Crater Lake

August 22, 1989

On our approach to the Crater Lake area, south on 97 and then west on 138, we had patches of sunshine. But when we turned south off 138 onto the northern approach road to Crater Lake we could see the clouds hanging over the mountains. When we reached the park entrance, the Ranger informed us that we had picked a foggy day and we might not get to see the lake at all. We drove on into fog that became so dense that you could only see a couple of carlengths. We drove on to the visitor center/cafeteria area in the dense fog. There were steep dropoffs into the opaque fog on our right and no railings. On the left were pulloffs which were obviously viewpoints toward the lake, but as the Ranger had suggested, we couldn't see the water at all through the dense fog.

Above is our first view of the Crater Lake area. At least we think there was a lake out there - it was one of the big overlooks. It was certainly a contrast to what we saw on the 1982 trip, above right. We went to the visitor center and talked to the Ranger there. She explained that they had these fogs every couple of weeks and that they usually lasted about a day and a half. We joked with her about doing something about the weather and then went outside to a viewpoint. As we left, she said that she wished she had a magic button to make the fog go away. We went to a model of the lake, shown at right with Rod pointing to our location. Not more than 15 minutes after we left the Ranger, the fog blew off for a few minutes and we got spectacular views of Wizard Island, Phantom Ship and the whole lake. As we stood there in wonder, the Ranger walked out to us and said "Hey, I found that button!". We told her we would recommend her highly.

The view of the lake below has hints of the almost luminous blue of the lake on sunny days. At least it was a pleasant reminder of what we had seen on the previous occasion.

Crater Lake under the fog with hints of its sunny-day blue color.

A nice view of Wizard Island on Crater Lake. This foggy view is an intriguing contrast to the view of the same setting on the 1982 trip west.

As the fog was blowing around, we would get glimpses of luminous blue color from various points on the lake as the unobstructed sun would strike a given point. The blue areas like that shown at right were tantalizing glimpses of what it would be like if the full sun hit the lake.

This is a view along one of the steep sides of the lake to see tiny Phantom Ship Island tucked away in one cove of the lake.

A closer view of the setting of Phantom Ship shows features on the shore that look like large ash heaps. I take those to be volcanic structures from the volcanic origin of the crater, probably basalt.

Looking down the steep slopes to the water showed multiple shades of blue in the water and an almost glowing green on the trees.

The morning was cool in the intermittent fog, so we enjoyed hiking around for different viewpoints. For moments we would get the brilliant blue of the water, and then the fog would roll back in.

Looking through the low bows of the fir trees to the end of Wizard Island

Continuing my reverie in view of this remarkable deep blue lake. The green trees made an exquisite contrast to the blue waters. Note the little volcanic formation of rock between the trees.

Our old friend the Clark's nutcracker outlined against the blue of the lake.

Even on a foggy day, it was hard to leave the blue water with the lush green trees.

With a last look at the mini-volcanic cone of Wizard Island, we headed for lower elevations.

Additional views of Crater Lake
Flowers, squirrels of Crater Lake area
Back to Oregon Coast

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