Friday, August 9, 2013

Dream Season

Hired by Crater Lake Lodge, Inc. as a tour guide and boat operator for the 1973 season, the opportunity would turn out to be a watershed experience for me, both literally and figuratively.

For one thing, I would have a seminal adventure in one of the most beautiful spots imaginable on the planet. For another, I would live somewhere other than my hometown of Portland for the first time in my life. From a literal standpoint, the position would involve spending every day that summer on a lake so deep, so pure and so blue that -- upon first glance -- it will take your breath away.

The position featured two key requirements: first, the successful completion of the U.S. Coast Guard test for a launch operators license; second, learn everything I could about the history, geology, flora, fauna, birds, fish and insects of Crater Lake National Park. I mean, as a tour guide, I wouldn't feel I was worth my salt if I wasn’t a complete expert on all things relating to Crater Lake.

Diving feet first into both endeavors, I easily passed the license examination to qualify as a launch operator. The second -- to become well versed on Crater Lake and environs -- was a more open-ended assignment but one I thoroughly enjoyed, immersing myself into absorbing everything I could learn about the park.

As it actually happened, however, I spent most of my time answering two basic questions on boat tours around the ancient caldera: “Why is the lake so blue?” and “Are there fish in the lake?”

The water is so blue because it’s so pure. Water molecules with no sediments, algae, pesticides or pollution will absorb all the colors of the light spectrum except the blues. Other wavelengths in the spectrum bounce back, while the blue wavelength is absorbed in the water, creating the indigo blue hue. The key is to have relatively pure water and lots of it (an estimated 4.6 trillion gallons).

As for fish, early visitors stocked as many as six species but only two survived the rigors of Crater Lake: rainbow trout and kokanee salmon. Fishing is not only allowed, it’s encouraged. No license is required and there is no limit. However, access is limited to the summer months (along the shoreline at near the boat dock at Cleetwood Cove and on Wizard Island) and only artificial bait is allowed.

Truth be told, working as a tour guide and boat operator at Crater Lake -- and hence, someone with access to the best fishing holes -- was the perfect job for an aspiring angler. That’s no fish tale.

1 comment:

Randy said...

Cool blue stuff Homey!