Oregon Adventures: Crater Lake National Park

Next on our Oregon adventure, we drove four hours south of Portland to Crater Lake National Park. The drive in was breathtaking in itself! Crater Lake National Park is home to America’s deepest lake, a lake so blue it almost doesn’t look real. Surrounding the lake is an old-growth forest and cliffs with sheer drop offs. There are many options to get the most of your trip to Crater Lake including, a road that goes around the entirety of the lake (depending on the time of year), hiking trails, boat tours and trolley tours. We chose to drive around the lake, which took approximately two and a half hours. During the drive there are many lookouts to view the lake at different perspectives. The day we went it was extremely windy, with winds from the north. That made the temperature, with wind chill, a lovely 36 degrees with occasional freezing rain and snow flurries. Even with the cold weather the views were incredible and definitely worth the occasional numb fingers. Tip: Bring gloves.

So what should you see?  If you have half a day to a day, I would recommend driving around the lake. If you plan to stay longer than a day, hike down the Cleetwood Trail. It’s the only trail that safely goes down to the lake surface. There you can take a boat tour to Wizard Island. No matter what you do, you’ll be enchanted by the beauty of this place.
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Oregon Adventures: Portland

The first week of October my friend Sarah and I took a rather spontaneous trip to Portland, Oregon. I’ve always wanted to visit the Pacific Northwest. It’s dreary and cool. It has a lot of trees, mountains and coffee shops. So I was excited to finally be taking my first trip out there. We spent a day and a half roaming around downtown Portland and the outer parts of the city. I’m normally not a big “city” person, I usually get extremely overwhelmed with the constant commotion, but I actually enjoyed Portland and its chaos. Plus, the traffic wasn’t too terrible and that usually is what stresses me out. As always, links to everywhere we went will be in the post. So without further ado, here is all we did in Portland. diptych10The flight in we had some awesome views. On the right is Mt. Hood from the air.diptych9 Our first stop was at Powell’s Books. A four-story, block wide book store. (!!!) This was the number one thing I wanted to see in Portland. Powell’s can be overwhelming because of its size, but luckily they have maps of the store so you can easily find the section you need. I finally found the book that I’ve spent more than a month looking for. They even have a coffee shop in the store where you can sip on some coffee and read your newly purchased book.diptych12

Of course I had to find the Harry Potter section. In the kids section they have “A Kid Pick”, which are book recommendations for kids by kids. I like this Imogen girl. She has good taste!diptych8 In Portland there is a coffee shop practically on every corner. My friend Heather recommended Stumptown Coffee Roasters as a definite must visit coffee shop. Plus my friend Sarah was overly excited that their logo has a bison in it.IMG_7757We then headed off to Mount Tabor City Park because we read online that it has a great view of the Portland skyline. It did not disappoint! IMG_7808 On the other side of the park we had a great view of Mt. Hood.diptychThe next day, we ventured again to downtown. It was overcast and cool. There is something so fascinating about architecture photography. I haven’t dabbled much into it, but I love when I get the chance to take city photos.
diptych2 IMG_7959 diptych11 diptych7 We then stopped at Public Domain on a whim. Their coffee was great and they have tons of windows to look out of to see the city.IMG_7955 One of the many bridges in Portland.diptych6Afterward, we ventured 45 mins east of Portland in hopes of finding a closer spot to see Mt Hood. It didn’t happen because of all the fog, but we did get to drive through Mt. Hood National Forest. It was breathtaking!diptych5 diptych3 diptych4 IMG_8109 On our second to last day in Oregon, we went and got doughnuts at Pip’s Original Doughnuts & Chai. They serve speciality chai drinks and make their doughnuts right in front of you. So you have a fresh, perfectly fried mini doughnut to enjoy.IMG_8114

That’s all for this post. Be on the lookout for part two of our Oregon trip soon. If you’ve been to Portland, leave in the comments what your favorite spot(s) was.

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Please do not crop, edit, or alter the image in any way. All images and their copyright are property of Samantha Kurtz Photography, LLC. All rights reserved.