40. Prospect and Crater Lake, Oregon

We were told it didn’t make any sense to try to jam Crater Lake into a four-day trip to Oregon. And perhaps it didn’t. But damn, am I glad we did.

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Overview:
Crater Lake might be the most gorgeous place I’ve ever seen–and if it isn’t, it’s definitely top 5. And to be honest, the drive there and Airbnb stay were probably worth it on their own.

How I got there:
We drove from Portland, leaving on a Friday afternoon in tons of traffic (not the best idea). We’d originally wanted to day-trip it on Saturday, but everyone–including my sister Betsy, who had done the trip the week prior–discouraged us from doing that. Instead, we got an early start Saturday, spent the bulk of the day there, and drove back mid-afternoon to arrive in Portland in time for dinner.

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Where I stayed:
The. Best. Airbnb. Ever. It was as awesome as our Portland experience was awful. At Betsy’s recommendation, we quickly booked a room with Mike and Lisa, “superhosts” on Airbnb who more than lived up to their billing. Their lodge, pretty secluded in Prospect, Oregon, was gorgeous and had tons of space outside for stargazing and making s’mores (which they joined us for after offering to build us a fire). Since joining Airbnb, they’ve done so much to turn their space into a beautiful, welcoming guest home with lots of nice touches–including a bottle of local wine waiting in every guest room. My kind of place.

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What I did:
After a great night of chilling with our hosts on Friday, we set out on the half-hour drive to Crater Lake the next morning. How it went: gape at the amazing scenery, hike, gape some more, take pictures, wrestle all day with why the hell we don’t live in Oregon.

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For hikes, we started with the Watchman Peak trail, which was pretty quick and easy and offered killer panoramas.

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Closer up:

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We started up the Mount Scott, trail, too, despite knowing we didn’t have enough time to finish; we got about 2/3 of the way to the end and turned back just as the switchbacks were about to start (it was a time thing, not a lazy thing…honest!).

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That’s the rim of the lake in the photo above. Wait for it…

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Where I ate:
Mike and Lisa also own a gas station in town, and we stopped there to pick up picnic food before driving to Crater Lake. We didn’t really see anywhere else we could have eaten, so we were thankful we did.

What I missed:
Aside from the end of the Mount Scott hike, I would have liked to do the Cleetwood Cove hike, which takes you down to the surface of the water. There’s also a boat cruise you can take across the lake that stops at Wizard Island.


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