Going to Crater Lake
What it was like, back before it was a day trip.
LAKE MAJESTY.--A party of gentlemen start tomorrow to make a thorough exploration of this wonderful lake. They are provided with the material for a boat, and will probably sound its depths. Last week Messrs. Cawley and Beall, of this valley, and Captain Sprague visited the lake and the two latter, with some difficulty, descended to the water. Mr. Cawley says that his two companies did not seem to be more than six inches in height when they reached the edge of the water, and some idea of the immense distance from the crest of the mountains surrounding the lake may be formed when it is known that it takes a rifle ball, fired from the edge of the basin, about seventeen seconds to reach the water. These gentlemen estimate the distance across the lake at nearly ten miles, and the distance to the water from the most accessible point at over one thousand feet. Britt accompanies the party to take photographic views, and we may soon expect Lake Majesty to be famous as one of the grandest natural scenes.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, September 12, 1868, page 2
Trip to Crater Lake.In approaching the lake from whatever direction, we had to ascend a mountain, it being located on a high point of the dividing ridge of the Cascade Mountains. From the south we gradually ascended to the summit through the heavy open timber, principally hemlock and spruce, until within two hundred yards of the lake, when we passed out of the timber into a fine grassy lawn mottled with sealberry and other flowering shrubs peculiar to high regions. Passing up this lawn, which was a little more precipitous than before, we arrived at the brink of the lake which was skirted with timber at intervals, all around its circumference. To say that this wonderful lake is grand, beyond description, is to give no idea of its magnificence. Everyone gazes at it for the first time in almost fearful astonishment. Elevated 4,200 feet above the sea, we could scan the tops of the vast piles of mountains in every direction, while almost a quarter of a mile beneath our feet reposed the placid lake. From the best estimate we could make, the lake is about six and a half miles from east to west, and five and a half from north to south, and nearly oval in shape. It is entirely surrounded by walls of light-colored basalt, scoria and almost every conceivable variety of volcanic productions. Near the west end rises a cone-like island about a mile in diameter at the base and about seven hundred feet in height--this island is about two miles from the shore where we stood and a half mile from the west end of the lake.
JACKSONVILLE, OREGON.EDITOR SENTINEL:--In response to your request, I will endeavor to furnish you a brief sketch of our late tour to the source of Rogue River, and Fort Klamath.
August 18th, 1869.
On the 27th of July, memorable as the day of the great freshet in Jacksonville, our party, consisting of David Linn, wife and five children, Jas. D. Fay, Miss Anna Fay, Miss Hannah Ralls, J. B. Coates, Capt. John Sutton, Mrs. Caharne Shook and J. M. Sutton, wife and one child, started on an exploring and recuperating expedition to Crater Lake and other points of interest in its vicinity.
The thermometer stood at 96 in the shade, and the atmosphere was unusually sultry. After traveling some sixteen miles we selected a beautiful spot on the shady banks of Rogue River to camp for the night and the following day, for the purpose of completing some minor details of our outfit. From this point we witnessed in the distance the terrific storm which was devastating Jacksonville and terrifying its inhabitants. We could see the dark and terrible cloud which hung over our devoted town, pouring forth stream after stream of lurid lightning and heavy peals of thunder which was startling, even at our safe distance. On the 29th we moved forward, traveling most of the day over a rough, rocky road, beset with clouds of pumice stone dust. No incident occurred during the day worth a notice, save an adventure with a colony of yellowjackets that had taken up and fortified a strong position about halfway up a steep rocky point of the road. Wagons No. one and two passed over safely, but it was rather amusing to see the horses step "right" over the jackets' nest to dance a hornpipe. This terpsichorean performance so excited the ladies in wagon No. 3 that they with one accord sprang out of the wagon to join in the dance, but owing to the steepness of the ground, they contented themselves with a promenade to the top of the hill. We camped for the night on a fine plateau of pumice dust, adjacent [to] Rogue River. This camp we gave the somewhat starting appellation of Earthquake Camp, from the following circumstance: It was ten o'clock at night--dense clouds of smoke mantled the surrounding hills, together with the melancholy moaning of numerous rapids of the river which ran nearby, gave the whole scene an air of extreme solitude. The women and children had long since retired, and the men were circled around the remnant of our once-bright camp fire, deeply engaged in relating legends of camp life, changing positions occasionally to accommodate the restless smoke. A sudden shock, accompanied by a deep, heavy sound, cut off a half-told story of our very communicative guide, just in time to hear half-suppressed screams from the ladies' department. To those of us who were awake the cause was obvious. A horse had shaken himself! Owing to the light nature of the region it had given a tremulous motion to the ground for rods around. To the ladies, however, who were asleep at the time, it remained a source of mystery and troubled dreams for the remainder of the night, and not until they had related their dreams of volcanoes, earthquakes and quahogs were they advised of the nature of the earthquake.
FLOUNCE ROCK.This noted landmark is seen from Abbott's, forty miles from Jacksonville. It is situated about three miles from the road, and is probably eight hundred feet high, the last four hundred perpendicular. It derives its name from its shape and its bolted appearance, resembling the flounces on a lady's skirt. It is composed of various strata of different-colored stone, which appears in the distance not more than two feet wide, although in reality they are probably seven or eight. I think a more appropriate name would have been Balmoral Rock. From here we passed over a high, graded mountain, giving us a view of Pimple Head, a high tower-like rock near the river. .During the day we crossed Rogue River bridge, thence through dense forests of pine, fir and spruce timber for a distance of eleven miles to Union Creek, a dashing mountain torrent, tributary to Rogue River.
