crater lake

I've known about Crater Lake all my life, but somehow I never managed to go there until just yesterday. I wonder why it wasn't one of those California camping places my parents took us to every summer. We were a Camping Family, not a Hotel Family, much to my dismay as a teenager. I suppose my lifestyle now reflects that - I love being outdoors, but I also "love not camping", to quote the ever fabulous Anne Taintor. Sure, I live in a 29 foot fifth wheel trailer, but I also have a king size Vera Wang memory foam mattress squeezed into the space where a crummy queen size standard issue RV mattress used to be. We had to remove night stands and sacrifice precious overhead storage, but it was oh so worth it.

Anyway, Crater Lake is not too far from where we are now in Ashland, Oregon -  an easy day trip for road warriors like Ranger Rick and me. We drove up through Klamath Falls and made it to the park in time for a late lunch. I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't even know it was a National Park. But we did get the chance to use our Parks Pass once more before it expires in July. Don't you just love fancy cards that let you into great places like you're some kind of celebrity? I do! And I don't even care if I have to pay for them.

Aside from learning of Crater Lake's National Park status, I also learned that the crater itself was formed by a volcano that blew the top off of a once very-tall mountain, leaving a perfect bowl for time and snowmelt to fill with the most elegant sapphire blue soup you could ever hope to see. The contrast between the water and snow, which is still several feet deep up there, had me uttering an astonished, if not eloquent, "Oh!" at every overlook.

My point? Well, the point is, maybe we can't all go on fancy vacations these days, but I'll just bet you there are loads of mini vacations waiting for you in your very own neck of the woods. I'll even bet some of you have lived in the same town your whole lives, and have somehow never gotten around to seeing some of the great stuff visitors come from far, far away to see. It's time to get out there and explore. Make a list of all the day trips from your own front door you'd recommend to a foreign visitor. Then start taking them yourself. Pictures don't tell you much about a place. You have to go there, and smell the air, and feel the breeze, and hear the birds, and feel the crunch of snow or earth beneath your sneakers. You just don't know until you go! 

Share you own fun hometown vacation stories here in the comments. We wanna know where you go!

More photos of my Crater Lake Day can be seen on Facebook.


  1. One of our favorite places, in our own backyard, is the San Diego Zoo. We have zoo passes (they allow us to go whenever we want and it supports the zoo) so we can go on a whim or on a planned excursion with out-of-town friends. Have you ever wanted to go for a walk or wander for a couple of hours? What better place to do it than at the Zoo!


  2. I LOVE going to the zoo! We had zoo passes when we lived in Seattle. I miss my animal friends there. :o)


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