Our Vie Adventures consists of Cees, Madison, Vladimir the Kitten, and a 1989 Toyota Motorhome named Vie. Cees and Madison are on the road, living the dream of every outdoor-minded couple by visiting each national park in the country over the course of the year. In celebration of our National Parks Centennial, we’ve partnered with Cees and Madison to bring you stories and photos of their yearlong quest (and of course, plenty of #vladimirkitten along the way).

Keep scrolling to see Cees, Madison, and Vladimir’s visit to Crater Lake National Park, OR. Stay tuned to Downstream for updates on their adventures and follow them on Instagram (@ourvieadventures) for more frequent updates from the road.

I like Oregon. They pump your gas for you! The night before we were supposed to be in Crater Lake, I couldn’t sleep. I got up, and just started driving for the park (it is pretty nice when your car is connected to your house sometimes). At about 3:30 am, I pulled into a gas station in only my underwear (I didn’t get dressed before I started driving cause ain’t nobody got time for that), and all I had to do was hand the gas man my card and he took care of it for me! I really think I will move to Oregon someday.

We made good time to the park sign that day. Usually the kitty is really good about posing and looking cute for our sign photos, but he was not having it at the Crater Lake sign (perhaps he had a hard time sleeping the night before as well). Regardless, I had to help him get in the spirit of things.


This was our first look at the lake. Pretty unreal isn’t it? We had to take a moment to catch our breath. It looked fake. How could something be SO blue?! Nature is just that incredible, I guess.


I had a hard time getting over the fact that we were driving along the collapsed rim of a volcano! The caldera formed when the magma left the chamber and it could no longer support itself. And then after 700 years of rain and snow, we have have a 2000 ft deep lake! When I geek out and tell Madison “how stuff is created” I know all she hears is “blah, blah, blah, geology.” But she humors me!


Our first day, we got into the park later in the afternoon. The weather was beautiful. We were mesmerized by the lake and didn’t really do much. Looking back, we wished we would have gotten out and hiked around our first day! Because the weather next two days didn’t really cooperate that well!


The next two days were rainy and cold – and we were already soggy from our time in the Redwoods, so we really weren’t too keen on getting out there. Most of our day consisted of reading our books and watching Lord of the Rings while we made good food!

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Finally, it cleared up enough to brave the wind and cold. We ventured outside for a little lake rim hike at dusk. I’m not going to lie, we were a little worried that the RV was going to get blown into the lake. It really was that bad.


Unfortunately, the rim drive wasn’t open all the way around the lake! They closed the last quarter of it. We drove as far as we could and explored the lookout. Little Madison almost got knocked over by the howling wind.


The light kept changing so fast, I feel like every photo of the lake looks a little different – offering all the different shades of blue.


The weather cleared for about forty minutes for us that evening. We took advantage and hiked part of the rim. We had a good time playing on the rocks!

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Wizard Island is the center of attention. If the volcano decides to awaken some day, it will all start with the Wizard. It is fun to imagine smoke pouring out of the top, isn’t it?

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We were so stoked about this lake that a little heel clicking had to be done.


Even though it was clear, it was still pretty cold out there. Madison kept saying that she needed to “get back to the RV to crank the heat and snuggle the kitty.”

After a few days of nasty weather we were relieved that the skies finally cleared up and our pretty blue lake was shining again.


Because the roads to Mount Scott were closed, we chose to hike Garfield Peak to see the whole lake from above. This perspective was awesome because otherwise it’s hard to see the entire lake, it’s so huge!

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If you pay for a boat tour, they’ll take you out to this island to explore around. We decided it was too steep a cost and stuck to taking pictures from afar. Sometimes you can’t do everything and that’s okay. We REALLY wanted to take our kayaks out onto the lake, but apparently the boat company runs the show, and no personal water crafts are permitted on the lake.

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The flowers were amazing! There were whites, blues, yellows, and reds. I was so pumped to see my favorite wildflowers on the trail: Indian Paint Brush. They always remind my of my grandma, and that makes me happy. Thanks for teaching me to appreciate the flowers, Mary Jo!

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The intense blue made it hard to separate the reflection from the real deal. The sky seemed to be misplaced.

Crater Lake is a beautiful place for sure. The colors make it worth it. But for some reason, Madison and I didn’t feel a super strong connection to the park. And I think that has to do with us not putting forth the effort to get out and experience it, despite the poor weather. We realized that you get out what you put in. Isn’t that true with everything in life?


Luckily for us, our adventures in Oregon didn’t end in the boundaries of the park. We decided that we had to check out the coast on our way to Washington. And we are SO glad that we did!


We spent time on the beach. The kitty is getting better with the waves, but still not a super fan. He preferred to stay near the fire, and far away from the water.

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Finding places to camp like this are the best parts of the trip. We parked here and had this little section of beach all to ourselves.

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Vladimir loved the beach and especially exploring in the grass and hunting for bugs.

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Cheese is my favorite food. As we drove along the 101, we HAD to stop for a tour of the Tillamook Cheese Factory.


Kitty: “What. You didn’t bring me anything?”


Kitty: “Please I’ll be nice I swear! Just a taste!” The kitty really does love ice-cream, it’s hilarious. He knows what is good.


Oregon, is one of our new favorite places! In fact, after leaving the coast, Madison and I were both sad! It was the first place that we really regretted leaving. We wanted to stay, but we have to keep going to make it to Alaska on time. So we decided then and there, that we would come back and build a tiny home close to the beach. That way we can raise our little guys by the water and in the mountains.

Featured Styles: Women’s Natilly Boot, Men’s Jaeger 

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