OUR BAGGAGE MASTER.The submissive patience and calm determination of our baggage master became pleasingly apparent after crossing Rogue River bridge. Before the reader can appreciate all the points of our worthy baggage master, it will be necessary to give a brief description of his outfit. His carriage was what is known among farmers as a "header wagon." It is made with low wheels, coupled six and a half feet apart, the axletree being within one foot of the ground. The bed of this particular wagon was a kind of extempore affair, being made some five inches too narrow for the wagon, the end boards tied in with strings, and no provision made for preventing it slipping forward and back. Thus equipped, our self-imposed baggage master cracked his whip and started mountainward, exulting that no possible bad road could upset his duck-legged wagon. And such indeed proved to be the case throughout the journey. An unlooked-for trouble encountered our baggage wagon on crossing Rogue River. From this point on, the road was made through thick timber and over a soft pumice stone soil, and consequently the road has been beaten down from eighteen to twenty inches, leaving some hundreds of stumps to the mile, too high for our duck-legged wagon to pass over. It was among these stumps that the peculiar virtues of our baggage master shone forth through the clouds of dust which surrounded him and his favorite wagon. Now you would see him packing logs to bridge a stump, again you would see him trying to drive between two trees outside the road just two inches too narrow to pass; next you would see him trying to drive one wheel over the stump, which expedient was three times out of ten successful. I do not hesitate to say that through the ingenuity of the baggage master full one-half of the stumps were passed without striking the axletree of his wagon sufficiently to cause a dead halt. Of course I do not pretend to say that he was so successful for the first fifteen or twenty miles of stump driving. It was only after he had become an expert at the business. But what is most worthy of imitation is the fact that our B.M. did not once become impatient or out of humor, but went through every difficulty with a smile of content on his countenance. This certainly shows the "supremacy of man" over his own accidents.
We camped on a terrific little torrent, rushing, fretting and foaming down the mountainside at a fall of three feet in ten. One-half mile below us, Union Falls on this little stream is a very pretty object. It falls some forty feet almost perpendicular.
On the 31st we traveled all day over a very good but stumpy road. During the day we passed through vast forests of dead timber, which had been killed by fire. Among this dead timber in many places the ground was covered with low whortleberry of the most delicious kind. We also passed many small brooks and springs in which the water stood at 40 degrees F., just eight degrees above freezing, while Jacksonville water stands at sixty.
THE NEEDLES ON CRACK CREEK.It seems as though nature has her idiosyncrasies in every country, but nowhere does she develop such singular freaks as on the Pacific Coast. The objects known by the above name are situated on Crack Creek about two miles from its source. They consist of some hundreds of spires composed of material resembling ferruginous cinder with dark metallic fracture. The banks of the creek are some four hundred feet in height, sloping down to an angle of about fifty degrees. The earth of these banks is composed of very loose pumice stone dust which runs down them in continual streams. The needles rise perpendicularly all the way from the creek to the top of the bank. They are evidently dikes of lava, which have penetrated the soft soil at some time, and the channel of the creek has washed away the loose sand and left them standing erect. We camped one mile from the summit of the Cascade Mountains and two and a half miles from Crater Lake at a place known as Sprague's dug-way. At this place a trail has been graded down the precipitous banks of Crack Creek sufficient to pass men and horses. On the next day (Aug. 1st) the order of the day was to find "a Northwest Passage" to Crater Lake whereby we could take our wagons and boat. We started out early in the morning, a party of self-constituted road viewers. After nearly the whole day spent, we succeeded in finding a good route for a wagon road and moved our camp about one-half mile lakewards when we found excellent grass and water. On the next day we cut out the road to the lake, returned and moved camp to within half a mile of that point and in time to haul our boat to the brink of its destination. On the 3rd we took our families in the wagons and soon arrived at the long wished-for point. On alighting from the wagons and reaching the brink, the first exclamation of the ladies was "Look out for the children! Stand back, Cora! Look out for Zetta! Come back, Jimmy! Come back, Peter!"
Each man now shouldered up a portion of our boat material and, after a few timid glances down the fearful incline, started boldly over the loose crumbling bank, starting bevies of loose boulders at every step, at the imminent danger of anyone who dared venture ahead of the party. We succeeded in getting our boat to the water and afloat before night. I had forgotten to state that one lady accompanied [us] down on this occasion, arriving at the bottom with her shoes torn entirely from her feet on the sharp rocks. On getting ready to return she made the following address to the lake: "O, thou horrid puddle! Like a great spider, thou hast hid thyself down in his miserable hole to catch butterflies. Before I entered thy miserable hole the road, like thy face, looked smooth and the distance short--but I found the road long, and nothing but roughness and danger, and now thou art rolling great waves at my feet! I know not whether I shall escape these villainous walls, but I promise you that if again safe at the top I will never more trouble you with my presence, in sincerity of which I now make unto you this peace offering!" So saying, she cast her dilapidated shoes in the troubled waters and returned barefoot, though tribulation and boulders, to the top. As there was no water for our horses, and only snow for ourselves, we returned to our last camp for the night. During the day we were joined by Lieut. S. B. Thorburn, U.S.A., from Fort Klamath, Col. Ross and H.P. Duscane and lady.
Early on next morning we returned, eager for the adventures of a day on the lake.
DOWN TO THE LAKE.Arriving at the lake, speedy preparation was made to go down to the water. Lieut. Thorburn, Col. Ross, David Linn, J. B. Coates, James D. Fay, J. M. Sutton, Miss Anna Fay, Mrs. Linn and Mrs. Sutton made the descent. After the ladies had gone out in the boat a few hundred yards and returned, five of us started for the island, two miles distant. One hour's hard rowing against a heavy wind brought us to the island; forty-five minutes more took us to the top of the island, where we proclaimed it to the winds that on the 4th day of August, 1869, we, David Linn, J. D. Fay, Lieut. S. B. Thorburn, J. B. Coates and J. M. Sutton, landed on the Crater Lake Island, and then and there claimed to be the first human beings that ever set foot on its soil. This island is but a loose pile of cinders and pumice stone, crumbling down at the very touch. Around the basin-like crater is large piles of scoria ready to tumble down with the least exertion, and many, indeed, were the tons of this rock that we started down the precipitous sides of the island. The rim around the crater is some five hundred yards in circumference and one hundred feet deep, in the bottom of which remains a bank of snow. We left a bottle on the south side of the crater, sheltered beneath a ledge of lava, containing the names of all our party. Anyone curious to find it, [it is] near some blazes made with a knife on the limbs of some small trees hard by. We returned to the lake and found the wind blowing almost a gale, and coming from every point of the compass every five minutes. We arrived safely on shore, drew our boat above high water mark, which, by the way, is only about four feet, left with it a bucket of tar and four or five pounds of nails for repairing purposes, and then started on our weary way to the top, a distance of half a mile at an angle steeper than forty-five degrees. On arriving at the top we heard the story of how the ladies got back, and how the Col. climbed a rope, and many other male and female adventures. Through the politeness of Mr. Peter Britt, I was prepared to take photographs of the lake, but owing to the smoke in the atmosphere I did not succeed. We were soon under way to our camp, well repaid for all our pains, and proud of our store of adventures.
Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, August 21, 1869, page 2
Crater Lake.A party from Jacksonville has returned from a trip to Southern Oregon's great natural wonder, the Sunken Lake. This sheet of water has a new name almost every year. First it was known as Blue Lake, then Sunken Lake, afterward Lake Majesty, and now Crater Lake. A member of the returned party has written a communication to the Sentinel, descriptive of their trip, from which we extract:
In approaching the lake from whatever direction, we had to ascend a mountain, it being located on a high point of the dividing ridge of the Cascades. From the south we gradually ascend to the summit through the heavy open timber, principally hemlock and spruce, until within two hundred yards of the lake, when we passed out of the timber into a grassy lawn mottled with sealberry and other flowering shrubs peculiar to high regions. Passing up this lawn, which was a little more precipitous than before, we arrived at the brink of the lake which was skirted with timber at intervals, around its circumference. To say that this wonderful lake is grand, beyond description, is to give no idea of its magnificence. Everyone gazes at it for the first time in almost fearful astonishment. Elevated 4,200 feet above the sea, we could scan the tops of the vast piles of mountains in every direction, while almost a quarter of a mile beneath our feet reposed the placid lake. From the best estimate we could make, the lake is about six and a half miles from the east to the west, and five and a half from north to south, and nearly oval in shape. It is entirely surrounded by walls of light-colored basalt, scoria and almost every conceivable variety of volcanic production. Near the west end rises a cone-like island about a mile in diameter at the base and about seven hundred feet in height--this island is about two miles from the shore where we stood and a half mile from the west end of the lake.
The party took a boat with them and descended to the water edge preparatory to taking a ride on the lake. By a former measurement it was estimated that the walls surrounding this body of water were eight hundred feet high. There is no visible outlet to the lake. Of the boat ride the correspondent says: Five of the party started from the shore to the island--a distance of about two miles, which was reached in one hour. It took forty-five minutes to climb to the top of the island. This island is but a loose pile of cinders and pumice stone, crumbling down at the very touch. Around the basin-like crater is large pile of scoria ready to tumble down with the least exertion, and many, indeed, were the tons of this rock that we started down the precipitous sides of the island. The rim around the crater is some five hundred feet deep, in the bottom of which remains a bank of snow.
The surface of the lake is frequently violently agitated by the wind, but there seem to be no regular currents of air. The wind comes in gales from almost every point of the compass within a few minutes. The party made some soundings and found the depth of the lake to be 650 feet, and it was supposed that in some parts the water might even be deeper. The water is quite palatable. There is no signs which indicated the presence of fish or animals about the lake's margin; a few birds were found on the island.
Oregon Statesman, Salem, August 25, 1869, page 2
THE MOST WONDERFUL BODY OF WATER IN THE WORLD.
From our own correspondent.
Fort Klamath, Oregon, July 12, 1873.This was once a region where volcanic forces expended their utmost strength, and from the mountain range to the west came the successive showers of ashes that built up the western plains, and the lava flows that made the surrounding spars and ridges. The whole Cascade Range is capped with extinct volcanoes, long quenched, and now lifting vast cones of snow in place of the fires that flamed in the ages of their fiery history. But there seems nowhere else in this great mountain chain to have been such an ordeal of heat as was endured in this vicinity, for not only does McLoughlin stand as a sublime evidence of what were the volcanic forces of the past, but there are evidences that even greater mountains stood near it, crowning the Cascade summit, which finally exhausted themselves and were burned out with their own fires.
Off to the southwest from here is the Snowy Cluster, a mingled mass of summits that irregularly strike the eye, high lifted above the mountain range, and seeming to have a common base. When they are surmounted the prospector finds that they constitute the irregular rim of a great lava field about five miles in diameter, rough as can be imagined, with dwarf hemlock growing in its midst, and several tiny lakes standing like bowls of water here and there; and we have reason to believe that this mountain basin with no outlet was once a flaming crater, and that the clustered peaks that circle it in are the standing walls of some great volcanic mount, whose fires revived and so fiercely flamed as to melt the mountain down and send its ashes over the eastern deserts far and near.
About forty miles north of the Snowy Cluster stands a similar and even higher grouping of snow ridges. They are to the left directly of Mount Scott, and in a northerly direction from this place. The general course of the Cascade Range is north-northwest and south-southeast, but right here the range sways eastward and throws out Mount Scott as an advanced picket behind which the circling abutments rise that hold within their embrace the Mystic Lake, one of the most wonderful sheets of water to be found in all the earth--a wonder that until late was hidden from all the world save the savage tribes who lived beside the mountains in the valley they encircle. They saw it with great awe, visited it in their inspired moments and spoke of it as a sublime fact to be held in fear and reverence.
