We have been looking forward to seeing Crater Lake for quite a long time. We're still looking forward to seeing it. Our timing this August wasn't great - too much wildfire smoke. Well, let's go see what we can see anyway.
OK, here's what we can see! Standing on the rim where there's normally an amazing view of the lake and crater:
Looking down the extremely steep slope, which in itself is quite a sight:
Normally a wonderful place to sit and take in the scenery at the lodge:
Well, let's drive around the rim a ways since we're here. Actually, this is pretty cool - the Phantom Ship island (from an ancient volcanic cone) looks like an actual phantom:
A glimpse of the little white tour boat way down on the water:
We were hoping we could see the "Pumice Castle" through the smoke - yep, there's the colorful tower, how neat:
The Phantom Ship sailing across shrouded waters:
Pine trees, green moss, and interesting shapes:
We saw a picture of The Pinnacles and knew that we should at least go check it out. This turned out to be the highlight of the day (even though they are at the edge of the park and nowhere near the lake). First glimpses of these fun features:
Erosion through different layers created wonderful towers along a creek:
Like tall trees made of stone and mud:
Druids in the mist:
Every time we looked over the edge I had to take another picture - thank you Pinnacles!
Not sure what happened here...
A large park boundary tower, kind of in the middle of nowhere:
I love this company name:
Fires in the area (we saw several crews heading to work on them):
Trail closures, including the Pacific Crest Trail through the park:
Hey, we can see more of the lake and some of the rim on the other side - and Wizard Island is visible now. Glad we stayed longer that day to let the smoke clear up a bit.
We attended a ranger talk about some of the women who influenced the creation of Crater Lake National Park, quite interesting:
Looking down at the clear super-blue water:
Pretty red berries, and if I paid much attention to plants I'd be able to tell you what they are:
Crater Lake was created when a 12,000 foot tall mountain (called Mount Mazama) just collapsed about 7700 years ago. How do mountains just collapse? That must have been quite an event! It's surprising that there's water in it - there is just enough coming in (through snow melt and rain water) and going out (evaporation and some leaks, I believe) to maintain the lake level. So it's quite an interesting geological feature, beyond the fact that it's also gorgeous.
Someday we'll be able to see it more clearly too:
As the afternoon went on, the water got even bluer and we could see the shelf along the shoreline where it drops sharply down:
Oh, and it's the deepest lake in the US (1949 feet). Pretty spectacular.
We're compiling quite a collection of "places we have to come back to"!