Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

Note - Tuesday, Aug 13th - I am sorry to have been a bit out of touch these last few days. We have been at Crater Lake National Park, without cell phone or internet reception. But, I am back in touch, writing these blogs and posting, answering emails and Facebook.
Sunday August 11, 2013- We said goodbye to the ‘Aumafandango’ and to the friends that we had met at the rally. We had been really pleasantly surprised at how nice the rally had been. It was a good size to meet people, and really informative. Plans just might have to be made to attend the February gathering in Sarasota, Florida.   : )
We drove east, back along the little cross road towards Crater Lake. I need to mention, that this area has been seeing some smoke from a fire that is burning just south of here. The day was beautiful, though, and the smoke cleared as we got up the mountain and into Crater Lake National Park.
We had reservations for a campsite in the Mazama campground – no hook-ups, but a lovely site. We arrived just about lunch time, checked in, unhitched, ate lunch, then headed out to explore.
Our first stop was the Rim Visitor’s Center and Overlook. We learned that Crater Lake is the result of a collapsed volcano. For 400,000 years, repeated volcanic eruptions built 12,00 foot Mount Mazama. The most violent eruption began 7,700 years ago. As this eruption emptied out the huge magma chamber within the mountain, it left the top of Mt. Mazama essentially hollow. The mountain could not support its own weight and collapsed, forming a deep caldera. Over the centuries, this deep basin filled with water from rain and snowfall. No streams run into the lake, so little sediment clouds its waters.
Crater Lake is 6.02 miles across at its widest, and 1,943 feet deep at its deepest. The tallest point on the rim is 1,978 feet tall. Crater Lake is North America’s deepest fresh water lake. The water is so clear, and the lake is so deep, that the water appears a beautiful deep blue.
I can not adequately describe to you just how beautiful Crater Lake is…..
The water is deep, deep blue….almost iridescent…… and the clouds overhead add just enough reflection to give a bit of shading.
We walked along the rim trail…shooting photo after photo……
I probably have at least 50 pictures that all look about the same….but all showing the beauty of the lake. The island in the middle of Crater lake is called Wizard Island (the top looks like a conical wizard’s cap). It formed from a volcano within a volcano, and has a true cinder cone top with a debris field of lava flow forming a tail.
We drove along the rim drive, stopping at Watchman Peak Overlook and Trail. We hiked up Watchman Peak….
It was a nice trail, gravel- 1.6 miles round trip with only 420 foot elevation change. Though, we did feel the effects of going up….we were at about 7,000+ foot elevation to start. At the top, an old watchman’s tower, no longer open…..and amazing views!
While at the top of Watchman Peak, we met an interesting couple from the Sacramento, California area. They had a number of good suggestions for our travels through Oregon.We gave them or email address and they sent us even more suggestions. If we don’t get to them on this trip, we will have a lot of ideas for the next one. One of the things I love about National Parks is the people that you meet.
After completing the western rim drive, we headed back to our camper for a nice dinner of grilled chicken, rice and veggies. Tomorrow, we will be up early for a boat ride…….

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