A road trip to Bend, OR to visit friends is becoming a tradition as my wife and I have done so for the past three years. As we did last year, it included a stop along the way at Crater Lake, one of the more picturesque spots in the country.
You can’t quite tell from the pictures but it was a hazy afternoon at the lake from all the wild fires in the area. Crater Lake itself was formed 8,000 years ago when a volcanic mountain estimated at 14,000 feet above sea level blew up one day, leaving a huge hole behind which eventually filled up with water. Large swaths of the surrounding forest are still barren of any life due to that brief moment where the things went totally out of balance at that spot in the earth’s crust.
All the forest fires ravaging central Oregon that Labor Day weekend made a day outside akin to smoking a couple packs of cigarettes. Two “once in a life-time hurricanes” Harvey and Irma striking the country within a couple weeks have only created the impression that something isn’t quite right with the world. The scientific fact that human activity is changing the atmosphere and with it, our weather and the environment shouldn’t be a political, but unfortunately it is.
Places like Crater Lake can help us try and forget these problems in the world, if only for a couple hours. Unfortunately, as we left Crater Lake from the north rim, a fire raged only a quarter mile from the only road out of the park, bringing the destructive force of nature back into focus.