Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Crater Lake

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I always felt a little embarrassed when Crater Lake came up in conversation. I've lived here basically my entire life, and until last week I'd never been there. It felt like I'd shirked one of every Oregonian's sacred duties. If you're among this blog's elite (i.e. few) Gentle Reader(s), you know I'm not real big on observing sacred duties, generally speaking, but this seemed like one I ought to take care of sooner or later.

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These are just six of several hundred photos I took there. I might post more later, although they're all sort of variations on the same theme. You go to Crater Lake, you take photos of the lake. If the Rim Drive is open (it wasn't), you drive all the way around the lake, and take more photos. If the trail down to the lake is open (it wasn't), maybe you hike down to the lake and back, taking photos. Possibly you visit the gift shop before you leave.

Crater Lake

It's a cliche that people tend to make whirlwind visits to national parks, staying just a few hours, maybe even driving through without stopping. Crater Lake is a place where you can do that reasonably and not feel guilty about it. I'm not trying to be snarky or disagreeable here, I'm just laying the facts out as they are. The lake is the main event. Once you've had your fill of looking at it, or taking pictures, there's not all that much else to do. You can stick around and take more pictures when the light changes, if you have the time. I'm told the hotel is really nice if you want to stay a few days and just relax and look at the lake. But I had other plans, and hours more to drive that day. So maybe next time. And there will absolutely, positively be a next time.

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About that blue color. Going on about the blueness of the lake is another cliche, and everyone says that cameras don't adequately capture the color. I thought that sounded really dumb, and I'm still not ready to buy into the general statement. But I will say that my camera didn't do it justice. You can see from the photos here that it's not precisely the same blue in each photo. That part at least is accurate. Probably it's the position of the sun and the direction I was facing each time, something like that.

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If you want to see the really interesting parts of the lake, you'll need a submarine. The lake supports unique, ancient colonies of deep moss, and a variety of simple organisms that live on the moss. The water's so clear that photosynthesis can apparently still occur 759 feet below the lake's surface. Try doing that in the ocean, or anywhere else. The USGS has more info here and here.

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There's probably no realistic way they'd ever offer submarine rides in the lake for paying customers, as fun as that would be. I realize it wouldn't be cost-effective, and there'd be all sorts of environmental impact stuff to worry about, and concerns about commercializing the park and whatnot. Usually I line up squarely on the side of zero commercialism, zero development, zero impact on the park's environment. But I'd be willing to make a rare exception if it meant I could ride a submarine in the heart of a volcano high up in the Cascades, to visit an ancient moss colony that shouldn't exist. Sign me up, already.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Cyclotram,
I love your blog! Lots of great stuff in here. I was wondering if you found "The Lady of the Woods" at Crater Lake?
Unrelated, I was also wondering if you happen to know why Portlandia holds a trident?