My first glimpse of Crater Lake was literally breathtaking. My husband did not tell me where we were going and said only something about a very cool “lake”. I had no expectations, although I should have known that my husband never takes me places that are short of amazing. Still, I was completely unprepared for this view:
Pictures fall short in conveying the awe of this place. Imagine coming upon what you think of as a lake to see a giant crater filled with twenty one square miles of water, 2,000 feet below the cliffs on which you are standing that happen to form a perfect circle. When you look down, you see mountains in the middle of a crystal clear lake with a mirror surface. Everything is still and only the sky and the sun reflect in the azure blue water.
I could not believe my eyes and kept staring in amazement. The water was so transparent and so intensely blue, it looked painted.
This magnificent jewel of the Cascades is set inside a collapsed summit of Mount Mazama, a dormant volcano. Mazama’s eruption about 5700 B.C. expelled enough pumice and ash to create a huge, smoldering caldera, which eventually formed the deepest and cleanest lake in the United States (more than 1,900 feet deep). Framed by the fir and pine trees, Crater Lake is an ideal setting for day hikes.
We descended to the shore of Crater Lake by going down a steep switchback trail to the rocky shoreline at Cleetwood Cove. There, we took tour boat around the lake to the Wizard Island. My husband dove off a cliff and went for a swim. I decided to wait for him on the shore while taking in this view.