Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake was given National Park status in 1902 to protect the deepest lake (1943 feet) in the United States.  Crater Lake is fed only by snow and rain, not by any streams or rivers.  Therefore, it is considered to be the world’s cleanest large body of water.  The lake was created when the volcano, Mount Mazama, collapsed making a huge caldera.  Over time, rain and snowmelt filled that 6 mile wide basin.

Today was a clear, bright sunny day--perfect for our tour of the park.  Only the west rim road is open; the east rim is still covered in snow.  It takes a long time for 44 feet of snow to melt.  The scheduled park activities such as ranger talks and the boat rides on the lake don’t even get underway until July.  But we are here to see the lake and that we did.

We drove directly to Rim Village where we had outstanding views of the lake.  It was incredibly blue, as it is, I guess, all the time.  Near the edge there was a film of pollen floating on the surface; otherwise, it was perfect.  We walked back and forth along the paved path to get as many different angles as possible.  Before leaving Rim village, we went inside the historic Crater Lake Lodge.  The lodge, which overlooks the lake, originally opened in 1915 and was renovated in the 1990s.

Still searching out that best view, we drove around the west side of the lake along the rim drive, stopping at every overlook.  I don’t know if we ever got the perfect view, but every one was spectacular.  We were able to get a short distance along the East Rim Road, but soon turned back.  We stopped again at Rim Village and took our picnic to the stone wall at the rim’s edge.  Not a bad view for lunch.

On our way out of the park, we stopped at the Visitor Center.  I picked up a book of John Muir’s meditations on nature and we watched the short film about the history of the lake.  We also stopped in at the Mazama Village Camp store--the first campground in the park.  It has a better supply of grocery and camping items than the General Store in Fort Klamath.

This evening we will be getting ready to move tomorrow.  We will be stopping at a Wal-Mart for the night somewhere between here and Port Orford on the coast.

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