Big Blue Hole In The Ground

Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.

--Ray Bradbury

July 18 – Left Bend, OR just before sunrise to travel to Crater Lake National Park. The area south of Bend until north of the Park is kind of like northern Michigan with flat land, sandy soil, and lots of pine forests. It remains similar as you turn into the north entrance of CLNP until the road turns upward as you approach the rim of Crater Lake. The land opens up into large grassy fields with some snow patches remaining next to growths of trees. And, you see the top of the rim, a clearly outlined edge against the sky. And then, the road gets you up to the rim and you see Crater Lake! To say “Wow” is underwhelming. I remember seeing the photo of the earth taken from space many years ago – the so called “Big Blue Marble” – Crater Lake is a big blue marble sunken in the earth. All the wonderful photographic images that you can see take a back seat to the visual perspective of viewing in person.

At nearly an hour after sunrise the blue of the sky and the water seem all the same tone as the cliff walls around the water are still kind of in shadows and the water’s surface is free except for the lump of Wizard Island near one end. But once the sun rises, and the walls of the crater are lighter the water of Crater Lake explodes in deep blue.

A few facts & figures on Crater Lake: it was formed by a volcanic eruption nearly 8,000 years ago, is the deepest lake in North America at 1,943 feet deep, and holds nearly 5 trillion gallons of water.

Crater Lake is the most impressive natural eye candy that I’ve experienced…topping even the Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, and the Great Sand Dunes National Park. I would like another visit sometime to access a couple things that didn’t happen this time. First of all, the east rim road was closed due to remaining snow cover and debris. Also, there is a boat ride around the lake that includes a stop at Wizard Island and a hike on the island. There’s a hike down to the lake’s edge to board the boat that would be interesting on its own. Crater Lake has been the highlight of this road trip for me.

After Crater Lake we drove to visit Mary’s relatives and spent the night at their house in Sams Valley between Medford and Grants Pass, OR.