Rise and grind! That was pretty much what I did this entire trip. Waking before the sun even rises. I had a nice little 4 hour drive between myself and crater lake! I wanted to make sure I have plenty of time to walk a few trails around the lake and drive the entire ring road around the crater before continuing on towards Bend. Scratch everything I just typed. If only it happened that way. While my drive through the mountains along the river was PERFECTION and the sunrise was insanely gorgeous as the fog hugged tight to the tree line.
As I was nearing the last turn for crater lake…… it suddenly went from being the perfect fall color to snow. And now just a little bit of snow. I mean so much snow it was almost as high as my rental car! The higher I went the more snow there was. At the high peak over the crater it was a complete white out on the horizon. Everything had a fresh blanket of snow. My plan of driving the west end road was completely scratched because the road was closed. The trails were all non-existent since there was quite a few feet of snow on the ground. There was a slight walking path in some snow that was packed in. I fell in the snow about 3 times and on the 2nd time the zipper on my boot broke and I was pretty much bumming my boots the rest of the trip.
I hung out around the crater and its lodge for about an hour or so and then continued on my journey towards bend and the painted hills. With my original route being closed, I had to reroute to bend and that took me further south……in the middle of no where….. with no service….. and almost no gas. I was hoping to at least pass a gas station as I went through towns but these towns had no “town” appeal to them… it was nothing but ranches! I pulled into the first gas station I found and had less than 5 miles to empty. Cutting it close was an understatement. Thankfully it was all peachy after that and I continued my 2 hour drive to Bend. It was a day that consisted of mostly driving, clearly. I passed through Bend first and headed towards the Painted hills. I arrived only about 30 minutes before dark so I wasn’t able to fully take in the trails there but I head to the overlook and took in some incredible views of the hills and surrounding valley. I love the barren side of Oregon.
My trusty little care rental… It was a Canadian car so everything was in KMH instead of MPH. It was pretty interesting when I thought I was going 120 mph but really only going 120 kmh which is like 65 mph haha.