***Note: At the bottom of this post is a map of Crater Lake. I numbered the photo captions as well as points on the map so that you can see where each shot was taken.***
I’ve seen a good amount of the United States so far, but one area I had yet to visit was the northwest. After saying goodbye to Colorado, we headed north for my first visit to Oregon. We did make some stops on the way there, however. The first stop was brief and rather unexciting. In driving through Wyoming, we stopped and spent the night at a truck stop. Glamorous, I know. I had to note how interesting our traveling lifestyle can be. One week, we’re staying at a 4-star hotel in Iceland, and the next week, we’re sleeping at a truck stop in the middle of Wyoming. It’s a good thing we’re pretty adaptable.
Anyway, our second stop was in Salt Lake City, Utah. Ben has some family there, and we stayed for two nights to visit with them. This was actually the first time I got to meet any of Ben’s relatives, so I was thrilled! While we were in town, we also visited Park City, the lovely area that serves as home to the Sundance Film Festival every year. That’s definitely on my mental to-do list! After leaving Utah, we headed toward Oregon (with a one-night rest stop in northern Nevada). We parked the bus a few miles north of Crater Lake National Park, at an RV park on Diamond Lake.
Crater Lake National Park is absolutely gorgeous, and has a very interesting history. Nearly 8,000 years ago, the lake didn’t exist at all. Instead, in its place was a series of volcanic mountains. After a massive eruption that left the underlying magma chambers empty, the mountains collapsed, forming a giant basin called a caldera. As years went by, the basin slowly filled up with rainwater and melted snow, forming what is now Crater Lake. (When you think about it, it should be called Caldera Lake, because it’s not actually a crater!) It’s the deepest lake in the United States, measuring 1,900 feet at its deepest point. It’s also some of the purest water you’ll ever see because there is no water that actually flows into it. The water comes only from rain and melted snow.
There is a main loop road that circles the lake, and we spent most of our time on that, stopping at every overlook we could. Unfortunately, part of this main road was closed off during our visit because there was STILL a lot of snow yet to melt (even though it’s July). We were actually really blown away by the snow. The temps ranged from the high 60s to the low 80s but there was still a lot of snow on the ground. I can’t imagine how much snow there is in the winter!
#2. We made a stop along the road leading to the lake because we couldn’t believe how much snow there was! Ben was quite comfortably in those shorts and flip flops because it was probably around 70 degrees just before sunset.
Another interesting thing about Crater Lake is that just about every vantage point you can get is around 1,000 feet above the water’s surface. You’re always looking down on it from the edge of the rim. If you want to get a view from water level, there is one place you can do it. On the northern part of the lake, there is a trail (Cleetwood Trail) that winds back and forth, all the way down to the water. If you make reservations for a boat tour of the lake (which we did), you get on the boat at the bottom of this trail. Just a note on that though… It’s a good hike to get down there, meaning it’s steep and long. Oddly, the way back up feels steeper and longer!
#4. This is a view of Phantom Ship that I got from the end of the Sun Notch trail. The reason it’s called Phantom Ship is that, depending on the angle in which you look at it, as well as the ripples in the water, cloud cover, etc. there are times when it just disappears! … Ok, not really, but it becomes invisible to your eye. I know … looking at it from this angle, it’s hard to believe it would be hard to see from any angle.
We spent about four days at Crater Lake National Park, shooting and exploring as much as we could. On a fwe of those nights, we’d end up at Crater Lake Lodge for some cocktails and appetizers. If you ever visit the park, definitely check out this 100+-year-old lodge. It’s absolutely beautiful, both inside and out. We tried to plant ourselves by one of the giant fireplaces they have in there. Happy Karen!
Before I wrap up this post, I want to mention one more thing about this park… If you ever pay a visit to Crater Lake, and I definitely suggest that you do, BRING STRONG BUG REPELLENT. Because of all the melting snow, the mosquitoes were relentless and plentiful.
Anyway, after leaving Crater Lake, our plans were to move on to explore more of Oregon. More to come…