Crater Lake, Oregon
With David Backman and the Sherman Family
It all began with a bang.
One minute you're a volcano, just doing what a volcano does, getting hot under the collar, blowing off steam and occasionally tossing some boulders and lava around. After all, you're part of the "Ring of Fire." You're merrily showing off your power, causing awe in the native population, when suddenly you find you've spent all your magma. It happens to most volcanoes of a certain age and it doesn't make it any less a potent member of the ring of fire. But seeing how this is before Volcanic Viagra, the weight of the mountain weighs down on the now empty magma chamber in the bottom. Eventually the mountain collapses into this chamber, creating what is called a caldera.
And so it happened to Mount Mazama in Oregon.
This caldera formed a closed bowl. Eventually rain and melting snow ran water into this natural bowl, forming a lake of unusual blue color and clarity.
The lake has no inflow or outflow, except for falling rain, melting snow, and the loss due to evaporation. Over the years the barren volcano remnants gave rise to lush forests, jagged peaks and breathtaking vistas. Though he may look bored, Levi was in awe of nature's beauty.
As volcanoes release pent up gasses, steam and often sulfur, the matter is vented out fumaroles. These can build up deposits that create their own formations in the landscape, building up mini forests of peaks and features eerily reminiscent of the forests around them. Wizard Island in the lake sprouts a forest of volcanic-based spires.
The lake has an average depth of 1,148 feet, though the deepest point reaches nearly 2,000 feet deep. As a result, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States, and 7th deepest in the entire world. So even paddling ducks like NOT have to be careful (and get some help) since the bottom falls away quickly as you enter the water. Dave made sure to give NOT a hand. Or a Hat.
Though covered by a lake, Mount Mazama is not quite dead. There are indications of activity under the lake still, showing that the volcano could come back to life sometime in the future. In the meantime you have to be careful when you're around - there can be falling rocks, as well as falling Gails and NOTs along the cliffsides.
Crater Lake's caldera's rim reaches 6,000 to 7,000 feet above sea level. As a result, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the world that exists entirely above sea level.
This was helpful for NOT's New Zealand bound friends. Even in the beginning of August, there was snow to be found (and snowball fights to be fought). Since the Shermans are heading south of the equator, they will need to get used to winter in August, and Santa sunning himself on beaches in the southern hemisphere summer.
Oceania Here They Come!
Watch that first step guys, it's a loo loo!
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United States Travel
Photos courtesy of David Backman
Last Updated August 2007