Thursday, August 28, 2014

Let's Go! Crater Lake, Oregon's National Park

Let's take a pause from the Garden Blogger's Fling posts. I've taken my husband's advice and this week's post is about our recent visit to Crater Lake.
Crater Lake is Oregon's only National Park, a lake left behind after Mt. Mazama blew its lid around 5600 B.C. in an explosion some 40 times more powerful than that of another Cascade Range mountain, Mt. St. Helens in 1980. The park was established in 1902 and is the nation's fifth oldest park.


It is also the deepest lake in the U.S. at nearly 2,000 feet. It is an impossible shade of blue and something to behold, for sure, even for this native Oregonian. Its pristine forest areas are wonderful to explore and its flora is indeed very alpine at about 8,900 feet.


But before we get to the lake, we must go through the desert . . . the Pumice Desert.


Looking west. This is a desert with pumice some 200 feet deep.


I believe this is sulfur flowered buckwheat or Eriogonum umbellatum. A few of these are scattered about, but not much else grows in the desert. This is one tough plant.

Now let's go visit that lake:


There's Wizard Island


And the beautiful water . . .


Mountain hemlock needles. These are abundant in the alpine forests of Oregon.


The twisted trunks splay their own kind of beauty.


Some kind of rush, maybe dagger leaf rush? Perhaps my friends at Rhone St. Gardens can help identify, the resident grass experts.





Find the chipmunk! (There is no chipmunk. My husband wrote that.)


We have to remind ourselves that the lake area receives 550 inches of snow each Winter. This is some tough grass! And beautiful. I thought Rhone St. Gardens would appreciate these photos. I sure do!




All along the banks of the lake is arctostaphylos.


We found this view while hiking the Discovery Point trail from the primary viewing area near the Crater Lake Lodge on the south rim.




We called this the Salvador Dali tree.
 If someone would hang an alarm clock on this trunk we could sell it at an auction house. (Again, husband humor.)


Evening falls across the lake. This cloud bank disappeared and the recent SuperMoon lit the sky like a bright lunar flashlight. Made star-gazing impossible, but fans of the moon must have swooned. 




We stayed at the Crater Lake Lodge which was a treat. A lovely clean room, a beautiful lodge, a huge fireplace and bar/restaurant. There are chairs overlooking the lake where the restaurant serves drinks and goodies, you can watch the sunrise or enjoy a night cap, which I recommend. It was restored several years ago, and is superb. At one time, it was more or less an old barn of a building destined for the wrecking crew. Thank goodness that someone saved this beautiful building.


Alpine forest and meadow, across the parking lot. They seem to have really been thoughtful about landscaping up here - everything I saw were native plants appropriate to this area.


Veratrum californicum or corn lily. Probably looked better in the spring but a beautiful plant all the same.


Beautiful grasses. Super background. Sigh. Let's go back!


Agoseris aurantiaca or mountain dandelion. A very lovely wildflower.






Here is some Ribes cereum or wax currant. Native to the area, beautiful and plentiful. Many uses for this little beauty.


And now for something completely bizarre, The Pinnacles:
These odd rock formations are in a canyon on the eastern side of the lake. A few miles off Rim Drive, you wonder where in the heck are we going and then you see The Pinnacles! Wow!




Pretty deep down there. Right in the middle of the picture is a small sand-slide. We saw a little bird scattering sand. We have no idea what it may have been seeking. Nor did we have a lens large enough to capture it. Go Little Bird! Go!




Anyway, The Pinnacles are well worth the extra effort. Be careful, though, as most of your viewing is down from the edge of a cliff.



A little later, we went for a hike down to the water. The trail was lined with arctostaphylos.


Yowza! Isn't it beautiful?


I couldn't get over how much of it there was. Plentiful, healthy and native.




This little guy or gal wanted to be my new buddy. She ran over my feet, looking for a lift, I think.




Some kind of sage brush, very pretty. We did not see as much of it as you would imagine.


No, this is not an outhouse. We think it to be a weather station. Down along the shore, we took off our shoes and socks and turned our toes blue! Well, no, not really, but it is mucho refreshing.


Down along the water, you really get a sense of how vast this lake/crater really is! Talk about feeling like a speck in the Universe!


