At Long Last, Crater Lake Pictures

Day’s Verse:
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

Part of Lithia Park in Ashland, Oregon.
Lithia Park

First view of Crater Lake.
Crater Lake: First View

Obligatory picture of us, commemorating our trip.
Ian & Katie at Crater Lake

Looking south (I think) across Crater Lake.
Crater Lake facing South

We hiked down the Cleetwood Trail to the lake level.
Crater Lake: Lake Level

Ian even looked happy when we reached the bottom. That changed on the way back up.
Ian at Crater Lake

There were some really staggering panoramas of the landscape around Crater Lake, too.
Panorama on Drive Home

Drive Home

Drive Home 1

On the drive home, we stopped at a scenic overlook where the Rogue River had carved out a canyon in the volcanic rock.
Rogue River Waterfall

Rogue River Canyon

The next day we hiked up and all over the top of Lower Table Rock. Things both big (landscapes) and small (flowers) captivated us.
Ian At Lower Table Rock

California Condor

Lower Table Rock View

Lupine

Lower Table Rock Grassland

Firework Flowers

I took a ton of HDR-ready pictures but haven’t had the time to combine them yet. In the meantime, I hope you enjoyed the pictures from our trip. And don’t complain there weren’t any of Ashland or the plays — no pictures allowed in the theaters, and Ashland was nice but not particularly photographic. The end!

Still Alive!

Day’s Verse:
Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?”
“No one, Master.”
“Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”

John 8:10-11 (context)

Just a quick note to say that we are still alive and kicking, but after we got back from our Ashland trip on Wednesday afternoon, I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to do more than think “I should blog,” before rushing off to do something else. The quick synopsis of our vacation was that we fell in love with Ashland and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival from the first day. That day we saw Hamlet and Henry IV (not VIII as I mistakenly said in an earlier blog). I’d never seen Hamlet as a play before, though I had read the play and seen a number of film adaptations. It was incredibly powerful; from the moment the play started, we sat entranced, and three hours flew by. Ian and I agreed we’d never seen a more masterful production. We spent the remainder of the afternoon exploring Lithia Park (along with all the other visitors to Ashland, apparently) and enjoying an excellent dinner. I had Irish nachos, which is essentially French fries topped with baked potato toppings. Oh man. Yum. We only stayed for the first half of Henry IV Part One, not because it was bad, but because it would take us another 30 minutes to get back to our campsite after the play ended, and we had Things To Do the next day.

Excitingly, as we drove back to camp on I-5, a police officer pulled Ian over. Ian, I might add, is the world’s most conscientious driver and never speeds, so we knew it wasn’t the usual reason. Our confusion quickly turned to dismay and shock when the officer informed us that both our taillights were out, and he’d pulled us over because he could only see us by the license plate illumination. Yikes! I think he could tell our dismay, horror, and surprise were genuine, because he let us go without citing us. We drove the rest of the way with emergency blinkers on and the next morning we found a gas station/repair shop and got two new light bulbs (for free! The attendant didn’t think it was worth charging us, which was nice of him).

The next day, Sunday, we went on a backstage tour, walked around Ashland some more, saw Merchant of Venice preview, and then saw Merchant of Venice. I didn’t really know anything about the story, and I was kind of expecting a comedy, since in the preview they talked about couples getting together at the end — a common ending for Shakespeare’s comedies. But Merchant of Venice was most definitely not a comedy; we came away feeling bad for Shylock and the merchant, both, and not altogether impressed with Portia’s manipulative, sneaky ways. Hamlet we knew what to expect, and sure enough, everybody died at the end. Merchant of Venice nobody died, but we left with much more mixed emotions than most other Shakespeare plays. This play required much more digesting afterward, and we had an interesting conversation about characters’ motives on the drive home.

Monday we drove to Crater Lake, and it turns out most of the drive around lake and all but one of the trails were still snowed in and inaccessible. Even so, we went on up to the lake — Ian’s first visit, and my first visit that I can remember (Mom tells me I was there as a kid, but it didn’t stick). Wow. We spent the entire time having to consciously not keep remarking on how stupendous the lake was. I filled up my camera’s 2-gig memory card for the first time ever, taking RAW HDR-ready pictures. Around noon, we reached the Cleetwood Trail and hiked down to the lake, a mere one mile, but with something like 700 feet of elevation change in that mile. Everybody else visiting Crater Lake that day — and it was many people, and the day was gorgeous — also decided to hike that trail, so it was relatively crowded and dusty. However, the lake remained serene and beautiful, and we enjoyed the views but not the mosquitoes. On the way back we stopped at the lodge for a ranger’s educational talk (“Who Really Discovered Crater Lake?” — I was expecting a discussion of Native American tribes, but he talked about the first 5 or so white guys to see the lake) and then paused at a scenic viewpoint on the Rogue River. By the way, naming a river “Rogue” opens the door to way too many puns in business names.

Tuesday we hiked up Lower Table Rock and got phenomenal views (pictures to follow). The sweeping 360° views were stunning, but I also treasured the incredible beauty of the subalpine flowers. Nearly every plant seemed to be flowering, and apparently we were very fortunate to experience that because the flowering season is quite short. In the afternoon we saw She Loves Me, which was so lovely and sweet and beautifully acted, I couldn’t stop smiling for the entire rest of the day. If I could see one of the plays again, I’d choose that one hands-down.

And the next morning we packed up and drove back home. And then we went to work the next day, which left me feeling all discombobulated. I sure could get used to 2-day workweeks, though.

Happy Thought

Day’s Verse:
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
1 Cor. 13:12

This year I agonized over what to do for Ian’s birthday (which, for the record, was January 25th). Our living situation means that we really don’t want to accumulate more stuff, since we’d immediately just have to try to find somewhere to store it. Actually, as a quick aside, it’s kind of nice to not accumulate possessions as much. I’m really good with that. That said, buying Ian some thing didn’t sit well with me.

Then I went to my AmeriCorps training and met Kit, another intern who has worked for years with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. We talked about it on and off over the course of the 10 training days, and by the end I had decided what to give Ian for his birthday: A week in Ashland seeing plays.

This works because we actually really enjoy attending plays. Ian’s a theatrical guy, as many of you know, and when we lived near Boston, we would take a trip in to the city every 6 months or so to see some play or other. On top of that, Ian’s parents are long-time supporters of Taproot Theater, and seeing Taproot’s Christmas play is a Ferguson family tradition.

Despite all the theatricality in Ian’s personality, though, he’d never been to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. I contacted Kit for some advice on what we should do, and this last weekend Ian and I finalized our plan. It includes 5 plays, one day trip to Crater Lake, and a guaranteed visit to an ice cream place highly recommended by Kit. We’re camping at a nearby KOA campground and planning biking as a primary means of transportation around Ashland.

This is the happy thought that gets me airborne these days.