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:
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”.