Greetings From: Crater Lake, OR

Crater Lake National Park in Oregon is where we saw what blue can really look like.

by Michael Boyink / mike@douglascountyherald.com

“I am sifting my memories, the way men pan the dirt under a barroom floor for the bits of gold dust that fall between the cracks.”  John Steinbeck, East of Eden

I could write about the horribly annoying swirling mass of recently-hatched mosquitoes. 

Or I could write about the crazy Willy-Wonka-esque squirrels, one of which mistook the enclosed underbelly of our RV for his hole-in-the-ground home. 

But I didn’t even remember those details until I re-read the journal I kept at the time.

Sifting my memories for Crater Lake, I didn’t find gold.

I found blue.

There’s sky blue, then there’s Crater Lake blue.

Paint manufacturers have names for their different shades of blue. Behr has Aztec Sky, Yucatan, Hacienda Blue, and Peaceful River. Sherwin Williams has Dynamic Blue, Hyper Blue, Jay Blue, and Major Blue. Glidden has Jamaican Dream, Cobalt Stone, Suddenly Sapphire, and Rave Regatta.

None of them capture the blueness of Crater Lake.

Scientists will tell you Crater Lake is so blue because the water is purer and deeper than any other lake in the country. 

It’s true. 

We filled our water bottles from the lake and drank it down, just to say we did.

Near shore you can start to see into the depths of Crater Lake.

And at nearly 2000’ feet deep, you’d have to stack four of Missouri’s Gateway Arches in Crater Lake before you’d see one break the surface.

Crater Lake is also unusual in that there are no rivers into or out of the lake. Snowmelt and rain fill it up, and evaporation takes it away.

All interesting, yes.

But what sticks with you is the blue.

We see blue nearly every day. If the sky is cloudy, there are blue jays, blue flowers, blue clothes, blue ink pens, and blue websites.

Blue is so common, you might even take it for granted.

For us, Crater Lake was God’s way of reminding us that He can transform the common into the uncommon, the familiar into the extraordinary, and the plain into the bejeweled.

And if He can do it with blue, He can do it with you.

Sitting at an elevation of 6,178 ft, Crater Lake National Park is often only open from mid-May to mid-October due to snow. Check current conditions at nps.gov/crla.