Final Venture to Crater Lake for Season

Crater Lake AU11-138

Winter is icumen in. As the National Weather Service puts it:


Not only wetter, but colder. Temperatures plummeting to the low thirties in the northcoast, and colder inland. Snow levels will descend later in the week to 3,000 feet. The mountains will receive their first mantle of snow.

Just before the onslaught of the winter’s frigid temperatures, I made quick journey up into the cascades to get one last look at Crater Lake before the winter closed most of the rows and surrounded the lake’s rim with mountains of snow. It is rare for the road around the rim to be open this late in the season. Normally, the first snows of the year close it by the middle of October, if not earlier. But at the end of October, the road was still open, though summer crowds had long ago dispersed to lower elevations. This provided a rare opportunity to photograph some weather phenomena at the lake which are rather rare in the summer months but not at all unusual at other times of the year, when only a small section of the rim at the south end of the lake is accessible and when must of the rim remains out of reach. In the morning, mists hovered around several of the peaks along the western edge of the lake; and as the sun rose above Mount Scott, the dawn light lit up the mountain fog:

Crater Lake is best photographed when there is a mixture of clouds and sun. With all clouds, it becomes bland; with no clouds, bland as well. Mix the two, and the light becomes magical. The color of the lake deepens and enriches; and the towering walls of the rim take on stunning colors: