Crater Lake, Oregon’s Sapphire

There’s real sense of achievement when you tick a big item off your Bucket List. Especially an item that’s been on it since the very first draft. The feeling of anticipation you get as you approach is a heady rush. Especially if there are last-minute obstacles in the way, and you’re still not sure if today will actually be the day…

Last year we visited Oregon for the first time. Absolutely top of the list of things I wanted to see in the Beaver State was Crater Lake National Park. But there was an eleventh hour hitch.

Earlier in the trip, we’d visited Mount St Helens in Washington, another volcanic icon that was on my very first Bucket List, only to find it cloaked in cloud. Disappointing.

Mount St Helens is in there somewhere

Mount St Helens is in there somewhere

On the morning we were due to visit Crater Lake, we left Bend early to call in at Lava Butte, part of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument. There we experienced a terrible sinking feeling, when one of the rangers told us they weren’t sure if the winter snowfalls had melted enough for Crater Lake to have opened yet!

At the summit of Lava Butte

At the summit of Lava Butte

As we got nearer and nearer to Crater Lake the butterflies in our stomachs got increasingly energetic. Would we even be able to get to the thing we’d come all this way to see?!

As luck would have it, we got the best of both worlds. Although the east rim of the crater was still closed, the road around the west rim had just opened. Not only did we get to see this incredible natural spectacle, we got to view it in the best possible conditions. Snow still draped the crater’s rim and the sky was a sapphire blue to match the lake itself. Perfect.

Our first view of Crater Lake

Our first view of Crater Lake

For roughly 400,000 years, a volcano called Mount Mazama stood on the present-day site of Crater Lake. But about 7700 years ago, Mount Mazama literally blew its top, in a series of cataclysmic eruptions. When the ash settled (six inches thick across central Oregon, and as far afield as Nevada, Montana and Alberta), the top of Mount Mazama was gone.

Wizard Island, a volcanic cinder cone that formed in the centuries following the Mount Mazama eruptions

Wizard Island, a volcanic cinder cone that formed in the centuries following the Mount Mazama eruptions

IMG_4479With the magma chamber beneath the volcano now empty, the part of the summit that hadn’t exploded outwards collapsed inwards, forming a particular type of volcanic crater called a caldera. Before the eruptions, Mount Mazama had stood approximately 12,000 feet tall. Today, the highest point on the crater rim is Hillman Peak, 8151 feet above sea level.

Wizard Island from further around the rim

Wizard Island from further around the rim

Over the next few centuries, Mount Mazama’s caldera partially filled with water to form Crater Lake. Reaching a maximum depth of almost 2000 feet, it’s the second deepest lake in North America. And with no streams running into it, Crater Lake contains very little sediment. As a result, its waters are extremely clear, leading to its amazing blue colour.

The rim of the crater reflected on the clear waters of the lake

The rim of the crater reflected on the clear waters of the lake

It’s great to tick items off your Bucket List. But it’s even better to share those moments with friends and family. Luckily, I’m never short of companions on my Journeys, and my visit to Crater Lake was no different.

With Rich, Sue and Phyllis

With Rich, Sue and Phyllis

With some of my friends

With some of my friends

This post was inspired by the themes Achievement from Michelle (of the Daily Post), Anticipation from Nancy (of Nancy Merrill Photography), Sapphire from Jennifer (of Jennifer Nichole Wells) and Companion from Sue (of A Word In Your Ear).

Stitched panorama of Crater Lake

Stitched panorama of Crater Lake

While you’re admiring the sapphire beauty of Crater Lake, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

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About Jaspa

Star of my own award-winning adventure novels, Jaspa's Journey. Geocaching addict & F1 fan. Adventure Journeyer & blogger extraordinaire. Check out my website: And don’t forget to download the books and see what the buzz is all about!
This entry was posted in Adventure, Environment, Jaspa's Journey, Photography, Travel, USA and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Crater Lake, Oregon’s Sapphire

  1. How wonderful that you were able to have such great weather for this trip. The pictures are stunning. Thanks for joining the challenge!

  2. The shot you subtitled ‘Our first view of Crater Lake’ gave me the tingles!

    Such a breath taking view – I think this entry under ‘Achievement’ is one of the better ones I’ve seen today!

    Thanks for sharing this ;3

  3. Gorgeous images here 🙂 Disappointing for your journey I’m sure, but Mount St. Helen covered in cloud makes for a gorgeous image – I am so drawn to it! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

  4. The photo of the reflections is super! Bu I enjoyed them all. I visited Crater Lake as a child but think now I should go back again.


  5. What an absolutely breathtaking place. Wow! I can certainly see why it was on your bucket list. 🙂

  6. Beautiful photos! Great to read about Crater Lake!

  7. Beautiful place. I really reminded me of a cooler version of the crater lake that we hiked to in the Philippines. I don’t usually post links to my blog on comments but I thought you might be interested to see a tropical version of a crater lake: Caroline

  8. jpeggytaylor says:

    What an amazingly beautiful place! The lake is such a fabulous sapphire blue isn’t it! Fascinating to learn about the ancient volcano too 🙂

  9. Pingback: One Word Photo Challenge: Mahogany | Jennifer Nichole Wells

  10. mlgray117 says:

    These are such amazing photos! I would definitely love to visit.

  11. Pingback: Finding Nemo in paper mache | Non perfect writing

  12. Pingback: Sam’s Ses Challenge #17: Blue | Jaspa's Journal

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