Crater Lake: Oregon's Magnificent Gem

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Wizard Island. Phantom Ship. The Pinnacles. These sound like places that could have easily appeared in a Harry Potter novel. Actually, they’re just some of the features found in Oregon’s only national park, Crater Lake.

This caldera was created when the volcanic 10,000+ foot Mount Mazama erupted, pushing so much of its interior out that the mountain’s walls collapsed. Over the past 77 centuries, the 1,943’ deep giant’s bathtub has filled with 4.6 trillion gallons of fresh water. The fact that the crater has very little organic matter allows UV light to penetrate down more than a football field. The result is a lake that resembles a gargantuan sapphire with the enviable title of some of the purest water on Earth.

We sat in the lodge’s wicker rocking chairs on the extensive porch, gazing out and drinking our tall glasses of ice tea. Some chipmunks scampered around us and two miniature motorboats ferried tourists around the lake below us. What a way to enjoy summer in the Pacific Northwest.