I had planned to get up early (like about 2 or 3 AM) and drive to Crater Lake for some night and dawn photography. I put out some warm clothes, set the alarm, and went to sleep. When the alarm went off, I talked myself out of getting up, and into a few more hours sleep.
I had originally planned to stay near Bend tonight, but instead, am staying south so that I could spend all day at Crater Lake. It was a good decision.
Soon after arriving, I decided to sign up for a boat ride. I had a choice between a two hour boat ride that toured the lake, or a five hour boat ride that included a three hour stop on Wizard Island, a cinder cone rising out of the lake. I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to five hours, but I went ahead and signed up for the Wizard Island trip. I’m glad I did. I hiked to the summit—relentlessly uphill; there doesn’t seem to be any flat ground on the island.
Here I am with my scruffy beard at the top of Wizard Island. (Click on any image to enlarge.) Yes, the water really is that blue. It is the deepest lake in the United States (seventh deepest in the world), and is among the clearest lakes in the world.
To get to the boat landing, you hike down the Cleetwood Trail, which means you get to hike back up the trail when you return. It’s about a mile long and descends 700 feet to the lake. This is also about the same distance and elevation change of the Wizard Island summit trail. So I did about four miles today, in 50-60 degree temperatures, at 6000-7000 feet elevation.
Even without the stop on Wizard Island, I would have found the boat tour interesting. We got to see a different perspective on the caldera, and I learned more about the lake than I had known before.
The infrared images below and at the beginning of this post are of the Phantom Ship, a rock formation in the lake. (The image at the start of this post was inspired by an Ansel Adams photo in Yosemite.)