the wandering chick
....Crater Lake
Until you've seen....'ve not seen blue at all.

Even the clear blue sky on a cloudless day is dull in comparison to the intensity of Crater Lake blue. The two main factors that contribute to its color are the fact that its water comes only from snowmelt and rain. There are no streams, no rivers or even creeks that run into Crater Lake. The other factor is its depth. It is the deepest lake in the U.S. , and its deepest point is nearly 2000 feet deep.

Before Crater Lake existed, it was Mount Mazama. That was more than 7700 years ago. Mt. Mazama was a volcanic mountain, and, simply put, it blew its top. After all its insides were blown out, what was left of the mountain caved in. Over the centuries, Crater Lake has filled with rain and the snow that accumulates to nearly 50 feet each year.

There is no access to the water itself. The only boating activity is a park-run boat tour that goes to Wizard Island. To take the tour, there is a steep downhill grade 700 feet deep and 1.1-mile long. Getting back up after the tour might be a problem for some. The trail and boat dock are located at the Cleetwood Cove Observation area on the north side of the lake. Swimming is allowed there, but the water is extremely cold, so no one seems to stay long in the water. Below 200 feet, the water stays at 38 degrees. On the surface, it was in the 50s in July.

So, what do you do if you're at a lake and you can't swim or boat??

You drive around it. There is a 33-mile rim drive that offers spectacular, breath-taking views of the lake, Wizard Island, Phantom Ship (a rock formation in the lake) and several 'side trips' away from the lake.

Or, you hike it. There are just less than 20 hikes and 90 miles of hiking trails of various difficulty. The best ones are those with views of the lake, such as the rim trail which covers a portion of the west rim of the lake from Rim Village to The Watchman, 2.2 miles. But there are others to mountain tops and to waterfalls that are worth the journey.

And, if you don't want to hike and you don't want to drive, just stand there in front of the lake with your mouth open in awe. People will understand.

view of Crater Lake
view of Wizard Island
view of Crater Lake
Wizard Island is a volcanic mountain on Crater Lake. It erupted after the lake began to fill with water.
view of Crater Lake
Devils backbone portion of Crater Lake
This vertical wall that reaches from the water's edge to the rim of the lake is called the Devil's Backbone.
close up of Devil's Backbone
view of Crater Lake and Wizard Island
view of Crater Lake
view of Crater Lake
Pumice Castle
Pumice Castle can be viewed on the east rim of the lake. Years of erosion ofthis soft type rock has created the formation.
Plaikni Falls
Pumice Castle
Plaikni Falls can be reached by taking an easy two-mile roundtrip hike. The trailhead is on Pinnacles Road in the southeast corner of the lake.
Plaikni Falls
lady under straw hit at falls
Plaikni Falls
wildflowers at Plaikni Falls
whitebark pines formed by the constant wins
signage on Whitebark Pines
whitebark pines
Wizard Island
Another shot of Wizard Island
shot of Crater Lake
Crater Lake
huge driftwood against Crater Lake
The Pinnacles
The Pinnacles
Another of Mother Nature's attractions around Crater Lake is The Pinnacles. They are volcanic spires of ash that cooled after the eruption of Mt. Mazama. The Pinnacles are at the end of the six-mile Pinnacles Valley Road.
The Pinnacles
The Pinnacles
The Pinnacles
a rare boat on Crater Lake
Phantom Ship on Crater Lake
Phantom Ship is a rock formation on the south side of Crater Lake. It can best be seen by a short hike at Sun Notch.
Phantom Ship
Sun Notch
The short walk up to Sun Notch also offers this very soothing meadow scene.
close up of Clark's Nutcracker bird
Crater Lake Lodge's terrace overlooking the lake
Some of the birds seen around Crater Lake include this Clark's Nutcracker as well as (below) the Stellar's Jay.
Stellar's Jay
Crater Lake
The terrace of Crater Lake Lodge is a perfect setting overlooking the lake.
Vidae Falls
Clark's Nutcracker
Nutcracker with carrot in its mouth
I'm not a fan of feeding the animals, especially the ground squirrels and such, but the number of kids (and adults as well) who got a real kick out of it by far outweighed those who resist. This Clark's Nutcracker was given a carrot, and the ground squirrel (below) was fed popcorn.
ground squirrel with popcorn
Vidae Falls
Vidae Falls can be seen from the rim drive on the south side of the lake.
Crater Lake
Crater Lake
LLao Rock
Crater Lake
Llao Rock is one of the higher points towering Crater Lake.

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