Friday, July 15, 2011

Day 17: Pumice Mine, Crater Lake, and Mt. Shasta

Our first stop today was at the Chemult (Oregon) Pumice Mine, where we were given a tour of the grounds to see where the pumice used in landscaping, cat litter, garden nurseries, etc comes from. We had fun walking through the piles of finely ground pumice as well as picking up not-so-heavy boulders--and of course, taking some home for ourselves.

Next we arrived at the awe-inspiring Crater Lake National Park. We stopped at many scenic viewpoints and found it to be rather chilly and windy here for July, especially at the higher elevations, where temperatures were as low as 54 degrees. Crater lake is a caldera produced by a volcanic eruption when the magma chamber collapsed in on itself, approximately 7,700 years ago. A new volcano formed, called Wizard Island, and provides a unique feature on the edge of the crystal blue lake.

After a picnic, we had another very long drive into California, but finally (and sleepily) arrived at Mount Shasta, our last stop of the day. We couldn't see the summit due to cloud covering, but the effect was all the more ominous and impressive. As we drove past Mt. Shasta, passing it on our left, we could see countless other cinder cone volcanoes on our right. In fact, there were so many volcanoes, our professor referred to the landscape as a "teenagers face."

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