Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon is part of the Cascade Range of mountains formed through years of volcanic activity. It is one of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen, with crystal clear blue water reaching depths of nearly 2000 feet.
Formed when Mount Mazama, an active volcano, collapsed during a huge eruption 700,000 years ago, the lake is in the caldera and filled with rain and snow melt. The area receives between 500 and 600 inches of snow a year and we were able to still see many snowy patches of the sides of trails and on the sides of the caldera as we hiked. The boys even had a brief snowball fight while we hiked!
Before heading out for a couple of hikes, we attended a couple of Ranger Programs, learning that the whole area is still an active volcano. Wizard Island, a mountain rising out of the lake, is part of a chain of smaller, still active volcanoes. We were reminded that while they have not erupted recently, they are constantly monitored and could potentially erupt at any time, although there has been no activity for many years. The boys were a little disappointed that no volcanoes erupted during our visit.
The rim trail was a beautiful hike with gorgeous views from most every spot. The sides of the caldera are smooth in some places, and rocky in others and the views of Wizard Island and the Ghost Ship were amazing!
Our campground in Oregon provided some other interesting moments as well. Along the way we really hadn't had much of a problem with insects. Apparently, they were all in Oregon and we were all covered in mosquito bites within minutes. The combination of itchy bites and a shallow rocky creek helped us burn through an entire box of band aids during our stay. No serious injuries, just lots of scrapes and scratches. Our campground in Klamath Falls was very nice, with a stream and canoes and rowboats along the shore for anyone to use, but it was a bit more rural and rustic than our other campgrounds had been. When the teen headed for the shower at night he found it was already occupied, by several little green froggy friends. He high tailed it out of there and consented to a shower in the King's tiny bathroom.
This stop marked our final trek to the north and west, and was also just past the halfway point of our journey. Turning east, we're heading for Yellowstone and back toward home. We've had a great time so far, and still have much to see and look forward to, but have started to realize that our travel days are numbered. While we have seen and done so many, many things, there's an equally long list of things we've missed. I hope we are lucky enough to make another trip someday to re-visit some new favorite places and visit those special spots we've missed.