Leaving knitting and weaving at home, Thor, Granddaughter F and I met up with the rest of the family and spent several wonderful days in Crater Lake National Park. We were happy (oh so happy) to exchange Willamette Valley‘s muggy heat wave for the pleasant summer weather of the higher altitudes of the Cascade Range and especially enjoyed the cool nights. We never tire of the scenery; it’s always breathtaking. Here are some photographs we took (using just our iPhones) of the lake from about 7,100f/2,164m:
On this visit we added something new: One night drove back up to the lake’s rim, bundled up, sat at the caldera rim in chairs, marveled over the Milky Way (!) and watched the star show in the cold night air. It was a perfect, clear night (if you didn’t mind the chilly wind), an absolutely amazing experience.
Star gazing at Crater Lake is best on nights without clouds or a full moon. On such an evening, the stars are too numerous to count. They appear so bright, that one might be tempted to lay down, and take off one’s shirt to get a “star tan.” Venus and the Milky Way appear to cast a shadow. By full moon, the light intensity is such that colors are discernible to the unaided eye.
The beauty of the night sky at Crater Lake is largely due to its isolation and the extensive amount of land surrounding the caldera that is preserved in a natural state. Along with large tracts of wilderness comes a virtual absence of artificial lights allowing the pupil of the human eye to widen and become receptive to distant stars, some of which are thousands to millions of light years away. At Crater Lake there is no light pollution from nearby settlements and cities. There is no light pollution from night advertisement and local traffic.
At Crater Lake, the transparency of the night sky is enhanced by the summer climate. The humidity of the air and the frequency of cloud cover is low in the High Cascades of South-Central Oregon. The views of the night from the 7,000′ elevation at Rim Village are optimum because of the low density of tree cover and the unobstructed view of the horizon is all directions created by the pre-historic collapse of Mt. Mazama.
As we have neither the skills nor the equipment to photograph stars, I found this time-lapse video on YouTube (shot by gryfinryder) that will give you an idea of what we saw (sans the snow). For some excellent pictures shot by a professional natural history photographer, take look at Phil Colla‘s work. One of the pictures taken at Crater Lake he shares is of the Milky Way!
If you’ve not seen this brilliantly blue lake (the deepest in the U.S. and 9th deepest in the world), it’s worth a visit!
Rested and relaxed, Thor and I returned to a cooler Willamette Valley with Grandson O. It is still too warm to comfortably knit, but my loom … 🙂
Have you taken a vacation or trip this summer where you left your fiber work behind?!