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.
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!
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.
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.
With 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.
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.
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.
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).
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!