Thursday, August 23, 2012

Crater Lake

About 7700 years ago a 12,000 foot volcano, that we now know as Mt Mazama, blew its guts out and then collapsed in on itself, creating a giant caldera.  This caldera gradually filled with rain and melting snow to form what we now know as Crater Lake.  At nearly 2000 feet deep it is the deepest lake in the US, and one of the deepest in the world.  And because of its remoteness and being limited to precipitation for filling, it is one of the purest lakes in the world.

During my recent trip along the Pacific Crest Trail through Oregon, Sue and I spend a full day and part of a second exploring the lake and it's surroundings.  We hiked 6 miles of it, drove all 33 miles of road around the rim, and took the 2 hour boat tour.  Words or pictures cannot to this place justice. It you have never been there I would encourage you to put it on your bucket list.

Wizard Island, at one edge of the lake, is a cinder cone from more recent volcanic activity.  You can see one of the small tour boats in front of the island that provide a 2 hour guided tour around the lake.

Harder lava that survived the destruction of Mt Mazama.  There are some pretty bizarre rock formations around the lake. 

Another view of Wizard Island.  One of the water tours would actually drop you off on the island for a couple hours of exploration.

Yet another picture from the far side of Wizard Island.  The water of this lake is as blue as any lake I have ever seen.  

The seed heads on Pasque Flowers are pretty cool.  They definitely put Dandelions to shame.  I think I would allow these to grow in my yard.

The Phantom Ship is the remains of volcanic activity that long preceded most of the building and destruction of Mazama.  This rock is 400,000 thousand years old, and is the oldest within the caldera. It was hard enough to survive the destruction of Mazama.

A closer look at the Phantom Ship.  It slightly resembles a sailboat cruising on the lake.

Llao Rock, the darker portion of the hill, is supposed to be the home of Llao, the Klamath's god of the underworld, whose fight with Skell, caused the destruction of Mazama.

Another view of Wizard's Island, this time from the south side of the rim wall.

Some of the formations from Pinnacles Overlook.  These are places where gas rose up through ash and cemented the ash into solid rock.

More of the Pinnacles.

A view of the lake from the east side.

Gold Mantled Ground Squirrels were all over the place.

Obviously I liked the Phantom Ship a lot.  The colors and reflections in the lake were pretty overwhelming as well.

The Pumice Castle is a layer of orange pumice that has eroded into the shape of a castle.

This lake was just too big to get into a single picture, and too beautiful to not take a 100 pictures of.

A part of the rum wall from the tour boat.  I believe this is Llao Rock again.

The strata laid down over successive eruptions is obvious here. 

The Phantom Ship from lake level.

Can you see the face in the rim wall?  This is from along the south east portion of the rim wall.


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