The next destination on the trip was Crater Lake. Unfortunately I was greeted with clouds, rain, wind and snow… while it can make for some good photographic conditions, it made seeing the lake impossible. The next day things cleared and I snowshoed along the rim a mile or two to scout out some vantage points. I’ve been here before in summer, but never winter and I quickly realized this season is by far the best time to visit. Not only is there an entirely new atmosphere to the place, the crowds are gone as well. However, it’s not without it’s caveats. Firstly, there’s only one route in and the rim drive is closed, so you have to snowshoe or cross-country ski around and if you catch it at a bad time, you have to hike up to the rim itself on top of that. Secondly, and more importantly – the vast amounts of snow they get create some unique and potentially dangerous challenges.
Since they get such a vast amount of snow, it tends to pile up everywhere which includes the rim. Trying to get to a good vantage point for shooting puts you in risk of being on top of a cornice if you’re not paying attention. Even if you are aware, there is a high avi risk. I did my best to ensure that anything I was standing on had solid ground beneath it within a few feet. In the sun you could watch the avi debris falling into the lake, which reminded me a lot of the wonders of the Patagonia glaciers caving… only a lot quieter.
The only real disappointment was the last morning, Escaype had predicted an epic sunrise so I made the effort to wake up in time to see. Taking a look at the skies seemed to suggest it was on-point. There was a beautiful mid-level cloud layer hanging over the lake and out to the east looked perfectly clear. I watched the pre-sunrise burn start as the sky west started to glow it’s early morning red color and the excitement grew more and more. Then only at the last second, it all fizzled before the whole thing lit up. I’m going with the theory that it was Ka… I had finished up the final book of the Dark Tower the day prior and sometimes feel like my destiny is to repeat epic sunrise/sunset skunks 🙂