July 25, 2006
Vacation Blog: Deep Blue
Yesterday, I saw the bluest lake I have ever seen.
My teenagers had been teasing me all week about how I was probably going to cry when I saw the lake. I'd made the mistake of telling them that my friend Plantswoman had cried the first time she finally saw this lake, a body of water many consider sacred, and that anecdote had caused them to roll their eyes and tease me mercilessly. In reality, my fear of heights helped prevent the tears. Watching my kids walk perilously close to the edge of sheer cliffs always makes me feel like screaming rather than crying.
It's the deepest lake in the country, more than 1930 feet deep. We gazed it from far above, admiring the way it is set into a rim of cliffs below a gorgeous summer sky. The brilliant sun kept changing the blueness of the lake, which reflected the moving clouds and the hemlock, fir, and pines that clustered at the edge.
Temperatures rose to the 90s, so we were thankful for the conifers that shaded many of the trails and lookout points. Perhaps most amazing were the patches of snow we found on the hills around the lake: how strange to be able to have a snowball fight on a sweltering hot summer day. Shaggy Hair Boy climbed up one snowy patch to come sliding down in his best snowboarding style, slipping right out of his sandals and getting himself soaking wet.
The lake is a six-mile wide caldera created by the eruption and collapse of a volcano almost 7,000 years ago. Lava flows sealed the bottom of the volcanic basin, allowing water from rainfall and snowmelt to fill it and form the lake. The island in the lake is a cinder cone that arose after the eruption.
I knew the unusual geological history of the lake, but nothing had prepared me for the blue colour that kept changing and deepening as the sun moved across the sky. I don’t think I could ever get tired of looking at it. But after hours of moving around the lake, gazing at the blue water from every possible angle, Boy in Black finally said, "Yeah, it’s beautiful, but how many times can we look at it?"
That's when I pulled myself away from the hypnotic blue of the lake to see that my husband and kids were tired, hungry, and hot. They had eaten all of the snack food and fruit, drunk all the water and juice. It was time to drive back to town for some food and a good night’s sleep.
But even as I closed my eyes that night, I could still see that shimmering blue.
Posted by jo(e)