After a 4 hour drive south from Portland through varying forests, my husband Nate, our good buddy Phil and I arrived at the park. Setting up camp was surprisingly painless and the park relatively empty despite only being open to campers several months out of the year. We got a sweet spot with crazy views, few neighbors and the soothing sounds of waterfalls far below. Oh and let's not forget the enormous mule deer that sauntered through 'our' camp.
I'm definitely not regretting the new painstaking camp check-list Nate and I have adhered to which has made packing and unpacking a cinch ( having a buddy along helps to fill in the gaps though). Basically, everything is kept together and grouped into big bins for easy loading in and out. A special mention goes to Phil's pre-marinated foil packets of easy eats goodness. This last one though so simple (kind of a duh moment for me) is seriously a camping revelation. No more mucking around with seasonings, chopping in the dark, the inevitable mouth of dirt or sand, bugs and best of all it's lightening fast. Seriously, if you can, prepare the dinner meals ahead of time in the comfort of your own kitchen where you're less likely to forget anything important and you have all of the tools at the ready. Believe me, nobody wants to spend time or money buying forgotten salt. You won't regret it and you'll have way more time to whittle your marshmallow roasting sticks.
Tents up, inaugural beers chugged, sandwiches thrown down gullets and we were off to hike. The primary fun out at Crater Lake involves incredible views, wildlife, waterfalls, wildflowers and my personal favorite swimming.