In company with a gentleman of taste and culture whose lot is thrown in this wild region, and whose summer rambles and hunting excursions have led him to explore not only the lakes and the valleys, but almost every recess of the mountains, I have lately visited Crater Lake, but not under circumstances the most inspiring, for the season was not fully propitious for the adventure. A mountain road that leads from Jacksonville in the Rogue River to Fort Klamath and is used to haul the supplies for the troops and for the driving of stock from the western valley to the eastern plains, passes within three miles, and even less, of Crater Lake. It was doubtful if the road was open for trains and it was more than probable that the three miles of steep ascent beyond it was snowbound, but fortune might never bring me to those wilds again, and with my experienced friend for a guide I did not hesitate to essay the journey. The lake is only twenty-five miles from Fort Klamath, by the route to be traveled, and nearly one-third of the way lay over grassy plains and meadows as beautiful as dreamland. The mountains rose before us and all around us, save where the lake shore bounded us on the south, and to make the enchantment of the scene complete there was humidity in the air to lift the lake shores and the lake itself--more than ten miles distant--into the air, and make its surface of silver show in the refraction of the strange mirage. There was romance and poetry in the air that lifted the lake surface to our view and magnified the willows that grew on its border to appear a forest. There was around us all the romance that mountain scenery could give, and the rays of July were fortunately moderated so that we galloped over the unfrequented road rapidly, and saw the panorama change as rapidly as we rode.
Through the mountains the road lay in the great pine forest with undergrowth of laurel, all in bloom, scented with honey. The rise was very gradual, and our course lay for awhile along the shores of a creek which soon dug for itself a deep passage and could be heard roaring far beneath. The rise was so gradual that we kept up the gallop much of the time and made rapid way. After awhile the road lay directly along the bank of Annie Creek and gave us a fine view of the cañon it had it had dug for itself. We could look across from bank to bank and see no deep chasm intervening, and the distance seemed not more than a stone's throw, but when we went to the bank and made the experiment the stone fell far down in the middle of the stream. For a long distance the cañon of Annie Creek is a scene of remarkable beauty. It is not easy to decide if the stream follows a natural chasm or had dug this channel for itself. The cut may not have been over 300 feet across, but it was apparently 500 feet deep and the banks were generally precipitous, fresh walled with sharp basaltic columns, with angles and edges clear cut as water would not have left them. The solution to the problem is that if the water has made the cañon, the face of the basaltic wall has fallen down and left the finished columns as nature built them. Imagine this cañon deep cut down and these basaltic shafts close fitted to each other and lining it for miles. The rust of ages browns the stone in places, and lower down the wall is hung with lichens and mosses very beautiful. At its base, springing from the debris, hemlocks shoot upward, slender and tall; they have also rooted in crevices on the sides and hug the walls as they climb. The creek curves and still the chasm stands with here and there a cave, and with its wall crystallized in cubes as it was in the beginning.
Further on and we rise above the pines, the undergrowth disappears, and we have only the hemlock forest; the ridges grow more rugged, banks of snow resist the midsummer sun and lie across our road, but we cross them without trouble. Since last year much timber has fallen, and we find the pioneers of 1873 clearing away snow and wood to make a passage for the first wagon of the season. The snow increases as we mount a sharp ridge that constitutes the summit of the Cascade Range. It is a pass with high ranges looming up each side, and it probably 7,000 feet in altitude, but our destination is a point in the ridges to the north, 1,500 to 2,000 feet higher yet.
Crossing the summit, we come down on the waters of Rogue River. Our way lies along the base of a high range for some distance, and then we commence to climb upward over fields of universal snow. Up and up we wind, sometimes pausing to give our animals breath, not often caving in, but occasionally, when crossing some gulch where the water had tunneled under, the bridge is not strong enough and we break through and have to flounder to get out. On the mountain road below, we saw the tracks of a lion and her cubs, but here we are above all life, save some bird screams at us as we climb. Even the mountain sheep track did not reach up where we were going. There was only one thing to remind us of civilized life. Even there where the unmelted snows told us of winter in the midst of July, we found mosquitoes anxious to become acquainted, and that, too, upon familiar terms.
After two miles of this steep climbing, when we imagined ourselves at least 9,000 feet above the level of the sea, the timber partially disappeared and we could look back over the ranges and overlook all but the highest peaks. We rode still further a little way, ascended a slight ridge that rose before us, and were on the very rim of perhaps the vastest crater on the face of the earth. The first impression was a lofty sense of altitude, for we seemed to surmount the world and to be identified with the summits to which I had looked upwards for weeks past. The next impression was that the sky was below as well as above us, which was only dispelled when I was able to realize that the great sheet of blue that we looked down upon was water, and not air.
It is not easy after so casual a look and so brief acquaintance, to do justice to a scene of such unusual grandeur and wild and weird magnificence. My first impression was disappointment. I had heard of a beautiful lake cradled among the highest cliffs and walled in with precipices that range from 1,500 to 3,000 feet in height. My mind had pictured those walls close at hand and imagined the lake deep down beneath my feet; and there it all was, but on a scale so much grander than my imagination was able to conceive that realization was not the fulfillment I expected. Instead of a lake whose walls were close at hand, the waters spread out from six to ten miles away, and the cliffs that walled them in were dwarfed by the distances, until the mind had studied and comprehended the wildly majestic scene, and the eye had strengthened its impressions by the aid of an excellent field glass.
To the east of us was Mount Scott, distant about six miles, sloping down to the crater wall, and forming a section of its rim. In six or eight places around the great circle the rim rises to points from 2,500 to 3,000 feet in height. Where we stood it had been as accurately measured as possible and ascertained to be 1,500 feet high. It was about the lowest place in the great circle, and one of the few places where a steep gulch worked its way to the lake shore, or rather to the lake, for as I scanned the lake wall for the entire circuit of twenty-five to thirty miles--which may be considered its circumference--I found no sign of a shore, and the lake seemed to wash an upright wall. Even at the foot of the steep ravine below our feet a line of boulders formed the only shore.
