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Camping and Kayaking, Waldo Lake, Oregon
In Response To: Wednesday is Photo Day! ()

Waldo Lake sits in the Oregon Cascades about 40 miles southeast of Eugene. It is in the National Forest so other than some campgrounds there is no development. It will close in a couple of weeks for the winter. At 5400 feet it gets a bit nippy at night this time of year. The lake has been determined to be the 2nd clearest in the world behind Lake Baikal in Russia. The clarity is due to the fact that there is no run-off from the glaciers on Diamond Peak you can see in the distance. The source is precipitation, local drainage and groundwater that seeps in from the eastern side of the cascades. 5 miles long and about 2.5 miles at the widest point. It is deep. Maximum is about 420 feet and the average is 125 feet. On a previous visit a couple of years ago the Oregon State University marine science department was there when we were and ran a routine clarity test. A white disk 150mm (6") diameter is lowered until it can't be seen. On that day the number was 120 feet. With a turn-over rate of almost 40 years the system is fragile. After a bunch of politics the state was able to close the lake to all internal combustion engines a few years ago. These photos were take on a dead still morning about 8:00. The silence is intense. The only ripples were the ones I made with my paddle.

Below is a shot taken in about 10 feet of water. It is a bit disorienting to be paddling in 20-30 feet of water with a clear view of the bottom. When it is this calm you feel like you will fall off your boat to a hard landing. Once you get into deep water the water is a color of blue that is hard to imagine. Sort of a cobalt like the darker blue some swimming pools are painted only it is alive. Not many fish and only a few birds since there is no food.

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