Saturday, July 22, 2017

Crater Lake Blues

Crater Lake is all about the blues, baby.  No matter what viewpoint you stop at as you drive around the rim road, the color blue is this national park's best feature.  A deep royal blue that is so rich it seems you are looking down on a vast bucket of paint.

We began our tour with a film at the park's visitor center which recounted the blast 7,000 years ago that collapsed an entire mountain, leaving a gaping caldera.  This volcanic crater over the millenniums filled with rainwater and melting snow, eventually becoming the deepest, purest lake in the United States.  A ranger tried to explain the reason for the deep blue color, but it was (I admit) a little over my head--something about absorbing the color spectrum and creating blue wavelengths.

The science is fascinating as always, but it is that blue, blue color that kept us in awe.  We ended up driving only half way around because the east road is still closed due to snow.  With average snowfall reaching 43 feet (!), this place is a winter wonderland.  We vowed to return in January with our snowshoes.

The harsh rugged landscape contrasts with the serenity of the blue water--evidence of the blast that occurred thousands of years ago.  What's left of Mount Mazama are jagged pinnacles and sloping cliffs.  That a cone-shaped mountain used to rise 12,000 feet into the air is another chill-inducing fact.

Crater Lake National Park is located in the south central part of Oregon and is a true gem in our National Park system.

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