When asked to sum up what makes southern Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park so special, superintendent Craig Ackerman, who has worked at the park for almost eight years, didn’t hesitate in waxing poetic.
“It’s a combination of scenery — a deep turquoise-blue lake that’s surrounded by mountains and cliffs that are up to 2,000 feet high, colored in combinations of grays, yellows, pinks and browns,” Ackerman said. “When winter comes and there isn't any wave activity on Crater Lake, the lake looks exactly like a mirror. Everything in perimeter of the lake is perfectly reflected, as well as the clouds, and that’s why it has earned its nickname ‘Mirror of Heaven.’ And if you were to see that, I think you would agree.”
It can be difficult to imagine that this tranquil mirror, or Crater Lake, lies where Mount Mazama, a steep composite volcano, once stood. Almost 8,000 years ago, the formidable volcano erupted with tremendous force. Mount Mazama also collapsed within itself to reveal a profound caldera, filled over time with rain and snowmelt. Today, Crater Lake has a maximum depth of approximately 1,943 feet and is considered to be the deepest lake in the U.S.
This story originally ran online on 5/16/16. Photo is by Creative Commons user scpgt.