Crater Lake: Taking the Plunge
Herald and News
Klamath Falls, Oregon
September 4, 2008
H&N Regional Editor
I am never sure which is tougher: Standing on the edge of the rock overlook and building up the nerve to jump, or feeling the body go into shock after jumping off that 20-foot high ledge and being immersed in Crater Lake’s anything but warm water.
Swimming in the lake is an annual ritual. Part of the ritual, and the pleasure, is that it requires being at the lake, not simply observing it from the rim. Yes, the water is cold, but there’s something satisfying, and even cleansing and purifying, about been immersed and even caressed by the lake’s incredibly pure water.Crater Lake isn’t an easy place to get wet. After getting to the park, it’s a 1.1-mile downhill walk from the Cleetwood Cove parking lot to the lake. Some people swim by the boat dock, but I prefer a less public area farther up the trail past the compost outhouses and down along the shore.
Jumping or diving off the nearby rocky outcrop is often part of the ritual. And during this year’s visit, I watched and photographed as a succession of people, spurred on by a young woman who stripped to her swimming suit and launched from the rock, jumped in.
Jumping is contagious. One goes, and others, who otherwise wouldn’t even consider such foolishness, follow. During a recent visit, two young women — literally and nearly figuratively — broke the ice by jumping in.
Two youths who had been watching, including Curtis Lin, worked up the nerve to peel off their clothes to their shorts, then make a succession of jumps, which in turn spurred others to do the same.
Worth taking the plunge? Yep, again.