Crater Lake Oddities
Well, we officially hit eight months on the road! We celebrated with a carton of ice cream, in case you are wondering. (Which isn’t too special, since sometimes we celebrate, like, a Tuesday with a carton of ice cream)
We visited our 39th (of 59) national park at Crater Lake in southern Oregon. If you have never been to Oregon before (which we had not) we would kindly like to shove you out your door to go. It might be the unseasonably incredible weather, but we have loved every minute of being in the beaver state.
Crater Lake is the only national park in Oregon, but it is a very important one. As the fifth established national park in the system, it is a favorite of many visitors (almost 500,000) from nearby and far away.
We hit a roadblock when we were planning our visit to Crater Lake as we discovered that the Rim Drive that circles the lake is closed until summer. Most of the other roads, visitor centers, campgrounds, and other services were also shut down for the summer. But, thankfully, the road to the rim was clear and open. Cole and I had an amazing two days in the park, trying cross-country skiing for the first time, joining a snowshoe hike, and gazing at that big blue lake.
We also learned a thing or two from the exhibits and movie the park provides. Since we don’t have much other advice for visiting the park (because we weren’t able to access much), we thought we’d celebrate this beautiful park with a few odd — but fun — Crater Lake facts.
Here ya go!
- Crater Lake was formed when 12,000-ft Mount Mazama erupted with a force six times greater than that of Mount St. Helens. The top of the mountain then collapsed in on itself 7,700 years ago, leaving a gigantic crater 4,000 feet deep at the highest rim point. Add precipitation to that crazy mix and you’ve got a big ol’ lake. (I know, I always thought it was a meteor crater too! Bummer.)
- One day a kid in Kansas named William Gladstone Steele was eating lunch that was wrapped in newspaper. On that page of newspaper was a picture of Crater Lake. He then made it his mission to not only visit the lake, but protect it as a National Park. He was successful on May 22, 1902.
- Crater Lake receives an average of 44 feet of snow per year, making it one of the snowiest inhabited places in North America. In the winter of 1932-33, they received a record of 73 feet.
- Removing all that snow is a serious business. Snow plows were first used at Crater Lake in 1930. Before that they used shovels and dynamite. The snow crew includes 6 operators and 2 mechanics. Steve Thomas has been an operator since 1979. Each winter the crew moves enough snow to create a ski trail 3 feet wide, 6 inches deep and long enough to circle the equator.
- The lake has only frozen over twice in recorded history because it rarely gets cold enough and the winds still enough for enough time. The last time was in 1949 when several daring rangers walked across the lake to Wizard Island.
- The extreme clarity of Crater Lake (which broke the world record in the 1940s) is caused by several factors. One of those factors is that no streams (bringing non-water stuff to lakes) run into or out of the lake. The water level is maintained by precipitation, evaporation and seepage.
- For over 100 years, a hemlock tree has been floating upright around the lake. It has a nickname: Old Man of the Lake. Rangers and visitors used to be allowed to climb on it, and now are always on the lookout for where it might be on a given day.
- Crater Lake is the: deepest lake in the United States, ninth deepest lake in the world, third deepest lake by average depth in the world, and deepest lake by average depth whose deepest point is above sea level. Try and memorize those stats, ha. (1,943 feet deep, 4.5 miles wide, 6 miles long)
- No fish are native to the lake, but several species were brought in to attract tourists. Today, visitors can fish for the unwanted fish for free without a license.
- The color of Crater Lake is known by most scientists as the best color ever in the whole world. #facts
Did you learn something? Aren’t our national parks amazing? Don’t you want to go see one now? (Good. Do it!)
Don’t miss our Crater Lake video to see more!