We were on the road for my birthday, so my present was this beautiful view on a gorgeous sunny day overlooking Crater Lake in Oregon. After a week of paragliding competitions I was feeling a little tired, so we picked a nice but not too strenuous hike up to Garfield Peak overlooking the rim of the lake. If you can call Crater Lake, a lake. After all, it's the deepest lake in the United States, and turns this really amazing deep shade of blue when the sun shines on the water.
Although it was early July, there was still snow at the visitor center on the rim, and lots more on the trail up to the peak. The Garfield Peak trail climbs about 1000 feet in less than a couple of miles, but it never seemed too steep or difficult. I guess that depends on your state of mind, but considering the tough hiking I did in the Wasatch of Utah around Lone Peak a few weeks before, this felt easy. Plus there were great views to distract us...the trail runs along the rim with enticing views of the water's edge below us. Although it's impossible to get down to the water's edge given the steepness of the cliffs everywhere. Just the color of the water was enough to make the hike worth it.
It was amazingly hot even in the morning as we climbed to the top. There was some record breaking heat in the West this week, and rather than shiver while staring at the lake (which is normal) we sweltered in minimal clothing while sledding down the leftover snowdrifts. Supposedly, Crater Lake gets 45 feet of snow every winter. 45 FEET! That's rather insane, and no wonder there were a few roads still closed in July from snowdrifts.
The out-and-back trail up to the Peak is only just over 3 miles, so a couple of nice hours of hiking before the car lured us back for some cold drinks in our cooler and a little AC. Let me just say, that I love the heat...I've missed out on feeling really summer for a few years while living in the UK. Bring on the sunshine and sweltering!