Without a doubt, the highlight of my Oregon trip was the stay at Crater Lake, which is a former volcano that fell in on itself some 7,700 years ago. The guides say it took all over three hours for Mount Mazama to erupt, then cave in on itself and drop at least 6,000 feet. That is, once all the lava had spewed out, there was nothing to fill the mountain’s inside cavity, so it caved in. The result is this incredible lake in a caldera that is six miles across and 1,943 feet deep. Centuries of rain and snow created this lake. There’s been a lot of volcanoes up and down the Pacific Coast, but none have left such a huge caldera as this one. However, it’s puny compared to the Valles Caldera near Jemez, N.M. which is 13 miles across.
What is so amazing is the blue color which is partly due to the fact that no rivers flow into the lake, which means no outside dirt comes in. My friend Gail Dall and I and Veeka stayed at the lodge on the lake’s southern end; a really nice place that got refurbished some 20 years ago. Sitting on the front porch/deck was lovely as you just drank in this huge blue puddle in front of you. I wouldn’t let Veeka wander far, as the nearby drop-offs are sheer cliffs that go right to the lake’s edge. The weather was
unbelievably gorgeous and the highlight of our stay was the 2-hour boat ride around the lake. First, one had to hike 40 minutes down a steep grade to get to the dock. Then you were taken past all these cool volcanic formations that showed how the mountain was constructed in its interior before it erupted. There’s even a cool cinder cone called Wizard Island – a volcano within a volcano that one can walk around. But that would have been another boat trip. The 45-minute slog back up the path was very difficult. Veeka led the way while Gail and I huffed and puffed.
The presence of snow on the ground ensured that we could not do the entire Rim Drive but we saw enough in the two days we had there. Would have loved to have been there longer. We returned to Gail’s home in Beaverton where Jamie (her husband) awaited us for more good times. Saw another old friend, Bettie Mitchell, the day before we left and then – whoosh – we were back in Tennessee.
Am now beyond overwhelmed with the move and arranging all sorts of things, from who’s going to take care of my yard once I’m gone to Veeka’s school in Alaska and arranging for that. AND, what sort of health care we should sign up for. The premiums for any coverage in Alaska are enormous and I can see they’re going to eat up more of my salary than I’d like. I’m juggling all sorts of plan ideas and it’s a massive headache. I hate moving, and it looks like I’ll be doing more of it in the next few years – sigh.