Some of the heights that stood around were surmounted by pinnacles of red, ragged lava, and off to the right, down in the lake, there stood up, near the wall, sharp spires of the same material. Off to the left, on the southwest side, rose an island in the lake, a cone of lave nearly 1,500 feet in height, overgrown with stunted hemlock, and with a saucer-shaped depression in its summit 100 feet deep and 300 feet across. Off to the east a lava flow bridges the lake for several miles. They tell me that the island which appears so near is in reality three miles distant, and the lake stretches beyond it more than twice as far away. The lake is oblong from north to south and must be at least twenty-five miles in circumference. Its surface is probably above the point where the Jacksonville Road crosses the summit. Its waters are deep blue, and its depth has never been determined, thought it is said to have been measured unavailingly to the depth of 1,350 feet, but I cannot vouch for the truth of the report. As we overlooked the surface, far below us, it was freckled and clouded with the reflections of the sky, and on a clear day the walls are reflected and inverted on it with fine effect.
The snow overlaid the brink wherever there was anything for it to hang to, and the gulch by which the lake is reached was impassable--that is, it would have been hazardous and foolhardy to have attempted the descent. As we stood there in July, it was a winter scene, but what must it have been in January! Then the lake must have been solidly frozen over to an immense depth and covered with snow perhaps thirty-five feet deep besides. It is, of course, impossible to descend the crater wall, except late in the summer, and in the autumn before the snows come. The time may be when the Oregon and California Railroad will cross the mountains within forty miles of them, and enable tourists to visit this romantic scene. It is a favorite sport to roll rocks over the precipices and hear them crash along the wall. We were unable to indulge in this to advantage, as the snow covered the rocks and encumbered the crater's rim. The residents on Klamath Reserve made a boat a year or two ago, and took the pieces to the brink and let them carefully down to the water's edge. Here it was put together and made as safe as possible and used to prospect the island and the shores or walls of the lake. It was by this reducing the navigation of the lake to practical experiment that an estimate was made of its great size.
The presence of the island cone seems to be accounted for on the hypothesis that when the internal forces had partly subsided and were mostly spent, they concentrated in this one place and raised this island cone, a volcano of itself.
The Indian have traditions and legends relating to this lake and its setting of high volcanic walls that show that to their minds it is connected with the supernatural. They believe it is the favorite resort of the Supreme Being when he deigns to visit the earth, and that it has some undefined connection with the spirit world. They believe that those who have been translated to the celestial spheres return to disport on the goblin waters, and that often, just at nightfall, these beings bathe in the lake and sail over its surface in fairy canoes that fly with wings of gossamer. They rumor that strange sounds moan over the lake surface at evening; the echoes of the vast solitude are uttered oracles to them, and the sighing of the wind over the buried waters are words of greatest mystery. It is a custom for those who mourn departed friends to seek some mountain solitude and then do penance to secure good fortune for the departed in the spirit land. They used to come to this sea of solitude and mystery and perform their devotions on these cradling peaks; they have left these high piles of rock to show how faithfully they have performed their vows, and they were wont at night to climb down the steep and bathe in the mystic waters with penitential reverence, the while listening to and drinking in the moaning sounds of night and imagining that fairy and spirit forms glided through the air and flitted over the lake. It is their custom when any persons return from there to carefully inquire of them if the saw the flitting forms and heard the sounds they construe as tokens of supernal life. The great medicine men of the tribes make lonely pilgrimages to Mystic Lake and study the secrets of the universe to learn something of nature from her highest heights. It is a region always allied to mystery and consecrated to it from all time.
We camped that night in a small grove, under which the snow had melted away, and so given us room to tie the horses and spread our blankets. We made a crackling fire, from the hemlock limbs that lay about, against the trunk of a fallen tree, and kept it blazing through the livelong night. We fed our horses with some oats, purchased at the wagon we met near the summit, and helped ourselves to sandwiches from our haversacks and then we lay down under the shelter of the crater's rim and slept. The day had been fatiguing and the night was bitter cold, so much so that our slight bedding was insufficient, but our feet were toward the blaze, which lent a covering of friendly ashes as well as heat, and we rose occasionally to feed the fire and toast ourselves before its genial warmth. It would be more agreeable to visit Crater Lake later in the season, when the snows had mostly disappeared and the passage to the shore or edge of the lake could be also made, but it was a great pleasure to have seen it at all, to watch the placid waters of deepest blue that are walled in by what was once a channel for volcanic fires.
Where the vast body of water comes from is an interesting question, as well as to ask what becomes of it. The lake has no visible outlet, but Rogue River rises around the western base of the lake wall, and Wood River, which feeds the great Klamath Lake, heads upon the east. It is safe to speculate as to where these waters go, but who can tell whence they come?
New York Times, July 27, 1873, page 3
For the Bellows Falls Times.
CRATER LAKE, OregonWere I not egotistical enough to believe that my reputation for truth and veracity
August 25th, 1873
had been pretty fairly established when a boy, I should now most likely pause to
consider whether it were prudent and advisable to run the risk of losing the
reputation said to have been accorded to my most illustrious namesake, the owner
of the little hatchet, "who never told a lie."
I well know that Californians are proverbial for telling large truths, or at least,
they have the reputation of doing so--and I am also as well aware that we too
often remark as we hold up our hands in holy horror, "Well I used to think he was
a very truthful young man, but since he went out to California, he tells such
Be they lies or truth I leave you my dear friend to judge, and now if you will
pardon me this time I will attempt to faintly describe what I saw at
CRATER LAKE,or as it is sometimes called Mystic, and others Magic Lake--either are
synonymous and very appropriate, although "Crater Lake" is the name usually
given it, as it is unquestionably a lake embosomed within the crater of what once
was an enormous volcano. The lake is situated about 25 miles northeast from Ft.
