We’re @: Crater Lake National Park, Ore.
What’s here: Hiking trails, wildlife and the deepest lake in America. It is the most visually arresting national park we’ve ever been to.
How did it get here? According to the Klamath Indians that witnessed the great eruption, the Chief of the Underworld wanted the beautiful daughter of an indian chief. She refused the great chief and in his anger he rained fire and ash upon her people. In his rage, he is pulled down into the Underworld — and his mountaintop with him.
Really, how did it get here? About 7,700 years ago Mount Mazama had a catastrophic eruption sending ash around the world. And seemingly overnight, at least according to the Klamath Indians, the mountain disappeared, collapsing into itself. Rain and snow filled the remaining crater overtime to create Crater Lake.
Overeheard: “It’s the bluest blue I’ve ever seen.”
What to do: Drive around the rim — also known as the caldera — of the volcano. They also have their own post office, located at the Steel Visitor Center. There are also ranger lead activities throughout the day and for every interest.
Did you know: Being from the East Coast, we didn’t realize that the Cascade Mountains were formed by volcanic activity. Driving from Redmond south on 97 to Klamath Falls, we discovered many parks and attractions specific to this region’s “hot spots.” Wizard Island, an island within Crater Lake is a dormant, but not extinct, volcano.
Don’t miss: The Phantom Ship, a formation of solid lava 400,000 years old, which looks just like its name suggests. But what makes it cool is the optical illusion. From the crater top it looks to be a the same size as a tall ship when it is actually longer than a football field and taller than a 16-story building.
Where to stay: The Running Y Ranch, a Holiday Inn Resort, is just an hour south of the park. It is near Klamath Falls Lake, where the Klamath Indians most likely viewed the eruption of Mount Mazana. The lake is a great place for bird watching as it is on the migration path for many birds including the Bald Eagle.
For more information: Contact the National Park Service.