May 8th ~ Southern Oregon
There is only one National Park in the entire state of Oregon, and it certainly deserves this ranking.
Crater Lake was formed when Mount Mazama erupted, collapsed into itself and eventually filled up with a combination of rain water and melted snow. Wizard Island is a main focal point.
“Wizard Island is a volcanic cinder cone which forms an island at the west end of Crater Lake. The top of the island reaches 6,933 feet (2,113 m) above sea level, about 755 feet (230 m) above the average surface of the lake. The cone is capped by a volcanic crater about 500 feet (150 m) wide and 100 feet (30 m) deep. The crater was named the “Witches Cauldron” by William Gladstone Steel in 1885, who also gave Wizard Island its name at the same time.” ~ Wikipedia
“Native Americans witnessed its formation 7,700 years ago, when a violent eruption triggered the collapse of a tall peak. Scientists marvel at its purity: fed by rain and snow, it’s the deepest lake in the USA and perhaps the most pristine on earth.” ~ NPS.gov
This was the first time I have visited the park this early in the season and there was still quite a bit of snow. Most of the road including the rim drive around the lake was still closed, along with the lodge. But, we were able to get to a couple of view spots to take a few pictures. This map shows which roads were open.
They had a small cafe open where we were able to get a warm lunch. In the gift shop both Laura and I found Crater Lake souvenir shirts we liked. After a quick change in the public restroom, we had to have our pictures taken together to show them off. Kind of reminded us of “Besties” from high school days, lol.
As is my norm, I took way to many pictures, but such happy memories…
The surrounding forest and meadows still had a deep coat of white.
We got to see both ends of the Rogue River. The headwater is just below Crater Lake and runs all the way to the Pacific Ocean, terminating at Gold Beach. In case you missed that post where we took Jerry’s Rogue Jet boats, you can find it by clicking here.
Not far downstream from Crater Lake is a natural gorge where the river narrows and is forced through and over the remains of old lava tubes.
Michael shot a short video of the falls which demonstrates the power.
If you are curious to see what Crater Lake and the Rogue Gorge looks like without all the snow, here is a link to when we last visited here in the fall of 2015.
Almost right next door to the gorge, is the small Beckie’s Restaurant which is a very popular stopping off point for many travelers going to/from Crater Lake. We were a little too early in the season for their famous huckleberry pie. I had to settle for a slice of “Very Berry” pie à la mode, and Laura selected a root beer float that comes with an extra glass of root beer to keep topping it off.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that we got to see Crater Lake surrounded in snow. Before I was born, my father taught snow skiing here one year, so I felt like I got a tiny glimpse into what he witnessed so many years ago. Treasured moments…