Klamath and on the top of a very high mountain which is estimated to be about
10,000 feet above the level of the sea, although I think its altitude has never been
calculated. The lake is very nearly round, perhaps ten miles in diameter, and of
the purest crystal water. The reflection of all surrounding objects are almost
perfect; indeed, it is difficult to determine unless one looks very closely, where the land and water meet. It apparently has no inlet nor outlet and its depth is not
known, for it has never been sounded. It was first discovered by white men some
fifteen years ago, which with its inaccessible location is undoubtedly the principal
reason why it has not acquired its merited reputation as being one of the grandest
wonders of natural scenery in the world. Our party was comprised of Col. L------,
Capt. H-------, and another C-------. (?) [sic]
Our retinue consisted of a guide and three soldiers and our means of
transportation a four-mule ambulance and a two-horse spring wagon which carried
our blankets, rifles, provisions, field glasses, cooking utensils, and (by the way)
just the nicest little box, containing champagne, a few bottles of whiskey, port
wine, and a box of fragrant cigars, which was donated by our very considerate post
trader; provided in case we got bitten by a rattlesnake. "You know how 'tis
We started from the Fort at 9 o'clock a.m. and enjoyed our drive very much
along the level plain until we began to ascend the mountain, when our traveling
became more and more tedious until we finally were compelled to abandon our
ambulances and pursue our journey on foot. We passed up Annie Creek Canyon
where we witnessed some most beautiful scenery, and it occurs to me just here to
cogitate whether this creek and canyon were named after a dusky maiden who
might have lived and flourished in this locality long before the white man brought
his wife and daughters into these mountain wilds--or whether Annie was really a
maiden of fairer skin and blooming cheeks--at what particular cycle of time
marks her advent is of little importance, and her virtues (for no doubt she
possessed many) are of little moment at this period, for Annie Creek Canyon had
its birth in "days of yore," long, long ago. The marks of time, counted by centuries,
are plainly discernible upon the walls of rocks through which Annie Creek has cut
its way to the depth of 500 feet in places and for ten miles the average depth is
more than 300 feet. True, this rock is a species of sandstone or pumice stone, yet
day after day, year after year, and century after century has the water of Annie
Creek cut its way through its rocky bed, leaving its almost perpendicular walls
towering far above its present course.
We rode along the banks of Annie Creek for perhaps five miles when we turned
to the right and began the more abrupt ascent to the mountains. We have become
accustomed to riding over rough roads, and even in places like the present where
there is no road at all, since leaving the States, and therefore were not very much
surprised on this occasion to find ourselves riding over rocks and logs at every
yard, now making a short turn to avoid a huge pine, and then again driving mighty
straight ahead to get between two others equally as large. The
SNOW DRIFTStoo, were becoming too numerous along our course of travel for comfort or safety, some of them being still twenty feet deep. How deep they had been in winter is difficult to say. Vegetation was just springing forth along our pathway and at one place, away up the mountainside, we noticed a large number of strawberry
blossoms in full bloom, Strawberry blossoms and snow drifts, twenty-five feet in
depth, side by side, reminding us of "strawberries and ice cream" with a
About two hours by sun we reached our campground, which was by the bank of
a beautiful little creek of crystal water, so pure and sparkling and even colder than
ice water. At this altitude the trees were not so large as they were lower down,
and here I saw some real Green Mountain hemlock, which done my heart good.
We found it impossible to proceed any further with our ambulances, and while
our men "fixed up camp," procured hemlock boughs upon which to spread our
blankets, and cooked our supper, we took our rifles and field glasses and started
up the mountainside, leaving our guide in camp, after receiving his directions.
We had about two miles to walk and found the ascent quite precipitous and rough.
After toiling up the mountain for nearly an hour we felt certain that we had
traveled a sufficient distance to be near the lake, but no lake was in sight although
we seemed to be very nearly on the summit. We had halted to rest and were
discussing whether we should go on or return to camp, as the sun was near setting,
when Col. L. suggested that we look a little farther. We had not proceeded fifty
yards when almost immediately and instantaneously there broke upon our vision a
sight, which, for
GRANDEUR AND SUBLIMITY,hardly has its equal in the world.
There! There!! we all exclaimed, in one voice, and passing across a beautiful
little plateau of green; we found ourselves standing on the very brink of the crater.
The beautiful lake, with hardly a ruffle upon its quiet surface, lay like burnished
silver two thousand feet below us. Beautiful lake, indeed! Grandest of God's
handiworks! Sublimely grand! The bluffs or sides of the crater were almost
perpendicular, and for the most part composed of solid rock.
Nearly in the center of the lake and rising up of it was an
INTERIOR VOLCANO,the crater of which could be plainly seen from the bluffs. This interior volcano is
a perfect sugarloaf and rises out of the lake for nearly fifteen hundred feet, with
exterior sides so steep that it would be almost impossible for a person to climb to
the top, were he able to get over to the base of it. The reflection of this interior
volcano in the water of the lake is almost perfect, in fact it is almost impossible to
discover where the water and land unite.
The lake, as I have before stated, is probably
TEN MILES ACROSSand nearly round, but looking at it from the bluff or brink of the crater, it does not
appear at first sight to be more than two miles in diameter. It occurred to Capt. H.
that he could shoot across to the interior volcano, and he raised his carbine and
fired, and was very much surprised to see the ball fall in the water less than halfway across. Again a shot was fired from a Sharp's carbine, the ball being a fifty-one hundredth caliber, with a charge of fifty-five grains of powder, the carbine
being held horizontal with the top of the bluff, and the ball was ten seconds in
striking the water. Another shot was fired from the bluff, the carbine being aimed
as near vertical as possible for the ball to strike the water, and the time was three
seconds. The same experiment was tried at other points on the bluff with very
nearly the same result, which proves the bluff to be from fifteen hundred to two
thousand feet high, and the lake to be from ten to twelve miles across it. Night was
approaching and we were reminded that it was time to return to camp, and hastily
bidding our beautiful companion an affectionate good night, we started down the
mountains, arriving in good time for our evening repast, consisting of bacon, bread
Early morning found us astir, and partaking of a hasty breakfast, we shouldered
our rifles and again started up the mountain, for the purpose of getting another
glorious view of this most beautiful panorama of nature. Directing our man
"Friday" to supply himself with a bottle of champagne, crackers and cheese, and to
repair to the top of the bluffs, there to await our coming, we took a more circuitous route
IN SEARCH OF GAME,which we judged to be quite plentiful, from the fresh tracks of deer and mountain
sheep which we had seen the night previous. Passing round to the right, through
the thick timber, over the ridges and rocks and along the craggy edges of the deep
ravines, whose dark defiles were just lighting up by the morning sun, passionately
enjoying the wild grandeur of this mountain scenery, lost in reverie, I had for the
time forgotten that I was a huntsman rather than an admirer of nature, when a deer
of beautiful proportions jumped up directly in front of me and not more than one
hundred and fifty yards distant. It was a fine doe, and giving a little snort she
bounded off a short distance and then stopped, and looking back over her
shoulder, with an unconcerned though curious air, seemed to say, "I guess you
won't hurt me, you don't look very scary." I admit now, after mature reflection,
that I felt a pang of pain as I raised my rifle, and catching a hasty range along the
sights, fired. Poor thing, and such a beautiful creature. My aim had been too sure,
for giving two or three tremendous jumps, she run for (deer) life over the nearest
ridge, and for aught I know to the contrary is running yet, all of which implies that
I didn't "faze" her at all, yet, which the same does not signify that I always miss
my game, as my well-stocked larder at home will tell a different tail.
