I’ve written about our early morning wake up to catch the sunrise coming up over the crater at Crater Lake National Park last month (see Powerful First View of Golden Rim of Crater Lake). It was while I was at the rim waiting for the sunrise that it dawned on me (forgive the pun) that with the amount of stars I was seeing and the fact that a new moon was due the next night, that this might be a great opportunity to try and capture the Milky Way coming up over the rim.

Milky Way


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Behind the Photo

After the morning shoot, Theresa and I return to basecamp to grab a bit of grub and a small nap. Then it was back to the rim with starmap in hand to search for the best vantage point to capture the Milky Way. There were quite a few turn outs to select from but the best spot was found by Theresa on the side of the road the led down to a small level spot on a scree slope 20 yards from the roadside.

Having found our spot it was now just a matter of waiting for nightfall. We returned just as the western sky was losing its red glow but there still was plenty of light to down climb. Once we got settled in I started setting up gear and expected to wait another hour or so before the Milky Way would become visible. I was so engrossed in getting the gear ready, that it was Theresa who first noticed that the Milky Way despite having quite a bit of light in the sky was already visible!

I’m sure the fact that there is almost no light pollution near the crater contributed to the brightness but I have to wonder if it was the 6000 plus feet of altitude that also hlep make it stand out. Either way, it was a treat to snap away.

Milky Way Over Crater Lake

Crater Lake makes its first appearance in the folklore of the Klamath Indians. The Klamath Indians describe the catastrophic eruption of Mount Mazama and the creation of Crater Lake in one of their legends. Their legend of a raging war between two great volcanoes, Mount Mazama and Mount Shasta, parallels the geological history of Crater Lake.

The first mention by europeans involves John Wesley Hillman, Henry Klippel, and Isaac Skeeters, were in search of the legendary “Lost Cabin” gold mine when they came upon the lake by accident on June 12, 1853. Hillman reported that this was the bluest lake he had ever seen, and Skeeters called it Deep Blue Lake. In 1862, Chauncy Nye and his party of prospectors also came upon the lake. Nye wrote the first published article about the lake, stating “the waters were of a deeply blue color causing us to name it Blue Lake”.

And believe it or not there were other you ‘discovered’ and name the lake afterwards but it was Jim Sutton who in 1869 gave it lake the name that would stick. Mainly because he wrote about his exploration of the lake by canvas boat in a local newspaper account.


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