First View of Crater Lake and Its Brilliant Coloring

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon, 1918

 First View of Crater Lake and Its Brilliant Coloring

The first sight of Crater Lake is wellnigh bewildering. Unless looked into from the rim it is invisible. Wonderment at the height and steepness of its encircling cliffs succeeds the first astonishment; admiration of the loveliness of its coloring next enthralls the beholder in the sequence of impressions. Its unique -beauty lies in no small measure in its coloring, the brilliance of which if reproduced in painting or print would seem exaggerated and impossible to those who have not seen the reality. Nowhere else is there such an azure. One feels that a glass of its water would show blue as if stained with cobalt, but it is clear as crystal and as pure. The deeper parts are a brilliant ultramarine, shading to turquoise in the shallower reaches, and to light jade green in the few indented coves around the shore. A hundred feet down the glaze of a plate is plainly discernible. The surroundings help the brilliance of the blue; the rocks are of metallic hues; the peaks of the rim are often snow covered; the lava gray of the steep scarred walls is mottled and splotched -with bright yellows and reds, markings left by volcanic action long ago, and always there is the dark green of the pines and firs and shrubs that grow on these declivities wherever they find root-hold. The waters are usually placid, gleaming as though glazed by the sun, and in this mirror of Nature the reflections stand out with astounding distinctness.

Of this feature of Crater Lake, Joaquin. Miller wrote: “Fancy a sea of sapphire set about by a compact circle of the grizzly rock of Yosemite. It is great, great; but it takes you days to see how great. It lies 2,000 feet under you, and as it reflects its walls so perfectly that you cannot tell the wall from the reflection, in the intensely blue water, you have a continuous unbroken circular wall of twenty-four miles to contemplate at a glance, all of which lies 2,000 feet, and seems to lie 4,000 feet, below. Yet so bright, so intensely blue is the lake that it seems at times, from some points of view, to lift right in your face.”,

Wizard Island-A crater within a crater

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