Mount Mazama, once over 12,000 feet in elevation, went through a half-million years of alternating eruptions and quietude. Between seven and eight thousand years ago, Mount Mazama erupted violently numerous times, covering eight states and three Canadian provinces with six inches of ash. These eruptions produced 150 times the ash as the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980. I was around for that one, just below the summit of Mount Hood, south of St. Helens, but I don’t seem to remember Mount Mazama’s last big blow.
For the past five thousand years, Mount Mazama has been resting, and quietly creating the deepest lake in America, Crater Lake. It is the seventh deepest lake in the world at 1943 feet, and is also one of the purest in the world. Here’s hoping it stays that way until the next eruption turns it all to steam.
When will that happen? Who knows. But, it will, and so will the other Cascade Range volcanoes, and the really big one, Yellowstone. Mount St. Helens was a wake-up. There are more to come. I just hope I’m around to see another one.
Crater Lake is well worth the detour, and the best way to see it is, of course, by bicycle. Just be reasonably fit, and have serious mountain gearing. The views are worth the effort.