Go Play, Go Learn Challenge: Splish Splash at Waldo Lake!

I’m excited that Nerd In The Brain has picked “Splish-Splash” the theme for this weeks “Go Play Go Learn” challenge! Yet another opportunity to talk about Waldo Lake, where I just had the most excellent vacation.  🙂

Waldo is the second-largest lake in Oregon (the largest, Crater Lake, also got a visit on this trip!).  Located in the Cascade Mountains, in the Willamette National Forest, Waldo is at the elevation of 5,414 feet.  The lake basin was carved out by ancient glaciers,  and is one of the purest lakes in the world.

A map of Waldo Lake

Waldo is fed by underwater springs and snow-melt.  The water from the lake feed – eventually – into the Willamette river (the North Fork, of the Middle Fork of the Willamette, to be exact).

The lake is beautiful – when you’re out in the middle of it the water is so many amazing shades of blue.   It’s also such a large body of water there are lots of different “faces” to it.  It can be perfectly calm and still, reflecting the landscape and the sky around it.  Other times it can be choppy with waves whipped up by the wind.

A still and calm day on the lake
Varying depths create different shades of water.
Yet another section of the lake.

This year there has been a particularly dry year, with a very light snow-pack, so the water level is quite a bit lower than I was used to, exposing more rocks, and beaches where there previously were not.  This helped me to look closer at the rocks — primarily lava rocks from ancient volcanic activity

Rocks at one of the islands

The water provides sustenance and a home to many different creatures.  Frogs and toads and a variety of insects make their homes in the water.  Deer, chipmunks, squirrels all drink from the water (as do elk, bears, and cougars, but I have never seen those!)  And there’s a lot of birds that visit the area!

Frog on the rocks
Water-Striders enjoy the lake
A chipmunk enjoying the warm rocks near the water
This was the first time, in the many years that I’ve seen ducks on the lake.
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I spent some time one night trying to capture a picture of the bats picking up some of the bugs on the water.

There’s a lot of scientific research being done about the lake — while I was looking around the internet a bit I came across a few interesting articles that go even farther into the science behind the lake.

Western Lakes Monitoring Workshop Information

Crater Lake Institute Article

Portland State University Studies






5 thoughts on “Go Play, Go Learn Challenge: Splish Splash at Waldo Lake!

  1. This looks beautiful. I’ve always been a fan of lakes. I know most people would disagree with me, but I prefer a lake to the ocean when it comes to swimming. I’ll have to put Waldo on my someday visit list.


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