After finally making our way out of California we drove up the Pacific Coast Highway and up into Oregon we needed gas… One of the first things we learned about the state is that it’s illegal to pump your own gas! I wasn’t complaining at all. We did some grocery shopping then found our campground near Cape Perpetua. Driving up the PCH in Oregon was everything that we had expected out of California. There were several signs along the road pointing out trails, water access, campgrounds and best of all… there were no rock slides that we encountered!
We camped for free 15 minutes south of Cape Perpetua, and the site had a vault toilet. We woke up the next morning and it was pouring out, since we were so close to our destination we were able to wait for the rain to stop to pack our things up. After it cleared up, it turned out to be a great day! We drove up to a view point that showed off the rocky shore then headed down to the tide pools. The pools were full of mussels, sea urchins, sea stars, sponges and more mussels… did I mention mussels? Because it’s a national seashore everything is protected so the creatures are really able to thrive. A short walk down to the shore and you’re able to view Thor’s Well. It’s best viewed closer to high tide but we decided to check it out so we could see the difference later on before we left. You do NOT want to get hit by a wave in this area. It’s incredibly dangerous and Thor’s Well could suck you down in a second… needless to say, we kept a safe distance.
After checking out the shoreline we headed up to the Big Spruce Trail to see Oregon’s second largest Sitka. Even though we just saw the world’s largest tree at Sequoia the tree is truly impressive. It’s roots come out of the bottom of the trunk above ground level, so you can crawl underneath it like it’s a tunnel. After the hike we made some lunch then headed back down to Thor’s Well to see if the tide had come in more. It definitely had, and we didn’t get nearly as close as we had been before, but seeing the waves crash on the rock was really awesome to watch.
Our next stop was Bend, we camped pretty far away from the city but our site was amazing. We had a picnic table, we were the only ones there, it was free and it had a vault toilet! I really like when campsites have toilets, if you couldn’t tell. Where we camped was super green and mossy, but our drive over to Bend was way up in the mountains so everything was covered with snow. Back down the mountain we went, the snow cleared up and we were in the city. We drove up Pilot Butte when we first got there because the weather was clear and the butte offers a 360 degree view of the surrounding area. In the Pacific Northwest it rains at pretty much any given moment, and I mean RAINS, so it was the perfect opportunity to check out the surrounding mountains.
Afterwards, we ended up hiking a poorly marked trail along a creek, it was supposed to lead to a waterfall but I guess we went the wrong way. Regardless of our mistake the park was pretty cool, it had a bunch of fishing and a swimming area. Next we made our way over to 10 Barrel Brewing to try some beer before heading to our next campsite south of Crater Lake National Park. We chose to drive a bit longer to a KOA Campground so we could get a shower in and camp where it was at least a bit warmer. Crater Lake had 130 inches of snow on the ground.
The drive into Crater Lake at the end of April was pretty jaw dropping. And I don’t mean in the sense that there was a view or anything. I mean in the sense that there was 10 feet of snow on both sides of the road, it was truly impressive that they plowed their roads well enough to be open! Because there was so much snow there wasn’t too much to do, but it was Earth Day so we rented some snowshoes and did a few mile hike to a viewpoint of the lake. Neither of us really like the cold weather or the snow but we managed to work up a sweat while snowshoeing and got to admire the lake from a viewpoint that you definitely couldn’t get to easily without the snowshoes.
We were so happy we got such a nice day at Crater Lake, but since there wasn’t much to do we decided to head out after our hike. We returned our snowshoes then headed up to Portland where we had a place to stay. On the way we hit a pothole and got our first flat tire on the trip. Unfortunate for us, it was a Sunday and we had no service. There was no chance of us getting any help with our tire so we had to empty our trunk on the highway and change our tire; but we got through it! Because of the tire we got in a bit late to Portland so we didn’t have a chance to explore until the next morning.