Crater Lake in Oregon, where our young sons, in shorts and tees, pelted us with snowballs one sunny August day.
The lake itself taught us that we could see nearly 100 feet into the water if that water is clear enough. Unblemished with the sediment that river-fed lakes carry, only rain and snow feed this 1,934-foot deep puddle in the caldera* of a volcano.
We hiked from the rustic, sturdy parkitechture of Crater Lake Lodge, singing a song our youngest, Cole, made up. We climbed enormous stone steps and steep trails high enough up a mountain to find sticky and heavy snowball-snow that hadn’t melted.
After a few battles, we hiked back towards the lodge, stopping at a scenic overlook high above the lake. An older couple joined us, standing at the same rail.
Unfortunately, as I backed up to take a photo, the older woman’s knees buckled, and she slid under the rail. She was lucky that both her husband and my own grabbed an arm, or she might have fallen 1,000 feet into the caldera.
Was it steep? Yes, look at how trees planted roots horizontally but grew vertically:
Strangely, she insisted on continuing up the mountain.
We said good-bye, but even our 4- and 6-year old wondered if that older man would be able to catch his unsteady wife on his own. We decided to report the incident at the lodge, ordered some hot chocolate, and settled into rocking chairs on the porch.
When a bulked-up rescue ranger asked to speak to Brad, my husband, we expected bad news, but Brad came back laughing. The guy cussed him out for reporting an incident, saying we had caused an unnecessary rescue operation, and who the hell did we think we were.
As the burly guy ranted, our youngest threw up on his shoes.