It was so blue. The white snow surrounding the crater accentuated the deep cobalt color, its clarity taking on an almost surreal appearance.
I was standing at the edge of a volcano that had erupted thousands of years ago. The top collapsed leaving a gaping crater, or caldera, that gradually filled with snow, condensation, and rain runoff. The shifting clouds took turns hiding Wizard Island, a mini volcano within the greater volcano. Science is amazing.
I took off on snowshoes intent on exploring different parts of the lake. While the main Rim Drive was still closed due to massive amounts of snow, I wasn’t deterred. It was slow-going since the moisture in the air rendered the snow wet and sticky. I plodded on, using my poles to propel me ever upward and onward and to help me stabilize along the awkward sloping edge.
It’s easy to visit a national park to simply see “the thing” it is known for. Yes, the lake was beautiful, but I like to enjoy the whole package. The Oregon landscape riddled with evergreen trees made me pause in reflection. The creeping clouds were fun to trace with my eyes. The various shades of white found in the snow piqued curiosity in my mind.
The national parks are more than just one resource. In fact, in its very definition a national park protects entire natural systems, whereas a national monument safeguards a specific object of historical, cultural, or scientific interest.
Crater Lake wouldn’t be Crater Lake without the aggressive rise of the mountain, the snow-covered forest, and the unique rock outcroppings surrounding it.
And I enjoyed all of it.