Crater Lake

Wow, this place is unbelievable. First, we had to climb a long way UP to get here. Crater Lake is at about 7000 feet. Second, the SNOW! It’s June and they’re still using snow plows and hand shoveling to clear roads and dig out cabins. They had about 45 feet of snow this year and in some places it drifted to about 70 feet. The huge volume of snow still laying around is amazing.

Third, the mosquitoes! It’s so strange that there’s snow everywhere, and the mosquitoes are thick and thirsty. I opened the car door and five flew in!  luckily they’re big, easy to see, and you can slap them away before to much damage is done.

We stayed in the National Park Lodge for Crater Lake last night. It’s been in operation for 101 years, so it was a bit rustic. The food was good, and we even needed reservations! It was also a bit creepy and I later learned that parts of it were used to film The Shining. That explained it.

I have to say, there isn’t much to do at Crater Lake in early June. They haven’t finished clearing the snow from the road around the lake and boats won’t be on the lake until at least June 24th. All we could really do was go to the one overlook that was open. They also had a short video about the lake at the Visitor’s Center.

It’s kind of a cool story. There used to be a 12,000 foot mountain with a pool of magma deep beneath it. Eventually, the pressures on the magma pool were too great and several vents to the surface opened. They circled the mountain and caused cracks that went from vent to vent. Eventually, the magma pool emptied, but that meant the underpinnings of the mountain were compromised. Over the course of a couple hours, the entire mountain fell deep into the earth and filled the magma chamber.

Over centuries, rain and the run-off from the snow melt eventually filled the hole with water. The lake as no streams or rivers that feed it, so the water is crystal clear. From 1880 to about the 1940s, the lake was stocked with fish, so there are still fish in the lake today.

Here are a few pictures.

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The lake is known for its amazing blue color and its crystal clear water. It’s not unusual to be able to see more than 100 feet down.

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When the mountain collapsed, it left sheer cliff walls. There is only one place to access the water level without scaling a 1000 foot cliff.

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These guys were literally digging this cabin out by hand.

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Another view of the lake from the back of the Lodge.

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This is the Lodge.

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Hey, there! It’s just me … and lots of snow!  I haven’t seen snow like this since we lived in South Dakota.

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I forgot to mention that we drove past Mt. Shasta yesterday on the way to Crater Lake.

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