ECG and I are enjoying the unusual in many forms; geological and social peculiarities seem to be two of the themes of the trip (those and blackberries, but more on blackberries will have to come later) and Oregon is rich in both.
Just before the Oregon border, we passed Grass Lake, a marshy expanse with only one outlet for collected water: a lava tube that carries the water away to a unknown destination. And, a couple hours in to Oregon, we got to Crater Lake, one of the most unusual and beautiful creations on this good earth. Crater Lake developed after a volcano exploded, leaving a huge caldera, and another, smaller volcano erupted inside the caldera, providing lava that sealed all the leaks and breaks in its walls. The leakless caldera eventually filled with rainwater, and the resulting lake is one of the deepest and purest in the world. After ECG got one look at the lake, he was panting to take pictures of it, and practically out of the car before I even pulled into a parking spot. Even I got picture happy. Every time I glanced away from the incredible blueness of the lake and then back towards it, I was surprised anew by its beauty.
But, the geology isn't the only thing that makes Oregon unique. In the late sixties, people migrated to Eugene, Oregon from many parts of the country, looking for a "new way" to live. Unfortunately, that "new way" is no longer new, and is instead over thirty years old, and the people that have been living that "new way" are now soft, gray, and suffering from a chronic case of the munchies. This means, of course, Eugene contains the highest concentration of funkadelic tie-die in the nation.
But, this also means that the organic farming movement is in full, glorious force. ECG and I spent the morning walking around the Saturday Market, checking out the crafts (hemp clothing, handmade marbles, beeswax soap, and the like), and exclaiming over the lovely produce. Berries were everywhere! Heads of elephant garlic outsized my own head. We took pictures of all the produce we wished we could take home and of the flowers I wished I had grown myself.
The evening closed with something that wasn't odd at all, a simple, happy celebration of a marriage. Family and friends converged at a small local vineyard to help Doug and Michiko usher in a happy year of husband- and wife-hood. Even mosquitos didn't dare interrupt this perfect, honest event.