Crater Lake National Park
We planned to spend a day or two at Crater Lake National Park on the way South to California and entered the Park at the North end. It was a cloudy day but we were not prepared for the weather we encountered as we drove the West Rim to the top. Temperatures dropped below 40 (snow forecast), visibility 10 yards, and we couldn’t see much further than the precipice edge. At the top we encountered road resurfacing / rebuilding, and hardly saw the flagman enforcing one way traffic. Lake views were not likely so we carried on to Mazama village and were happy to get a ‘first come first served’ campsite there.
Crater Lake is an amazing geological formation. Like Yellowstone, it was formed as a ‘Caldera’ after a volcanic eruption emptied a huge void underground and the earth’s surface collapsed into it. It is a much smaller Caldera (6 miles in diameter compared with 40 miles) than Yellowstone. The Yellowstone Caldera was formed from three ‘super volcano’ eruptions, the most recent 630,000 years ago. However, the Crater Lake Caldera was formed only about 7,000 years ago when Mount Mazama erupted over several days and the earth collapsed into the void over only several hours. It’s very possible that the Klamath Native American tribe witnessed this phenomenon as there are tales of a cataclysmic event in their cultural history.
The crater cooled and has filled with rain and snowfall over several hundred years to the current depth of about 2,000 feet, containing some of the purest natural water in the world. This explains the amazing deep blue color of the lake with its aquamarine edges. There is no water outfall from the Lake. The lake bottom is still active volcanically and future eruptions are very possible.
We ended up spending 4 nights, waiting for the storm to pass and eventually experienced a beautiful day when we drove the East Rim in two sections as the middle was closed for avalanche damage repair. Colin took one of the trails down from the rim to the lake shore and back and we visited Vidae Falls in the early evening.
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Mazama Village, Crater Lake National Park, OR