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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