Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Crater Lake

I've been wanting to take the kids to Crater Lake for a few years now, and we finally made it. We spent a lovely day exploring this exquisite National Park, our second this year. (We went to the Grand Canyon in January. These places are so beautiful makes me want to buy an National Parks Pass and hit the road.) Erik and I visited Crater Lake ten years ago when I was pregnant with Peregrine. Seeing how it's only a few hours away, it was high time we made another trip that direction!
We took a seven mile detour away from the lake to view The Pinnacles.  These were formed when gasses from the volcano escaped through fumaroles and pushed up through layers of ash. The hot gasses cemented the ash into these incredible formations. This picture doesn't do justice to how big these are! You can see a little river snaking it's way along the bottom of the canyon.
These pinnacles reminded me of sand castles. They were probably 30 or 40 feet high.
The blue, blue waters of the lake. We threw in some educational commentary on why water appears blue and why this lake in particular is so clear. 
The white bark pines grow all around the rim of the lake. Raphael was the first to spot a Clark's Nutcracker, the bird that is responsible for the spread of these trees. Their cones don't open without the help of the birds, who eat some seeds and cache some for later. The trees tend to grow in clusters, evidence of forgotten stashes of seeds. 
Even though it was late July, there were still large patches of snow on the ground. The kids happily played in the snow for a while, and I enjoyed seeing many kinds of wildflowers growing on the slopes of the volcano.
We stopped at several viewpoints around the rim of the crater. In retrospect, I wish we'd taken more time to let the kids run around and explore some of the trails. There is also a great Junior Ranger Program offered by the National Parks that they would have enjoyed participating in if we'd planned our route a little better. Note for next time: Stop in at the Visitor Center first so they can pick up the Junior Ranger materials to enjoy throughout the day. There is a "Scavenger Hunt" activity that puts them on the lookout for certain animals, plants, etc., adding to the educational, uh, er, I mean fun aspect of visiting the park.
Another vista along the road leading out to the Pinnacles. Quite dramatic.
This was toward the end of the day on the East Rim. You can see the great orange "Pumice Castle" on the steep slope leading down to the lake. It was interesting to see the different strata and rock formations around the lake. One note for next time: drive clockwise around the lake. This way you'll be on the inner side of the road and not next to the steep drop-offs on the outer side! (We went counter clock-wise and the road in places is a bit narrow and lacking in guardrails.)
Here we are at Crater Lake. So thankful we were able to visit this amazing place. 


  1. I so love the deep blue of CraterLake too. I'm glad your family got to experience such a beautiful place. oh, and I love those grubby heads, lol. Blessings always dear folk.

  2. Beautiful photos, and a more beautiful family! God bless you all ~


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