I arrived in Salem for my next tournament, the RDAdventure Summer Classic, where I am set to play in all three events; men’s singles, men’s doubles, and mixed doubles. I’ve spent the last couple days down in Medford, OR getting a couple hits in as well as some awesome hiking around Crater Lake, which was as picturesque and beautiful as anything I have ever seen. Shout out and thanks to my buddy Jon for letting us stay with him and his dog Brick.
My travel partner Jocelyn and I headed northeast from Medford on Wednesday morning to go check out Crater Lake, which is said to be the deepest lake in the United States and one of the deepest in the entire world, at almost 2,000 feet deep at its deepest point. The lake sits in a caldera, or large volcanic crater, that was formed by violent volcanic activity 7,700 years ago, when Mount Mazama produced such a powerful eruption that its cone collapsed in on itself and created this large crater in the earth.
Part of Crater Lake’s beauty is how you marvel and wonder how it was actually created, because it looks like no other lake you have ever seen. Steep cliffs cascade up along all sides of the lake, which are covered in snow for most of the year. Two small islands protrude up through the surface of the lake, produced from more volcanic activity after the caldera was formed. The water is a deep, dark blue color, and stands so still that it’s like a mirror, reflecting the snow-covered peaks that hug its shore. The dark blue color reflects the deep blue sky that defines a beautiful summer day in the Northwest, where the air is so crisp and clean and you can see endlessly in all directions. The immense pine and fur trees that survive in this harsh climate make the air fresh and crisp when you breathe it in.
I love the summers up here in the Northwest. Nothing is more beautiful than a clear summer day up here. The air is so fresh and clean from all the trees and constant rain that purifies it. When the weather is nice the sky is filled with a rich blue color, and the dark green of all the trees that surround you provide a wonderful contrast against the blue sky. The people are so nice, warm, and welcoming, and you can feel their excitement when they get these rare clear, sunny days. Their enthusiasm for exploring the nature around them seems to radiate from one another, and you fill with this positive energy just being in their presence.
Once at Crater Lake we decided to take a hike to take in all the beauty around us. The hike (if you can even call it a hike) that Jocelyn and I did to get up to the historic fire lookout on Mount Scott that overlooks Crater Lake was a story I’ll remember for a long, long time. As we entered the park, I asked the ranger about this hike we were planning on doing, a three hour ascent of Mount Scott that would take us to the highest point in the park, almost 9,000 feet above sea level. She informed us that though the trail was closed and covered in snow, people were still using it and assured us that we would have no problem exploring it and reaching the top. So we continued on our way, reached the trail head, and prepared everything we would need for the hike while getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, the evidence of which I still have today as I keep itching both my arms every five seconds as I write this. We escaped the attack from the mosquitoes and set out towards the trail head, which pointed us in the direction of numerous mounds of snow that rest at the foot of the climb up the mountain. As we looked around, we couldn’t locate the trail that is supposed to lead us up to the top, so we just start walking towards the foot of the hill, hoping to find some evidence that points us in the direction of the trail. We walk closer and closer to the foot of the mountain, growing increasingly concerned that we are walking farther and farther away from any sign of the trail. And at this point, perhaps led by the lack of oxygen reaching our brains or perhaps our utter stupidity, we decide to ascend straight up the mountainside, with no need for a trail to point us in the right direction.
We start up the 1,500-foot face and the ascent began slowly. The ground consists only of loose rocks, some of which were small pebbles and some the size of basketballs, which would sometimes slide out from underneath our feet and tumble down the side of the mountain beneath us. It felt at times like we were on a treadmill as we tried to climb, as the ground would slide out from beneath us and stunt our progress. Eventually the mountainside became so steep that our hands were required for balance and stability, and we were on all fours climbing up the loose rocks and ice. It was so exhausting we had to stop every couple of minutes to rest, as our hands got sore and scratched and the muscles in our calves and quads burned. After two and a half hours grueling hours, we finally reached the top, and right as we did we laid eyes on the end of the trail that we were supposed to take to the top. But we just laughed at ourselves, sat at the top for a good 45 minutes or so, munching on trail mix, taking pictures, and taking in the incredible view from 9,000 feet, overlooking the incredible Crater Lake and what seemed like all of southern Oregon, as the Cascade mountain range loomed in all directions around us.
Following our Crater Lake adventure and two day stay in Medford we headed up north to Salem. The tournament director found housing with a member from the club for a couple friends and I in town. Special thanks to Mark and his family for being so hospitable and allowing us to stay in their beautiful home. Matches run throughout the weekend. Stay tuned for updates from the Northwest!