Holy shitballs

Back in college, my favorite undergraduate class of my major was Limnology, or the study of lakes and rivers. I loved it so much that I went to grad school and eventually helped teach it as a TA while doing soil and water chemistry of a lake ecosystem.

In the world of limnology, there are three big lakes everyone talks about. It shouldn’t be a surprise that certain lakes always get talked about in a study of the subject since I suspect every English major has to know Chaucer, Math majors gotta know Erdös, and Physicists hear about Newton, Feynman, and Hawking all the time.

So among the limnologists I rolled with, the big three were Lake Tahoe in California (a good demonstration of a glacial lake), Lake Baikal in Siberia (deepest, largest lake by volume on earth), and Crater Lake in Oregon (perfect demonstration of a volcanic lake). I’d grown up in California so I’d been to Tahoe many times, I’d seen/read tons about Baikal but never thought I’d see it in person (though I know someone who has), but I’d always wanted to see Crater Lake in Oregon.

I’ve lived in Oregon for over six years now and I’ve gradually started exploring quite a bit of it, going up and down the entire coast, all over the northwest side, some of the central area around Bend, and much of the far eastern and northern segments, but until today, I’ve never actually gotten to see Crater Lake.

We drove up and stayed the night before about 7 miles outside of Crater Lake in the quaintest little motorlodge straight out of the 1950s. We awoke this morning and headed up, still not knowing exactly which peaks that surrounded the lower valleys contained America’s deepest lake. After a half hour of driving, parking, and walking, I finally crested a path to take in this view and the first thought that came to my mind was this:

“Holy shitballs.”

The morning light was great, the surface was still and there were great reflections and the deep blue water was a deep blue unlike anything I’d seen before. I was in awe. I still am. Sometimes nature is so incredible you left with nothing to say but “Holy shitballs”.

Published by mathowie

I build internet stuff.

9 replies on “Holy shitballs”

  1. I’ve lived in Oregon my whole life, and have never been to Crater Lake. Thanks for the reminder that I need to get down there!


  2. We absolutely loved Crater Lake as well. It’s just stunning, one of the most dramatic views I know of. I’d like to learn to cross-country ski just to come back in the winter.


  3. This is poetry.
    I remember when driving over the Rockies, my sister and I encountered some similarly unfathomably blue super-deep mountain lake, and though I wasn’t yet using “Holy Shitballs” in my vocabulary then, I’d like to retroactively label that lake with this title.


  4. Did you ride the rim? It’s supposed to be a really fun 33 miles. I’ve only been there in the last spring to hike around and snowboard.


  5. Still remember the only family vacation we took when I was 4 to drop my sister at University of Portland. We stayed at the lodge at Crater Lake on the way. Crater Lake is one of my earliest memories.
    Holy Shitballs are more common in Oregon. That’s why I’m here and I stay here.


  6. I grew up in Texas and most of the lakes here are man made. Luckily, while I lived in California, I got to spend some time in Tahoe. It was really a revelation to be able to swim in a natural lake. It’s one of my favorite memories of my time there.


  7. I love Crater Lake. My wife and I stayed in the classic old lodge with our 9 month old kid a few years ago. The baby monitor worked down the hall in the grand dining hall so while Max was sleeping we were sipping the Crater Lake private label wine and eating steak. The scene at sunrise is amazing. Everyone is out on the deck drinking coffee and snapping pictures as the rim of the crater lights up. Definitely one of my favorite national parks.


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