Friday, July 10, 2009

Crater Lake National Park

A terribly long trip to Oregon. Information read in books and the internet. Hordes of mosquitoes around, trying to ruin your day. But when you get there, nothing gets you ready for the first sight. It is the sheer definition of breathtaking. You really feel you need a deeper breath after seeing it. It is Crater Lake. It is a lake Native American considered sacred and kept in secrecy until it was discovered in the late 19th century. It is also the deepest lake in North America. Its origin, a huge volcano which exploded in a huge eruption and collapsed, leaving behind a caldera. The caldera filled with snow and rain water and a lake created. The volcanic cone of the original volcano can still be seen in what today is known as Wizard's Island, the "island" in the middle of the "lake". The first sight again is impressive. You enter the park and head towards the rim. It is a volcano, a mountain, so you go uphill with your car in a steep and narrow road with many turns. Suddenly, you feel you are getting to the top of the mountain and without any notice, you turn and there it is, a majestic lake of unnatural blue water and incomparable beauty. No words for it. You really have to experience it. The place is really high and cold, so even in July, there is snow, which makes the contrast even more dramatic: white snow against the blue of the water and the warm color of the mountains under twilight. Superb.

This is the entrance to the park:

Now, please take your time and open these two pictures. They show you what Crater Lake looks like. These panoramas are amazing, but the real experience is much more than that.

Some detail on Wizard's island, the island that makes the lake look even more special:

The back-country looks beautiful too. Green scenery to heal the heat of summer.

Around 5 miles from the lake, the ancient fumaroles of the original volcano have been brought to the surface by the action of time and erosion, two forces nothing can avoid. The result is what today is known as the Pinacles.

On the way back, there were also some waterfalls.

Before leaving, a last glimpse at the lake and back on the road. The Moon would come along our drive that night.

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