Our first stop was Crater Lake in Southern Oregon. In case you've never heard of it, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the U.S. and the 9th deepest lake in the world. Because the water is so deep (and clean) it's the most jaw-dropping deep blue you could imagine. While we were gaping at the view, Tim and I met a lovely couple who was visiting from New Mexico. They snapped this picture for us.
Tim and I did a hike from the rim of the crater down to the water. It looks like an innocent, 2-mile hike, but the steep drop in elevation makes for a beast of a walk back up. (In case you were worried, I'm wearing SPF 50 in this picture.)
After Crater Lake, we drove up to Bend, which is a growing town in Central Oregon. About 15 miles south of Bend, we found these incredible lava caves. Apparently, tubes of lava from nearby volcanoes carved out tunnels in the rock. Now, you can rent a lantern and hike about a mile deep into the lava caves. Needless to say, it was pretty freakin' cool. I'm also quite proud of myself for overcoming my claustrophobia and not totally freaking out about being 30-minutes deep into a cave full of bats and goodness knows what else.
In the decade since I've visited Bend, several trendy microbreweries have also sprouted up. We visited a few of them, including 10 Barrel and Crux Fermentation Project. Rumor has it they're opening a 10 Barrel taproom in my neighborhood soon. I must admit, I'm not a huge fan of their flagship beer--the Apocalypse IPA--but the food was great and I can never say no to a taster tray.
As you can see, it was a pretty action-packed weekend. Not to sound like too much of a cheeseball, but I feel pretty lucky to live within driving distance of mountains and lakes and rivers and waterfalls and so many other beautiful natural resources. If you've never visited the Pacific Northwest, I highly suggest you book a trip.