This little episode was the only one worth relating which occurred during my
morning's hunt, for although I saw other fresh tracks of both deer and mountain
sheep, they took good care that I shouldn't see them, and proceeding again to the
bluffs I found the colonel, captain, cook and champagne awaiting my arrival. The
cook had already "freppa" the champagne, whereupon we proceeded to freppa our
palates with the champagne. Wasn't it delightful! After partaking of our
refreshments we succeeded in descending
INTO THE CRATERfor several hundred feet, and with some difficulty reached a rocky point which
very nearly overhung the lake below.
From this point we were comparatively safe, sustaining ourselves by the limbs
of a stunted pine which seemed to have grown out of the very rocks, while our
men from above loosened and rolled down huge rocks into the lake, some of them
probably weighing nearly a ton.
Words fail to describe the effect produced by this operation, as those ponderous
rocks came tearing, crashing down the almost perpendicular walls of the crater,
crushing all before them, until it finally buried itself in the waters of the lake two
thousand feet below.
We were boys again and clapped our hands in boyish glee, but a few moments
later we found it no "boy's play" to climb back again to the top of the crater. I am
told that at one point of the bluffs it is possible to descent to the lake, but I do not
think I would care to attempt the task. It was near "sitcum-sun." (Indian for
noon) when our party started down the mountains for camp, arriving at which we
partook of a hearty meal ("hiyou-muckamuck"), our appetites being well
sharpened by our morning's exercise. Our dinner over, we "clatawa" Fort
Klamath, arriving about sunset. K. [Lt. George W. Kingsbury]
Bellows Falls Times, Vermont, September 26, 1873, page 2
One bright morning a friend undertook to pilot me to an interesting wonder-region, high up among the loftiest summits--a very land of mystery, born of volcanic throes. The beautiful valley of Klamath Lake rests on a bed of volcanic ashes; pumice stone as light as cork drifts on its prairie reaches, and the craters, in whose furnaces these cinders were burned, look down on us from the chimney tops of the Cascade Range. Distant perhaps twenty miles away, it is a snowy cluster of heights, and bedded among them, walled in with precipices that forbid a shore and leave no outlet--deep down the sheer walls--is Crater Lake. So far as I know, there has never been a record made of this expanse of water, and I mistrust my pen when I attempt to describe this greatest wonder of Klamath land. For fifteen miles we galloped over the beautiful and deep-grassed prairie, with an occasional reach of timber to give variety, and to tone the pleasant summer sun with its interval of shade. On the way we lunch at the tent restaurant that has followed the army to Fort Klamath, and rest there while the troops stand guard over the captive Modoc nation. The tents that bivouac on the greensward in the distance look up to the Stars and Stripes that float above the parade ground, and across it to the buildings and residences of the regular garrison, and all combined make a pleasing contrast to the unbounded fields we have passed and those that lie beyond--yes, bounded by paneled mountains and well-laid hills, but unfenced by the enclosing grasp of man. On through the deep-worn prairie trail, with the tall grass sweeping the stirrup, and the bloom and fragrance of many a flower coming up from the meadow depths to give us their swift greeting.
We reach the base of the Cascade Range, and commence the delightful ascent. The road is well laid on gentle ridges and level benches; the laurel is in full and fragrant bloom; the yellow pine blends with the scrubby black species as we climb, and so gentle is the rise that our gallop is scarcely broken. To our right is a branch of Wood River, appearing at first as a lively creek, but which grows a cañon as we climb, and the dashing of unseen waters tell of the gorge they have worn in the basaltic hills. We have made our swift way upward to where undergrowth is scarce, and the scrubby growth of the black pine forms the rule. My companion halts, and, turning our ponies from the road only a few yards, we stand on the brink of the cañon of Annie's Creek, look across the chasm to see the basaltic columns walling the further side as if built there yesterday, discolored by the rust of ages, freshly brought to view, standing hundreds of feet high. Deep down the gorge the turbulence of the foaming waters is seen; the walls are in places climbed and clung to by the tall, tapering hemlocks, and Annie's Creek Cañon, held up as it is by these prismatic cliffs, forms an object of no common interest. Pine gives way to hemlock, and the presence of snowbanks, some of which invade but scarcely obstruct our way, tell us that we are near the summit. The snow becomes almost universal, but we pass over it unhindered, for it is hard beneath the hoofs. Before evening, with the summit ridge just before us, we come to a camp, where the first wagon of the season, having crossed Siberian ranges and fields of untrodden snow, rests in anticipation of tomorrow's descent into the grassy meads of Klamath. The Rogue River road at the summit ridge must have an elevation of 7,000 feet, but when we reach the divide and see the waters wending their way westward, we still look up to surrounding heights and snowy summits that remind us that the road follows a low pass in the great mountain chain. Here our difficulties commence, for we have miles of steep climbing to do before we reach the wonder shores of Crater Lake.
