Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake sits like an egg cup of blue ink.
Not a crater at all.
Created when Mount Mazama dropped in to a hollow interior.
Vacated by a blast of hot ash around 7,700 years ago.
With the rim still over 2000m a lot of mountain remains and a lot of park to explore.
Evening with smoke from forest fire drifting over Crater Lake
There’s a short summer season when it’s all open to hike. Even in early August snow patches loitered in shady coves.
Many just drive to the visitors’ centres or drive the 33 miles perimeter for ‘selfies’ on the ‘must see’ views. So there’s plenty of opportunity to escape the crowds.
Crater Lake from Garfield Pike
Mount Garfield is the highest point on the rim. For a quick escape the top, 2455 m can be reached in an hour or so with the reward of an uninterrupted view of the whole caldera.
A couple of islands punctuate the blue.
The Phantom Ship
Wizard Island’s hat pushed up by more recent volcanic activity. Burnt black boulders tumble into the water. Green pines cling on precariously, sustained by seemingly nothing.
Colourful sides of the Caldera
Across the crater floats the ‘Phantom Ship’. A ridge back of rock link to the side by an underwater trail.
Lichens flourishing in pure mountain air paint the caldera sides sun bright yellow. Snow melt tumbles through summer warmth sustaining stripes of vivid green and alpine flowers.
From Mount Scott
For a full circle view it’s worth a walk to the top of Mount Scott, the highest point of the park at 2721m.
Down to the lake itself to feel the true scale of lake and height of the crater.
Unfortunately a forest fire was raging while we were there and the west rim was closed. Though dramatic to watch the planes dropping water horrific to think of the destruction caused by the carelessness of a backpacker.
Interestingly a park ranger told us any fires caused naturally by lightning strikes are left as its good for the eco system. Though our hotel was threatened with evacuation just before we checked out, it didn’t detract from the wonder of the park. So far the lodge is still there.