C is for...Crater Lake
Nearly halfway through the first week of the A-Z Challenge and we are to the letter C. I hope everyone is plugging along nicely and not feeling pressured yet! Today's letter is representative of...
I love Crater Lake. It's beautiful, fascinating, and awesome. Located in Southern Oregon, Crater Lake is a body of water that has formed inside the remains of a once active volcano in the Cascade Range. The caldera formed by the massive eruption of Mount Mazama 7700 years ago is now filled with crystal clear blue water and two islands; the main one being Wizard Island. Fed only by rainfall and melting snow, the water is completely replaced every 250 years and one of the purest bodies of water in America in terms of absent pollutants. The park is open year-round and visited by nearly half a million people annually, but many roads become impassible during the winter months.
|Crater Lake at sunset. Photo by Marc Adamus|
Spanning some 5 miles by 6 miles, the depth of the lake fluctuates depending on climate change, rainfall, and snow melt, but it averages between 1148 feet and 1949 feet (at its deepest). This makes it the deepest lake in the US, the second deepest in North America, and the tenth deepest in the world. However, if you were to use the average depths of lakes in the world, Crater Lake is the deepest in the Western Hemisphere and the third deepest in the world. Going one step further, if you were to compare average depths for all lakes above sea-level, Crater Lake is the deepest. But that's just cutting hairs ;)
In terms of climate, the lake is situation in a region regarded as subalpine (immediately below the world's treeline) with an average snowfall of 13.3 meters (535.5 inches) often remaining until mid-July. Temperatures are mild and dry in the summer and bitter cold in the winter.
Crater Lake is not only beautiful scenery, but there are a multitude of activities that one can participate in. In the summer months, you can camp, hike, take boat tours, feed chipmunks, and fish in the National Park. In the winter months, as long as you can get to the lake, there are snowmobile tours, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing in certain areas. Whatever your chosen activity, Crater Lake has something for you.
Historically, Crater Lake is regarded as a sacred site for the Native American Klamath tribe. Their legend claims that the formation of the caldera was the result of a battle between the sky god, Skell, and the god of the underworld, Llao. Mount Mazama was destroyed during this battle and Crater Lake was formed. The lake is often used for vision quests by members of the tribe and those who complete the often dangerous task of scaling the caldera are considered to have higher spiritual powers.
|Crater Lake in the summer|