I have an enormous family. Both my parents had 6 other siblings in their families. As a result, I have a plethora of cousins who live all over the United States from Washington to California to Florida, New York, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Illinois, Washington D.C. , Oregon and more. As a result of having lots of family, I have spent most of my life going to lots of weddings. This is great fun as my family sure knows how to party.
Last weekend was one of these weddings and it took place in Walnut Creek, California. Luke and I decided to drive down to the wedding and I noticed as I planned our trip that our route would take us right by Crater Lake National Park and I thought, This is the perfect opportunity to see Crater Lake!
I have always wanted to go to visit Crater Lake, not simply because its magnificence is captured on calendars and inspirational photos everywhere but because of a favorite childhood book of mine called The Ancient One by T.A. Barron. In this book an Oregonian girl is thrown back through time in a valley that is full of a giant lake with an ominous creeping dark Wizard Island on the surface. She must help an ancient race of magical bird people defeat the evil wizard before he unleashes lava upon their world, destroying their home. Sounds an awful lot like Crater Lake, doesn’t it? 🙂
I wasn’t sure how impressed I would be by Crater Lake after so many years of build up and anticipation, but when we arrived and hiked up the north side of the rim to peer down into the caldera, I was awestruck.
The water is unbelievably blue, so pure and undisturbed by the usual ripples and tones of water that the caldera seems to be a setting for precious lapis lazuli. The walls of the caldera are sheer and standing along the rim gave me a feeling of vertigo and many of the other visitors near us clung to trees along the edges rather than step closer to the edge.
Wizard’s Island turned out to be much bigger than I had previously thought. It rises 800 feet from the water! We did a little estimation and guess that those “little” trees on it are probably about 60 feet tall!
Here you can see the cragginess of the caldera walls as well as a demonstration of how clear the water is…you can see the shelf of the caldera through the water. The sparkling blue green tints in the shallows made me feel like the water should be sub-tropical, but Crater Lake is extremely deep and thus never really warms up. I wouldn’t want to go swimming in it without a wetsuit, that’s for sure!
This is another island on Crater Lake. Much smaller, it is referred to as the Phantom Ship because it is thought to look a bit like a a galleon in full sail.
These strange structures are called the Pinnacles. They are remnants of the volcanic activity of Mt. Mazama, the volcano that created Crater Lake through its eruptions, that were revealed thanks to erosion.
We walked down the trail to the shore of the Lake.
The water is even more beautiful close up.
There are plenty of fish in the lake!
This is part of the view up the caldera’s wall. The walk down was not very difficult but the walk up was not very much fun! It is an elevation gain of about 1,000 feet and being at a higher altitude than I am used to to, I struggled to get back up at a pace, but thanks to some charming benches placed along the trail I made it!
It was a wonderful trip and we hope to return to Crater Lake sometime soon!