Sparkling Sapphire Gem ~ Crater Lake National Park

Phantom Rock moored in Crater Lake

After a week at our “service bay” home, we were on the road once again to continue our exploration of Oregon.  Thankfully before leaving Junction City we were able to enjoy an evening with friends John and Janie.  We are heading inland for a time, with our first stop being Crater Lake National Park, where we met up with friends Paul and Nina and their RV buddies Alex and Ellen, a delightful couple.  This is one of the true beauties of the RV lifestyle, slow-paced, with opportunities to meet new folks and reconnect with others.

Golden meadows and Mt. Thielsen from bike path

We have settled in the Umpqua National Forest, Diamond Lake Campground and are having one of our first experiences with “boondocking”, goin’ naked, no hookups.  We’re not nearly as well equipped as our friends, who both have solar panels on their rigs, Paul and Nina sporting 600 watts and Alex and Ellen a whopping 1000 watts.  Paul jokes of suffering from “watt envy” when Alex speaks of his solar power (lol).

Besides a visit to Crater Lake NP, which is a definite must, there is much to do here.  An 11-mile paved bike path encircles Diamond Lake, providing fantastic views of the lake, the meadows, and dramatic Mt. Thielsen with her horn-shaped peak.  Although we have not done, kayaking would be a great way to explore the lake itself.

Me – first views of Crater lake
Terry overlooking Diamond Lake and Mt. Thielsen, from Mt. Bailey trail
Cleetwood Cove on Crater Lake

The six of us, plus pooch Polly, set out to tackle Mt. Bailey, a strenuous 10-miler to the peak.  Mt. Bailey often gets overlooked standing so close to Mt. Thielsen, but she deserved some love too, all 8368 feet of her.

Although we did not summit, 7 miles for me was not bad, and the views were spectacular.  I am discovering that months lived at sea level have taken their toll on my hiking at 7000 feet.

Pumice Castle

Fire season has come to Oregon, along with many other western states so our first views of Crater Lake were rather hazy, with smoke collecting in the caldera.  We went back on a clearer day and hiked up to Watchman Tower for some better photos.

While a detailed post of Crater Lake National Park is definitely warranted, I will let one who has written before me speak more on her virtues instead.  Our friend Nina has written an excellent piece, which you should check out here.

I will leave you with my initial thoughts as I stood looking down into this magnificent deep blue lake for the first time.

Crater Lake

Long before your birth

a violent volcano stood.

So angry her nature

a catastrophic eruption occurred.


When dust and ash settled

You emerged in her wake.

A timeless vision of pure beauty

Sun, snow or rain.


Your penetrating sapphire depths

the most intriguing of all.

A refreshing drink of your waters

an elixir for the gods.


Ancient winds whisper your secrets

‘tho you hold some in reserve.

Beckoning us closer

with your hypnotic allure.

                 © LuAnn Oburn 2012

The formation of Crater Lake began roughly 7700 years ago, after the cataclysmic eruption of 12,000-foot Mt. Mazama, perhaps the most massive volcanic explosion in the past 640,000 years.  This breathtaking lake and its deep sapphire color is the cleanest body of water in the world, cleaner than over 80% of all water flowing from our taps, I have read.  With depths reaching 1943 feet and widths ranging from 4.5 to 6 miles, she is an impressive sight, not to be missed.

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33 thoughts on “Sparkling Sapphire Gem ~ Crater Lake National Park

  • Beautiful pictures and great poem. Can you swim in Crater Lake, or is it too deep right from the edge? And is the water really cold? Some day I’m going to get up there, too. Thanks for sharing. Good to hear from you again.

    • Thanks Joan. We are told you could get into the lake but it is extremely cold. It is the most beautiful lake we have ever seen so plan to get up here. 🙂

  • What a cute way to describe boondocking… goin’ naked. Good thinking!
    We missed Crater Lake. When we were there around the end of April, the roads weren’t open yet. A bit of a dissapointment, but we can enjoy it through your eyes.
    Gorgeous photos!

    • Thanks Marsha! Too bad you had to miss Crater but you would definitely want to drive in this park when the roads are clear. We had never seen such large drop-offs with no shoulders on the roads and no guardrails at a National Park. Hope you are enjoying your new home and that you have gotten beyond all the work involved.

  • Wonderful post and great photos. Glad to hear you’re out of the shop. Did you or are you getting solar panels? We use a generator for boondocking, but I hate the noise even though ours is rather quiet. We’ve also learned how to run it minimally. I would like the panels for this winter and may have them installed in Phx.
    Savor the visit in that majestic spot… jealous 😉

    • Thanks Ingrid! We have been talking about solar panels for some time. Seeing what our friends have we are definitely going to move in that direction. Hope you are having a great weekend! 🙂

  • Yes, tears of joy, your poem so perfect! As you know, I know Crater lake intimately well. LuAnn, oh, gosh darn … cry for happy, for your beautiful words being shared with us! (anyone else reading this is going to go, huh? but I think you get it, no I know you do!) I am so pleased to see your creative talent. Thank you for sharing, Penny

    • Now I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. You seem to have helped me break down some doors I did not know were locked. I know how special Crater Lake is to you so I am pleased that you enjoyed the poem. There will be more to follow, I promise. In the meantime, watch your email as I will be sending you what I had put together before my internet connectivity decided to disappear. Thank you so much my dear friend. 🙂

  • Hi LuAnn. Wow. You are at a really beautiful place. The clear and clean air, the blue and greens, the heights and the depths. All swamping the senses. Fantastic. Love Ralph x

    • This is probably the most beautiful lake I have ever laid eyes on. When you stand gazing over it, you can just feel the centuries-old spirits swirling around you. It is a magnificent experience. On another subject, I must tell you how much your posts move me Ralph. You have such a gentle spirit and are such a kind man. I am honored to be a part of your blogging community. 🙂

    • Will do, and once again, we were so glad to be able to spend time with you and Ellen. Hope to see you both in San Diego. Safe travels until then. 🙂

  • Very beautiful, lovely pictures, it all seems very mediteranean Greece. So much so that I started humming the theme from Jason and the Argonauts. I love seeing places I’d never have known existed otherwise.

  • DROP DEAD GORGEOUS!!! I’m afraid to say, as you have so many, that this is the best solid set of pictures you ever posted.
    How I wish to do some “boondocking” more myself.

  • Lovely photos and a great poem to go with them. You are getting pretty close to my neighborhood. Will you be heading over to the coast any time soon?

    • I wish we could just spend several more months on the Oregon coast but unfortunately it is time for us to begin to head back toward So. Cal where we will be spending the winter doing some volunteering. I wish we had connected before we moved beyond Bandon. Our plans are to spend a couple months in Bandon next summer so hopefully we can connect then. Until then, I will be following your blog, enjoying your beautiful photos. 🙂

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