Thursday, August 4, 2011

Finally, we visit Crater Lake

We've lived in Oregon for 7 years now (and I’ve lived in the PNW all my life), don’t you think it’s time we visited Crater Lake? I had just got home from the Seattle GBF trip and in a flash it was time to hit the road again, off to Central Oregon to do some volcano exploration. First up, Crater Lake.

While waiting at the gate to pay the fee and get our day pass I spotted this little wildflower (or weed) and had to go take a closer look. It was so soft! When I decided to photograph it the butterfly (moth?) cruised in and seized the opportunity for a moment of fame. We heard the road we took to the lake had just opened up a couple weeks ago, seeing how much snow was still left on July 31st it was easy to see why. They reportedly get 44 ft of snow up there in the winter. I wouldn’t want to be the guy responsible for plowing this road! At the first view point there was this sign. No kidding that’s a steep drop off! Bits of asphalt had given way and tumbled down the cliff. Yikes. There were huge fields of these flowers; wherever the snow had receded they had popped up. And now a few tidbits from the Crater Lake visitor guide… - The lake is the deepest lake in the United States. - Fed by only rain and snow (no rivers or streams) it is considered to be the cleanest large body of water in the world (not sure who’s doing the fact checking on that one but it sounds reasonable). -About 6,800 years ago, at the climax of a series of dramatic eruptions the magma chamber was emptied and the volcano collapsed leaving a huge bowl shaped caldera. Geologists believe that lava flows which erupted after the collapse helped to seal the fractured caldera floor, allowing melting snow and rain to accumulate. So beautiful... We had lunch and explored the visitor center and lodge on the volcano rim. I was surprised to see gorgeous native Veratrum growing everywhere! When you do find these beauties in nurseries they don’t come cheap, I was dying to bring a few home with me. Digging plants in a National Park would be an ultimate in danger gardening wouldn’t it? (there were signs everywhere warning you not to do so). So striking! Dead and dying trees can be beautiful too. The lodge… I was all for pulling up a chair and enjoying a glass of wine at the lodge…that view! Then the husband reminded me that someone had to drive back down the steep curvy road with no guard rails. Damn.


  1. I couldn't get to your blog yesterday for some reason, Loree. Weird Blogger issues again, methinks. Anyway, what beautiful photos. It's been several years since I've been to Crater Lake and I had forgotten about that drive up but oh yes, I was a freaking basket case. [The days before meds.] It sounds like you had an awe-inspiring time.

  2. How beautiful and dangerous! Those white flower look like a cross between tulips and poppies to me, very interesting. Loved your comment over at GardenBook about the middle of the road.

  3. Your butterfly is indeed a butterfly and not a moth. It is a Western Pine Elfin.


  4. So glad you finally made it! I have to admit, I was kind of shocked at just how BLUE the water is...even when you get right down to the water...astounding. I really wish we had spent a few days there...there is so much to see and do. I saw a bunch of Veratrum growing around Mirror Lake a few weeks ago and had similar thoughts ;-)

  5. I remember staying in the lodge with my parents before the remodel (moldy little rooms but great meals and evenings by the fire). I had to twist R's arm a bit to go there (another native Oregonian who had never been). Did you happen to visit The Pinnacles?

  6. I LOVE Crater glad you finally visited. Now you know what alll the fuss is about!

    I think your first little wildflower is buckwheat, and the second ones look like some type of anemone to me.

  7. This looks like it was the perfect trip. I felt happy just looking at the photos.

  8. Wow what a trip, looks like fun. Living on Vancouver Island I often dream of roadtriping south of the border. This is good inspiration.

  9. WOW, gorgeous place! although a little scary, yikes the road is close to the edge, made me weak at the knees just thinking about it.

    Also, thanks for stopping by my blog, Yes I missed the fling...sniff sniff! I had fully paid and everything, but gracious Lorene was able to refund due to last min personal reasons. I was so beyond disappointed to have missed it. I was really looking forward to meeting everyone so much!!! Agh it kills me still especially as it was right here in my own backyard!! It looks like it was a fabulous time and I've enjoyed reading everyone's posts from the blog list who attended. Maybe I'll catch you at the next one...Cheers Julia

  10. Stunning! A friend told me once that it's considered good luck to jump in. So did you?

    I think I saw that same Veratrum at Mt. Rainier, which we visited after the Fling. I was so surprised to see such a lush plant popping up amid shrinking snows. And to see snow in July absolutely blew all our minds.

    Good thing no one has peed in the lake or they'd have to drain it to keep it clean, eh? (Private joke!)

    BTW, I posted about your garden today. Hope you like it.

  11. What a lovely tour Loree, looks like you've had some temporary relief from the heatwave in such a 'cool' looking place.

    Veratrum takes ages to bulk up to saleable size from seed, minimum 5 years from what I gather hence the usually hefty price tag.

  12. Just read and drooled over the garden photos that Pam took during her visit to your gardens. You really should be featured in a magazine!

  13. I have never seen such nice pics of that place, nor have I been there. That looks like a great trip you had!

    Garden / plant tie-in - a wholesale nursery manager in Abq gave a tour for a bunch of us landscape industry people. He stated how some of their plants were selected from Crater Lake for suitability to Abq - one look at your pics, and my suspicion of his desert-phobia was clear! Crater Lake looks so pleasant and refreshing.

  14. Stunning--thanks for sharing! I want veratrum in my yard *so* badly.

  15. Grace, actually I think I was partially to blame for that. I scheduled the post for the 4th but then hit "publish" and it posted it the evening of the 3rd, then pulled it. Dunno...

    As for the drive Andrew kept pointing at something over the edge and pretending to drive toward it, a favorite trick of his.

    Darla, you are right about the flowers...very much like a cross.

    Thank you Greg! (I am insect stupid as well as tree stupid).

    scott, we had more exploring to do in the area so we didn't make it right down to the water, unfortunately. I would have liked to.

    ricki, we did not! Instead drove down to Klamath Falls (the husband wanted to see it).

    MulchMaid, thank you for the flower id's!

    kate, it really was. After being in the city (Seattle) the week before it was a great change up to go rural!

    Nat, and those of us south of the border dream of road-tripping to your island!

    Julia, well heck, at least you got a refund, that Lorene is a pretty sweet character!

    Pam, good luck? No. That thought scares me! You should have seen all the people climbing all over the was almost as big of an attraction as the lake! As for your post...OMG! Thank you! You made it all look so good!

    Mark and Gaz, that makes sense (the Veratrum)...and while it was gorgeous I have to admit there's been no heat wave here that needs escaping from. While the rest of the country bakes we are stuck at 83. (not that I'm complaining!)

    Darla, thank you!

    DD, get out! Seriously? Comparing Crater Lake to Abq? Desert-phobia indeed.

  16. pasque flower?

  17. Whether I would be drinking or not, I would want a designated driver for that trip. How could anyone keep their eyes on the road with that view?


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