Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Days 97 - 98: Crater Lake

All the guide books said we would "not believe" the water at Crater Lake.  Yep, it's blue.  Oh so blue!!!
It was formed when an ancient MASSIVE volcano, Mt Mazama, erupted almost 8,000 years ago and caved in on itself.  The water in the lake, which is the deepest in the US, is perfectly pure.  It's only fed by rain and snowfall.
You know that Star Trek episode where Kirk goes into a parallel dimension and everyone has an evil twin and Spock has that cool goatee...

We did a couple of mini-hikes.  The first one was up to this fire look-out.

Stunning views from up there!

Another view.  Can you believe this lake is 5 MILES across!!  The air up there is so clear it definitely doesn't look that big!

See that little speck in the middle of the picture??

It's actually an island!  This is the top of yet another, more ancient volcano that was swallowed up by the lava of Mt Mazama.  When Mt Mazama erupted and caved in, this cone was exposed again.  It's the oldest exposed rock in the crater, 400,000 years old!  Cool!  Even cooler: it's called Phantom Ship, because it looks like a ghost ship!

Our last hike of the day was down to the water.  OMG, it was sooooooooo freaking cold.  I mean, I literally couldn't breath for a minute when I got in.

Greg decided to jump in.


There were some natural wildfires in the area that were started by lightning about a month ago.
The Rangers were keeping an eye on the fires and were obviously tired of people reporting them.... "Yes, we KNOW there are fires in the area!!"

Another free camping spot in the National Forest outside Crater Lake National Park.  We found such a great little spot that we stayed here two nights!

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