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#46 Crater Lake National Park, OR

I was joined at Crater Lake National Park by Betty and Don Neff. Don is my cousin and they were very kind to host me in their home for two nights.

So who took the picture? You are not going to believe this!

These guys showed up in a zebra striped car! You can't make this stuff up! Aren't they awesome? They were great sports!

Crater Lake is well...a crater made by a volcano. This used to be home to Mount Mazama and if you had been in the area 7,700 years ago you would have witnessed the destruction of Mount Mazama and the creation of Crater Lake by volcanic eruption.

Wizard Island

Plants cling to the impossibly steep cliffs

Crater Lake is nearly 2,000 feet deep! It is the deepest lake in the USA and the 9th deepest in the world. Many geologists consider it the purest lake in the world.

I was really looking forward to seeing the incredible blue color that everyone talks about, but as you can tell by my pictures, it was a dreary day, and that turned into a stormy day.

My time was cut short at Crater Lake by a nasty electrical storm that blew through.

Storm building in the west & it got much worse very quickly

Funny story related to that. My cousin and his wife stayed at the lodge in Rim Village while I went for a run along the rim of the caldera. I asked him if he thought I would need my raincoat and he said, "Nah, it's not going to rain". So I took off in a very light T-shirt and running capris. It kept getting darker and colder the further north I ran and then the lightning and rain started. The rim of the crater is the highest point, which means if you are on the rim you are totally exposed to the lightning, so, I made the prudent decision to get down to the road and stick my thumb out.

The kindness of strangers is a beautiful thing! A nice man and his family stopped to ask why I was hitchhiking in an electrical storm. Well that is a really good question, isn't it? Give me a ride and I'll tell you the answer! There was no room inside the truck so I settled into the open back, which is all metal and prayed I wouldn't be a target for the lightning. By the time we got to the Rim Village Visitor Center I was almost hypothermic; but alive and extremely grateful for their compassion. As Anna would sarcastically say, "Good times, good times..."

Two cups of coffee (and a warm coat) later, I was ready to think about making the trip to Mt. Rainier National Park. Please don't let there be lightning!

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