After we enjoyed the Office Covered Bridge (we don't know why it is called Office Bridge), we proceeded east to the main highway north/south through central Oregon, Highway 97. On the way, we passed lots of lovely mossy trees and rode along the blue green waters of the river. The sun was shining and the leaves were beginning to turn gold and orange.
We turned onto Highway 97 and drove a short ways, enjoying the farm lands, when we came to a stop in traffic due to an accident ahead. Trucks and campers and cars were lined up as far as we could see. After sitting in the car for a while, expecting to move again momentarily, we began to wonder what was going on. People were getting out of their cars and passing what information they had; truckers advised us to turn around if we could. The highway had been closed already for 2.5 hours and the tow trucks hadn't arrived yet. [ I have since learned that 2 motorcyclists, 49 years old, were returning to Reno from visiting friends in Washington and were hit when a 69 year-old man in an oncoming SUV pulled out to pass a semi truck, killing the two motorcyclists and injuring the man's wife severely. A very sad story.]
Although it seemed counter intuitive, we turned around and headed back to the turn off to Crater Lake. It was the only other road that could get us out of there. Much of the year, the road at the north end of Crater Lake is closed due to snow, but now at the end of summer it was open and so beautiful! My husband, though long an Oregonian, had never seen Crater Lake, so it was a fulfillment of a wish for him, albeit not a timely one.
As we crested the top of the drive, suddenly we saw the remarkable blue lake beside us. It was rimmed in rock which glowed in the late afternoon sun. It appeared to be stage lighting! My husband pulled over into a viewpoint and we immediately took pictures. The wind was very cold and strong at the top!
Crater Lake was formed when the volcano Mt. Mazama blew up thousands of years ago. The 8000-9000 foot high caldera is partially filled with water, roughly 1,958 feet, making it the deepest lake in the United States. The lake reaches 5 to 6 miles across. It is known for its remarkable deep blue color, clarity, and water purity. The island in the lake is Wizard Island, a platform caused by subsequent lava eruptions. The area is now a national park.
I still have one more ‘golden link” in my chain to share with you next time!