Crater Lake National Park
Located in the beautiful state of Oregon, Crater Lake National Park is a wonder that boggles the mind. To think that a mountain could become a crater, and then a lake, takes a personnel visit to experience, learn and definitely photograph this wonder. All of the main attractions of Crater Lake are accessible to everything from scooters to wheelchairs. Rim Village Visitors Center is the heart of Crater lake with a Cafe, Gift Shop and the famous Crater Lake Lodge. There is a paved walkway that starts at the Lodge and ends at West Rim Drive with many vista views of the lake. If you arrived at the lake from the South entrance, Annie Spring Entrance Center, you will pass by Mazama Village. The Visitors Center/Gift Shop/Restaurant is much the same as in Rim Village but worth the stop. Behind the Gift Shop is the only general store which is well stocked with a few of most anything you might need during your visit, including a freezer stocked full of delicious ice cream goodies. If you were going to camp this is your check-in location for Mazama Campground which is just a few hundred yards beyond. This is also the only stop for gasoline in the Park. A little further up the road is Park Headquarters and Steel Visitors Center. It is a small Visitors Center but even with several people coming and going I found it easy to get around. When you check in at either of the entrance gate the Park Ranger will hand you a Crater Lake map and a copy of the Crater Lake Reflections newspaper.
Accessibility along both West Rim Drive and East Rim Drive is not a problem. West Rim Drive Discovery Point, Watchman Overlook and North Junction are the popular overlooks and are accessible for scooters and manual wheelchairs. A companion would be helpful as the grades do get a tad steep. Each of the viewing areas offers a different as well as dramatic perspective of the crater and are without question worth the time to visit each one. The photo to the right was taken from Watchman Overlook early in the morning before the sun rises over the mountains. Pre-dawn is one of our favorite times of the morning as the colors begin to dance across the horizon and the scene in front of you begins to take shape. Just make sure you have plenty of mosquito repellent of your choice as the mosquito’s will carry you away without notice and your only recourse is to take refuge in your car. We no sooner stopped at this location to shoot this scene and the mosquito’s began swarming.
Now that I have your interest, I want to take a few words and discuss why it is that some feel it necessary to carve, paint or otherwise deface our natures legacy. It seems that no matter where we go we always find someone has determined that their importance is better than natures beauty. They carve or paint their initials or forever their love, into a beautiful piece of nature that you and I have to look at. We all need to focus on becoming “Land Stewards” that protect and cherish the beauty that God has provided us. This way we all can see, experience and photograph nature as it has evolved in time. Make a pledge to yourself to be watchful “Land Stewards” for those who feel they must leave their mark on nature and help stop this childish behavior. The photo to the left that you likely saw before reading further, was taken at a gorgeous overlook alone the Godfrey Glen Trail.
Thank you for letting me rant, I have waited so long to achieve the ability to enjoy nature that I disgust in this behavior.
Now on to more upbeat information about our experience at Crater Lake National Park. As I was talking about earlier, before I veered off coarse was West Rim Drive. Don’t limit yourself just to the lake overlooks, there is much to see and photograph on the other side of the road. As a photographer there are many opportunities waiting for you as you drive from the north park entrance to the Steel Visitors Center. The ancient junipers are everywhere and several of the unmarked trails are somewhat accessible by four wheel scooter or your electric wheelchair. You may not be able to travel very far along the trail before nature raises her head, but that may be all you need to capture that beautiful starry night, sunrise, sunset or a scenic view.