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7,700 years ago, Mount Mazama (an ancient volcano) collapsed forming Crater Lake in its caldera. The pure blue lake is the deepest in the United States and is famous for its bright blue color. The Lake owes its intense blue color to its depth and clarity. Because the lake is so deep and clear, the longer rays of the light spectrum are absorbed while the shorter waves (the ‘BIV’ component of ‘ROYGBIV’) are reflected back as the color we see.
The awesomeness of this park is on par with that of the Grand Canyon, but not as vast. We only had a day here and managed to get in a hike to Garfield Peak, along with other activities which will be covered in future posts.
The Garfield Peak Trail is a 3.4 mile roundtrip, popular trail with over 1000 feet in elevation. The highest point is over 8000 feet, so you are already starting at a high elevation of around 7000 feet at Rim Village. It is a steep hike to gorgeous views.
The path to Garfield Peak begins behind the historic lodge. It is steep and strenuous…a steady incline to the top. Our group was a little whiny that day, having gotten up before dawn to beat the crowds into the park. And the uphill hiking at high elevations kicked our butts (except for my husband, who runs Spartan races.) Even so, we made it there and back in two hours by taking it slow and taking breaks. It was so worth it…all along the way we were treated to the most breathtaking views.
We left at 8:00 am and had the trail to ourselves for most of the hike. It was starting to get busy when we descended. I had to watch my footing, especially on the descent…loose rock/sand makes it easy to slip and fall off a cliff or turn an ankle. I would not do this hike with young children.
I’d used the SLR for photos on the ascent and then switched to a lighter point-and-shoot camera for the descent. This camera has a great 60x Optical zoom, so it was lucky that I was holding it as we reached the meadow at the bottom of the trail and saw a hawk up in the trees.
Location: Crater Lake, OR
Designation: National Park
Date designation declared: 5/22/1902
Date of my visit: 8/25/2016