in the world (second in the western hemisphere)-- and you can't see it in this late afternoon haze, but the color of the lake is as blue as one can imagine. I'm struck by it every time I see it. Crater Lake National Park is the third snowiest place in the United States, averaging 44 feet of snow a year. We've driven up in wintertime for snowshoe hikes, and it's lovely then, too.

The Garfield Peak hike was the final Labor Day weekend activity with my sister's wonderful family before we left the park and drove back to our separate homes. Some of us weren't feeling well through the weekend, but, thankfully, we weren't bedridden and could still enjoy the outdoors, which is how we love to spend our time. We hiked the lovely, mostly forsaken Grouse Gap mountainside trail (part of the Pacific Crest Trail) on Mount Ashland in southern Oregon on Saturday, stopping first at a natural foods market in Ashland to pick up some trail munchies, and stopping in Ashland again after the hike for a cup of coffee to get us home.

Since night skies have been moonless and clear, we sat outside twice for some late-night star gazing. My seven-year-old nephew wants to be an astronaut, so he loved particularly loved this. And, over the weekend, there was some game-playing, lots of visiting and coffee, Sunday morning church, and a good mix of activity and relaxing at home. As always, we had a wonderful time with my sister, her husband, and their four children, and, as always, we hated to see them go.