Alpine forests and arctostaphylos border the watery edges of Crater Lake.


The magic diamond sparkles of a perfect summer's day.


So I will leave you with this shot from the rim down to the lake. There is no blue like Crater Lake blue. There is no place like Crater Lake, and we urge everyone to take the 4-plus hours drive from Portland to experience this magnificent natural place if you are in the area.

It is magic, and it is pristine, still. We are lucky to be able to explore such natural wonders, and it's a treat to see it has not been overcome by invasive species of animals or plants. This is why I garden like I do, to continue to keep magic places like this available for us all.

Thank you for reading and until next week, happy gardening!

Upcoming blog posts: Farwest Nursery Trade Show, my garden in the late summer, and many more Garden Blogger's Fling gardens and nurseries to explore, too! Stay tuned...

22 comments :

  1. I was scrolling through, reading and enjoying your photos and how beautiful the lake is until I got to the Pinnacles...wow!

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    1. Wow, yes! Aren't they the strangest thing? Kind of an eerie feeling but beautiful too.

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  2. Oh my.

    Surely a place of extremes: 2000 feet deep?! 500 inches of snow a year?! Pumice 200 ft deep?! It's all so difficult to imagine, so thanks for the wonderful photos! I'm sitting in the heat and humidity remembering what it's like to be in the cool, fresh mountains. Sigh. (That's a good sigh)

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    1. It is a place of extremes. Very, very beautiful too. If you are ever in Oregon again and have the chance to go, we highly recommend it. Cool mountain air...ah, yes!

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  3. That's beautiful - I always wanted to visit there. Now I only want to go more!

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    1. Matthew, GO!! :) Grab some friends and go. There are cabins, too you can rent for much less money, but the lodge is really quiet and lovely. Do it! As an Oregonian it's your duty :)

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  4. It's so beautiful. I still have never been, but it's definitely on my bucket list.

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    1. You need to go, Mindy! Grab the family, you can camp or get a hut or the lodge...it's totally family friendly.

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  5. I can't believe that as a native to the PNW I only visited Crater Lake some 3 or 4 years ago! Your photos capture the wonder perfectly. So glad to see a shot of Veratrum californicumeven if it's looking a bit spent. That and all the Archtostaphylos are what I remember most about our visit. Oh and that blue!

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    1. Glad you visited, isn't it amazing? Thanks for the kind words....I know that Veratrum - I didn't see a whole lot of it but it's late in the season, and wow, those arctos...aren't they dreamy?

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  6. Could your sagebrush possibly be Ericameria nauseosa? I saw lots of it when I was in Bend, and driving back down to Ca, but did not see any at Crater Lake. I was too distracted I guess! Beautiful pics.

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    1. Wow Max...it does look like Ericameria nauseosa. What a name, eh? Thanks for the id and for the comments! Cheers!

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  7. I can only say wow! some day I´ll visit. Thanks for the virtual visit!

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  8. Hi Lisa! Thanks for reading and yes, maybe some day you can visit. If you are ever in Oregon again, we'll take you!

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  9. Wonderful post--seeing the plants as well as the blue lake made it even better. Thanks for sharing your journey.

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    1. You're welcome Hoover Boo! Thanks for reading..it's a special place indeed.

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  10. Beautiful!! I've never been there but it looks like it would be worth the trip. I wonder if the erosion that caused the Pinnacles was wind or water... 550 inches of snow is insane!! Gorgeous water! :o)

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    1. It is worth the trip, Casa Mariposa - I don't know about the Pinnacles, I would say you are right, it seems like this is an erosion landscape. It's gorgeous water indeed, and so clean and cold. Brrr...

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  11. Oh, I'd love to see it! One day! Thanks for sharing your visit, Chickadee.

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    1. Yes, one day indeed....it's totally worth the trip! Thanks for reading and posting, Pam! Stay cool....hopefully...!!

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  12. Beautiful post of a must-see destination! I love that there are still chipmunks there as there were back in 198...something when I was there. I think those little critters might have been my favorite part of my visit. They were so friendly. We didn't go hiking though and those formations are amazing! The plants are also pretty special and that blue... spectacular. Great post.

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  13. What a stunningly beautiful place. I wish I could drive 4 hours and see mountains and crystal blue lakes! You are very lucky :)

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