(If you’re checking out the story for the first time scroll down the page to read from Part I up)
Calm, deep, blue, Crater Lake gazed skyward like a blue-eyed Shaman, Wizard Island in the middle of the lake as its dilated pupil. My own eyes looked in from the rim above silencing and humbling my mind, I truly was making eye contact with a larger than life spiritual being.
High altitude, strong winds, and a dry climate create natural bonsai forests of pine trees warped, stunted and curved, wreathing the rim. Like me, they grip the rocks with their fingers of roots as they peer over the edge and look into the lake. I tied the gold ribbon that started in Ashland with me that morning, around the branch of one of the trees. Using three knots to symbolize three generations, “Big Daddy” my Grandpa, Harold, Big “Daddy in Training” my Dad, Buzz, “Big Butch”, me, and “Little Butch”, my Brother Adam.
Riding around the rim, seeing the jagged rocks and dramatic scenery I could feel the intensity lingering from the eruption that created the crater. I would have liked somehow to shrink “Jitterbug Perfume” to fit in my jersey pocket. For now, Alobar and the others played about in my imagination. Had Alobar seen the crater he would understand that not even geology is immune to aging and mortality.
The last thirty miles from the South Rim to Union Creek Resort were mostly downhill, making all the climbing earlier in the day even more worthwhile as I made my way through golden sunset zebra shadows camouflaging the smooth, gently curving road.
That evening, Matt and I reflected how in the entire span of the day there was really only twenty minutes where our paths had the opportunity to cross, and they did. Considering the spontaneous nature of our respective adventures the timing of it all could not have been better had we tried.
The walls of the small general store attached to the Union Creek Resort are lined with camping essentials: canned goods, jerky, beer, an entire shelf with bags of marshmallows stacked three deep, field dressing bags (think a shower cap to protect your freshly killed deer carcass from bugs as it hangs from a tree limb).