This post is dedicated to the men and women who worked at Crater Lake National Park in the 1980’s.
Big events define a generation, but small events define a person.
A college student needs a summer job. She’s afraid to go to an interview alone. She asks a friend to go with her. Her friend lands the job—she quits school, moves back home, gets a job at a bank.
But what happened to her friend?
Her friend travels 500 miles to a National Park in Oregon State and is forever change by the experience.
* * *
June 1984. At 7,100 feet, forty feet of snow cover Rim Village in Crater Lake National Park. Snow walls tower over the recently excavated roads, snow tunnels leading to building entrances. A few puddles dot the road and parking lot. White fluffy clouds speckle the blue sky. The air is crisp. The pall of deep winter pervades.
A white sedan pulls up to the Cafeteria and Gift Shop. The trunk pops open. A young woman climbs out of the back seat of the car, removes a Samsonite suit case and closes the trunk.
The older woman in the front passenger seat rolls down the window. “We’re worried about black ice, and the sun will set soon. You’ll do fine.”
The sedan peels out of the parking lot before she could say goodbye.
The young women walks into the cafeteria. The clock on the wall says 4:15 p.m.. Beneath the clock sitting at a table, a petite, middle-aged woman wearing a dark blue smock writes on a clipboard. The middle-aged woman looks up and waves the young woman over to her table.
“Welcome to Crater Lake. My name is Teresa, but you can call me Mom.”
Great adventures have small beginnings.
* * *
In a magical place, in a magical time—when Prince and the B-52’s provided the sound track—I worked with a group of people who worked their magic on me—each person a link in the story.
Star gazing around a fire pit, pretending to touch the Milky Way. Ghost stories told on the forbidden fourth floor. Steel cables holding the lodge together, the lodge groaning and popping with age. Singing made-up songs on the CB and nearly getting fired for it. Playing the card game spoons in the Great Hall after the lodge closed for the season. Treasure hunters and spiritual seekers. Forest fires, building fires. Love found and lives lost.
Through mistakes, successes, laughter, tears, elevation and camaraderie, we formed bonds which time cannot wear away. Enough adventures to fill a Nevada Barr novel but too numerous to mention in a single post.
When we meet, the years of separation evaporate with a single hug.
Great adventures have small beginnings, but they are our very definition.
* * *
All photos courtesy of Daniel Perkins.