Crater Lake

It was my second visit to Crater Lake, the blue jewel of Oregon.  This round and very deep lake formed inside a massive crater left behind when a large volcano known as Mount Mazama collapsed about 7700 years ago.  The water is completely sealed off inside this gigantic bowl of rock.  There are no inlets or outlets.  Only rain and snow contribute to Crater Lake, which therefore has some of the purest and clearest water in the world.  This water clarity combined with its great depth (the deepest lake in the United States) causes the intense blue color.  The sunlight can travel deep into the clear water, but only short-waved blue light is reflected back.

The upper Rogue River near the Natural Bridge, about 20 miles from Crater Lake.

The upper Rogue River near the Natural Bridge, about 20 miles from Crater Lake.

The Smartphone generation. There is still snow here above 7000 feet in June, but during the current heatwave it was still 72 degrees (21 C) up here!

The Smartphone generation at Crater Lake. There is still snow above 7000 feet in June, but during the brief heatwave it was 72 degrees (22 C) even up here!

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The island is called Wizard Island and is a so-called “cinder cone.” It was formed by smaller-scale volcanic activity after the collapse of Mount Mazama.

A classic view. There is less snow on this south-facing side of Wizard Island.

The classic view. There is less snow on this south-facing side of Wizard Island.

At first you might think you are looking up a mountain at the sky. No. You are looking down a steep slope into the blue lake.

At first you might think you’re looking up a mountain at the sky. Nope. You are looking down a steep slope into the blue lake.

It takes time to process the magnitude of what lies before you here.

It takes time to process the magnitude of what lies before you here. This man stood in awe for some time.

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Midday isn’t the best time to witness the color and reflectivity of the lake, but even at midday it is stunning.

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The water temperature at the surface averages 55 F (12.8 C) throughout the year.

Still clearing the parking area from snow. Most of the Rim Drive around the lake was still closed.

Clearing the parking area from snow. Most of the 33-mile Rim Drive around the lake was still closed because it’s buried under snow.

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My first visit to Crater Lake had been in February, and at that time this little wall had been hidden beneath several feet of frozen old snow. You had to walk on top of the uneven snow surface and make a judgment about how close to the edge you should go. I found that rather terrifying! If you slipped, there would be nothing to stop you. I much prefer this reassuring little wall!

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More valuable than gold! This is some of the best water on Earth. It is a gorgeous spectacle of purity, free of pollutants of any kind. In modern living, we are not accustomed to even encountering such an entity. It merits some contemplation.

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Somewhere in the lake, there is a large tree trunk that has been bobbing around in the water for over 100 years. It is called the Old Man of the Lake.

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Like precious blue stones from an ancient world – you just instinctively understand the sheer beauty before you.

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The view from Watchman Overlook.

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On the way out from Crater Lake and heading for the North Entrance, I got a fabulous view of Mount Thielsen, an extinct volcano, 9184 feet, 2799 m. Next stop: Bend.

 

 

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