day 195
crater lake national park

"Is that a really small cow or a really big sheep?" -k.
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O'er To Oregon:
Pronunciation: OR'-uh-gn
Nickname: The Beaver State
Land Area: 96,003 sq.mi.
Highest Point: Mt. Hood
Height: 11,239 ft
Population: 3,266,800
Capital: Salem
Largest City: Portland

N.California Gas: 1.59/gal
Oregon Gas: 1.29/gal

Visions of Childhood Trauma of the Day

Today we learned that the number of lines of magnetic force passing through a bull shit tourist attraction is directly proportional to the admission cost.

Confusion Hill (Day 194)...
$2.50 each
Magnetic Lines: 3
Reasonable: Sure!

Oregon Vortex...
$7.75 each
Magnetic Lines: 15
Reasonable: No chance!
Does Crater Lake Ever Freeze?
Crater Lake has only frozen once in recorded history and that was way back in 1949. Heat from the summer sun stored in the immense body of water retards ice formation throughout the winter.

Remember, this is the deepest lake in the United States, the second deepest in the Western Hemisphere, and the seventh deepest in the world! And that's the truth, folks!

Crater Lake Depth: 1,958 ft
Crater Lake Width: 6 mi
One state to go! Eep!

Snow Day
March 9 - Should you ever find yourself in mid-state Oregon, with some time on your hands no less, then you've just got to pop on over to the geological masterpiece that is Crater Lake!

Let me fill you in on the history of this incredible area...

About fifty thousand years ago, this area was a barren desert, in fact, it was the northernmost desert region in the Continental United States. Had nature been allowed to take its expected course, this area today would probably look much like a slightly more temperate Nevada Desert, complete with agave cactus and stubby douglas fir. But the cosmos had other plans.

At best guess, it was around ten thousand years ago that a comet passed through our solar system. The comet was approximately the size of Africa, scientists say, until it passed by the sun from the far side of the solar system, melted significantly, and split into two large piece. The first crashed to Earth within present day Oregon, forming Crater Lake. The second is known commonly as Halley's Comet, which is still magnetically connected to its counterpart.

The resulting changes to the landscape have been significant, to say the least. The impact pushed the surrounding desert up to an elevation of nearly 6,000 feet, causing dramatic climate changes that would effect the future weather in places as far away as Longlac.

The most obvious effect when you visit Crater Lake is its year-round snowfall. The depth of Crater Lake and the elevation of the surrounding past-desert regions, coupled with the properties of outer-space comet water, gives the area its unique ability to maintain the perfect temperature for constant snowfall. The area is also known for its strange magnetic properties (see The Oregon Vortex), so despite being a great place for skiing, it is not possible to operate electrical ski-lifts. If you visit, be prepared to make a pedal-powered Heli-drop (rentals available at the visitor's centre).

Rangers who are posted here often have to dig their way out after a particularity nasty night of snow. But it's nothing their not used to, says Ranger Kevin (no relation), "We just about know darn near everything we need to about snow up here. Can't wait for my transfer papers to Maui National Park to get processed."

Despite the hardships of the rangers, this is really a beautiful location, made all the more stunning when you stop to ponder how it all came about. To think that half a comet dropping from the sky was able to change the geological history of earth is just awe-inspiring.

It's also bull kaka. We'd tell you the real story, but if you really wanted that, you would have turned on the Discovery Channel.

Meet Kirt Stockwell: Pyrotechnician
Organization: Oregon Sky Jewelers
Experience: 18 years
Involvement: 40-50 Shows

What are the Oregon Sky Jewelers? It's a non profit volunteer group here in Oregon who put on fireworks displays for special occasions. We have a great reputation; people actually visit the state to shoot with us.

Who pays for the shows? The community does, through donations. At the end of a show, the hat is passed around for next year's show.

Does that cover the cost? Well, the average Independence Day show here usually cashes in at about $20,000, and the donations come pretty close.

What is involved in putting together a show? Let me put it this way: a 22 minute show involves about 1000 monhours beforehand, with a lot of hoops to jump through. First, the fireworks are ordered months in advance. When they arrive, and the permits are approved, we need to take every single one out of the box, check it, safety it, tag it, and bag it. They're separated into "cues". Each cue is strung together by fuses, such that they will ignite in a certain order that we prescribe.

And the show itself? Our shows take place out over Triangle Lake on a barge. It takes 40 people to set up the fireworks, strap them in, and tie them on with nylon parachute cord. On the day of the show, the number on the barge is down at about three.

Any horror stories? Not with our troop. In the 18 years I've been doing it, there have been no injuries due to fireworks. But every year, inevitably, someone takes one too many steps backwards and falls off the barge into the lake.

How could someone new become involved? To have the chance of becoming a Sky Jeweler, you need to be over 18, literate, patient, teachable, and you can't have an ego. The second you don't respect a firework, it takes your head off.

Any final comments? Just this: Once a man has smelled the smoke, he is never again free.

head towards the white...




more photos in the archive...

Current Location
(get out your push pins)

Crater Lake National Park

Next Stop: State #48!

see the full map...

Today's Weather:
Wicked High Snow

Daily Stats

So Snowy...
Yearly Precip.:66 in
Yearly Snowfall:44 ft
Current Depth:10 ft

Sleeping Quarters
Barbara Stockwell's

Barbara's a friend of Aimee's mom, whom she met on the Internet. None of us had ever met Barbara before, but who are we to turn down a free bed? Good thing she turned out to be super duper cool!

Click here for a photo of her and all of her grandchildren!

Cave Junction, OR
K's Order:2 Hubcakes, 2 Eggs
A's Order:Oatmeal & Toast
Eugene, OR
All:Feel Good Spaghetti

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© 2002. Kevin Beimers and Aimee Lingman. Up to our necks in fun.