Sunday, September 29, 2013

Crater Lake: The Mountain That Isn't There

                                    Crater Lake as it often appears in mid-May.

Crater Lake is Oregon's only national park, but it is a beauty!
It is a worthy tourist destination, though it can snow there about any month of the year.
Most years, it is July before the snow has melted away.
Notwithstanding, the snow cover offers its own great views of this unusual lake.
Crater Lake is the deepest lake in America, at 1,943  feet (and ninth deepest lake in the world).
Its vibrant blue color and water clarity is unparalleled in most of the world today.
The lake's original name as "Deep Blue Lake" when it was discovered by White Men in 1853. The lake was also called "Blue Lake" and "Lake Majesty," before the Crater name stuck.
(Native Americans considered the area sacred and did not tell outsiders about it.)

  Crater Lake is the remnant of a huge, ancient volcano, Mount Mazama. A gigantic eruption about 7,700 years ago led to the collapse of the crater.
This "Mountain that isn't" was almost 12,000 feet in elevation.
With no inlet or outlet, the area's massive snowfall and precipitation, some 524 inches a year, filled it with water in an estimated 250 years after the volcano collapsed.
Evaporation and seepage keep the lake's water level almost perfectly balanced.
The National Park Services strives to keep pollution from seeping into the lake. The lake's record clarity was to 134 feet in clear depth in the mid-1990s.
 This is a high-elevation lake. The Crater Lake Rim Village sits at an elevation of 7,100 feet above sea level.

  The Crater Lake Lodge opened in 1915. It has been remodeled lots over the years, but typically withstands a snowfall of 15 feet on top.
 Crater Lake is from 4.6 to 6 miles wide. Its water temperature ranges from 32 degrees to 66 degrees.
There are some hydrothermal vents at its bottom.
  The lake contains some 5 trillion gallons of water. If its caldera every broke, a huge flood will result below.
  The shallowest portion of the lake goes from just 15-25 feet.
  A 33-mile loop road circles the lake, but is only open from late spring and summer to early fall.
  A tour boat seasonally operates on the lake.
  A 1.1 mile hike down to the water level at Cleetwood Cove offers not only the seasonal boat opportunity, but the only chance to touch its waters. That hike includes an 11 degree incline, dropping some 600 feet in elevation.
The tallest rim mountain is Hillman Peak at 8,151 feet. (There are taller peaks in the park, away from the rim.)

                                               Deep snow lingers here into late spring.

 Crater Lake is located about 60 miles northwest of Kalamth Falls (elevation 4,100 feet), or about 80 miles northeast of Medford (elevation 1,350 feet).
So, the drive from Medford is almost 6,000 feet upward and from Kalamath Falls, it is about 3,000 feet upward.
If traveling the Medford route, be sure to check out some Rogue River scenic points along the roadway.
Deep snowwalls along side the road highlight the upper portion of the road from Kalamath Falls.

 Wizard Island 

                                   Visit in mid-May and a lot of options will still be closed.

          Compare the 2nd photo up with this photo to imagine the vanished Mount Mazama.

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