Friday, November 4, 2011

Crater Lake National Park

We were supposed to spend three days and two nights at Crater Lake National Park, camping at the Mazama Campground, which I had booked four months earlier. Unfortunately, two weeks before our planned stay there, I received a phone call from one of the park's rangers informing me that our reservation got canceled, as most of the campground was still under snow . . .

The visiting season at Crater Lake NP is usually very short (around three to four months), but this year it seems it will be even shorter. Usually, by the beginning of July, most of the park would be snow-free. This year, however, on the Fourth of July weekend, only a small part of the park was accessible to tourists.

If you take a look at the first photo below, you'll see how much snow was still left in the park then. The only reason that we could visit the park at all during that weekend was because of the incredible dedication and unbelievable amount of work put in by the people working at the park and the National Park Services. I must have said it thousands of times and I'll repeat it again and again: National Parks are America's best idea and they are the main reason why I love living here.

Carter Lake NP is the sixth oldest National Park in the United States, and the only one located in Oregon. The park encompasses the Crater Lake caldera, which rests in the remains of a destroyed volcano, as well as the surrounding hills and forests. The caldera rim ranges in elevation from 2,100 to 2,400 meters (7,000-8,000 feet), whereas the lake surface is at 1,883 meters (6,178 feet).

At its deepest point the Carter Lake is 594 meters (1,949 feet) deep, which makes it the deepest lake in the United States and the ninth deepest in the world. Because of its depth and because its waters come only from rain and snow, the lake has an amazingly beautiful, deep blue color. As you can see in the pictures below, the color of the lake contrasts perfectly with the white snow and graphite mountain peaks.

The road leading to the park:

Crater Lake:

Wizard Island: