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Day Nine: Crater Lake

August 9, 2006

Mr. Crumpet and Orange Bear are big fans of clean air, snow, and large bodies of water. Crater Lake in southern Oregon fits the bill.

With a maximum depth of 1,949 feet, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the U.S. (and seventh deepest in the world).

“You mean it’s not number one?” asks Orange Bear.

Nope. That honor goes to Siberia’s Lake Baikal, at just over one mile deep! (That’s 3,763 feet deeper than Crater Lake.)

“Everything’s bigger in Siberia.”

Now, about that big old crater which gave Crater Lake its name….Roughly six miles in diameter, the crater came into existence thousands of years ago when a huge volcano essentially imploded. Sorry, it wasn’t a meteor, Orange Bear.

“I didn’t say anything.”

As no tributaries flow into or out of the crater, the lake is almost entirely replenished by precipitation (snow — see below), resulting in some insanely clean and clear blue waters.

With a surface elevation of 6,176 feet, Crater Lake gets tons of snow — well over 500 inches of the white powdery stuff. And at this altitude, the air quality is near pristine.

(If you want to use the entire 33-mile Rim Drive that encircles the lake, you’ll have to wait until around the middle of July when road crews have cleared away all that snow.)

“Take an Inka!” shouts Phil the Owl. “You never know when you might need one!”

(Wizard Island on Crater Lake, photo: Ben Amstutz)

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