Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Crater Lake Seems Like the Top of the World

 McBrooklyn is still on the road: After traveling along winding mountain roads with terrifying hairpin turns, we've finally made it to Crater Lake, at the very top (7,700 feet) of Mount Mazama, Oregon. It's one of the most awesome sights in the world. Crater Lake was formed when a massive volcano exploded about 7,700 years ago, leaving the mountain and the deepest lake in the United States.

It may be 100 degrees in the valley but the top of the mountain is covered with snow. So after you drive to the summit in your shorts and T-shirt you get quite a surprise.

The mountaintop gets about 44 feet of snow a year. (If you go, check the Parks Department web site to see if they've finished plowing Rim Road. It is expected to be cleared by early July.) There's a lodge and a cafe at Rim Village near the summit, but the lodge is buried in snow during the winter. There's also camping in Mazama Village nearby.

 Scientists say the water in Crater Lake (filled with trout and salmon, which were introduced years ago and now sustain themselves) may be the cleanest in North America. The Klamath Tribe has always considered the lake to be a sacred place. (See Wikipedia for more about their lake legends.) The tribe has lived in the area for more than 13,000 years, so they are familiar with the creation event.

That's Wizard Island in the lake, at the right of the photo above.

Photos by MK Metz

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