|A 7AM departure and a swift drive to the Cleetwood Cove parking lot bagged us a early position in the line for Crater Lake Boat tickets to Wizard Island. They only have room for 39 people per a boat trip that takes two hours. They have two boats. Therefore the tickets are hard to get-first come,first serve. It was a 1 hour stand in line on a 45 degree morning. We headed down the trail to Cleetwood Cove where the boat departed at 9:30AM sharp. The trail is a steep switchback from the Crater Rim crest down to the Lake. It is 1.1 miles down a 700 foot drop to the lake. It is the only trail to the lake. We took the boat to Wizard Island -a 45 minute trip. Wizard Island is a large cinder cone that erupted from the ruins of Mt. Mazama shortly after its cataclysmic collapse 7700 years ago. Crater Lake's cobalt blue color comes from its immense water depth and the clarity of the water. It is the clearest and cleanest lake in the world. One can lower a 12 inch black and white disc 144 feet into the water and still see it with the naked eye! The lake is 1932 feet deep at its deepest point. In recorded history the lake has only fluctuated 16 feet. An interpretive ranger guides the boat trip. The water temperature at the dock is a crisp 50 degrees. The Wizard Island Trail sets off through blocky black basalt lava colonized by golden mantled ground squirrels,the red blooms of bleeding hearts, and the Shasta Red Firs. As one climbs higher the cinders become red and finer. It is a 700 foot ascent 1.1 miles long. A steep haul. At the top a path circles the 90 foot deep crater's rim amid storm blasted pines,red paintbrush,and constant panoramas. After the hike we reassembled at the boat dock for the 1:30pm continuation of the boat trip around the lake as the ranger described the walls features and answered questions. It was a fantastic day -a highlight of our entire summer trip. We made the 1.1 mile climb from the lake back to our car. We covered 5.5 miles and 1500 vertical feet today. We celebrated with a light dinner of appetizers at Crater Lake Lodge. They were a delicious reward for a hard hiking quartet!