Passing the divide and following along the west of a higher ridge for awhile, we then turn to the right and commence its ascent. The mountainside is densely timbered with hemlock, and the snow lies all around, its softened surface giving way to our horses' tread. We zigzag and wind the mountainside for two miles, always going steadily upward. Occasionally swift currents come down the gorges, fed by the melting snows. When the sun is about two hours high, we see a break in the monotony; the foreground is more open, and, reaching a summit which seems to look down upon all the world, and upward to a few solitary peaks which foot of man cares not to climb, we cross the open stretch to find ourselves upon the ridge that forms a segment of the wide-circling rim of Crater Lake. I cannot call it shore, for the walled-in waters look up to cliffs and are looked down upon by pinnacles and are bowed over and wept upon by midsummer snow drifts, but they know no beach and wash no friendly shore.
As the sun declines, we pass from point to point to get changing views and catch the inspiration of the wonder scene. The snow drifts clothe the mountain, and have reached over to embrace the inner wall. The wind, that with chill determination sweeps the mountaintops, has caught the tone of winter. The first sight was disappointing, for it was not what I conceived it to be, and, indeed, I could not conceive it to be what it was. Sometime, in the dim, volcanic past, there must have stood here, with those clustered heights forming a portion of its cliffs and spurs, a mountain mighty as Shasta--grander than its neighbor, McLoughlin--desolate as Hood. There must have come, at some time, a revival of its internal fires that made it consume itself, and sent its burned-out ashes to desolate the far interior. Deep down it burned, thousands of feet below the circling wall of summits that remain to tell the story, and when the agony was over and the vast cauldron had settled and boiled away to its very dregs, these waters welled up from Nature's vast and hidden spring, upheld by some power we cannot understand, vast and deep, and cold as the eternal snows. I was disappointed, because I had not realized the extent of Crater Lake. Standing upon a kingly summit, I looked upon the blue expanse that for once reached down to a horizon that seemed far below me. The ethereal blue was above and around me, but what was this sea of azure that lay between the mountain walls, ten miles distant, and reached far down beneath my feet? Above me was a sky that wore a troubled look, half-intelligible of coming storm, freckled with fear, furrowed with cloud-reaches that half-shadowed the closing day, and down below lay a sea of blue that reflected its sensations and gave them an untranslatable beauty that changed and grew stranger as the rippling wind borrowed wings from the upper currents and fanned the waters into a reflection of weird shadows that gave an unearthly mystery and wonder to the scene.
The wall of Crater Lake circles it for a distance of twenty-five miles; the lake must be seven by ten miles in width and length. Where we stood the wall had been measured and counted as 1,500 feet in height, and this was one of the lowest portions of it; it rises in other portions to 3,000 feet. Almost the entire distance the waves wash a nearly vertical wall; a slight slope outward at the top relieves it from direct perpendicularity, and near where we stand it is possible when the snows are gone to descend by a steep ravine, in which there is an occasional hemlock and some undergrowth. There is a narrow rim of boulders at the water's edge here, but there is no friendly shore. The mountain wall, for nearly the entire circuit, is a sheer cliff, grooved somewhat by the relieving hand of time that is constantly finishing its masterpieces, and sometimes the wall of gray is exchanged for red, ragged edges and pinnacles of lava, and there are, to our right, towers and fretted spires of such, rising from the placid lake. It is a scene that some master hand might be immortalized by transferring to canvas. Its grandeur is almost monotonous, its solitude is supremely desolate, and the mystery of its authorship is most sublime.
To the right stands Mount Scott, one of the perpetual snow points of the Cascade Range, yet it was but an insignificant butte compared to the mighty mountain of which naught is left but this vast crater. The western base of Mount Scott reaches to the crater rim, and shelves down in 3,000 feet of precipice to meet the water. It is a work of days to study this mystery, to read these lava cliffs, to tread these summit snows, and watch the changing humors of the deep-down, inner surface. The bird that leaves us to cleave the air downward to the water's edge is lost to sight long before reaching its mark; the stone we dig from under the snow to roll over the bank is heard long after it ceases to be seen; the red crags that rise off to the right, near the wall, look small, but they are hundreds of feet high.
Some ages after the mountain had burned out, and its fires had passed away, they must have revived and tried again to be fearfully revengeful, but they only succeeded throwing up within the crater, about three miles from the western wall, a mimic volcano about a quarter of a mile high, perfect in form--an unblemished pyramid clad with hemlock to the very apex, and with a distinct crater upon its summit. A lava flow reaches from its base for several miles toward the western shore. So vast is the lake that this island and volcano play a part that is highly picturesque, but not the least monopolizing the importance of the scene. My friend, Mr. O. C. Applegate once assisted to place a skiff on the lake and explored its waters. Its depth is said to have been sounded for 1,350 feet without reaching the bottom.
Of course, this wonderful lake furnishes a vast amount of mystery for Indian tradition. Here their medicine men still come, as they always came in the olden time, to study spiritual wisdom and learn the secrets of life from the Great Spirit. In the solitude of these winds they fasted and did penance; to the shores of the weird lake they ventured with great danger, to listen to the winds that came from no one knew where--borne there to roam the pent-up waters and bear the mysterious whispers of unseen beings, whose presence they doubted not, and whose words they longed to understand. They watched the shifting shadows of night and day; the hues of sunlight, moonlight and starlight; saw white sails glisten on the moonlit waters; caught the sheen of noiseless paddles as they lifted voiceless spray, and having become inspired with the supernal, they bore back to their tribe charmed lives and souls fenced in with mystery. It is by such inspiration that the Indian medicine men become infused with the superstitious belief that they are more wise than they are mortal.
We had tethered our horses under some trees where the snow had been melted, and that night we spread our blankets in a similar spot, kindling a huge fire of hemlock limbs (broken off by the snow), which we piled against a fallen tree. The night was bitter cold; the winds swept around us complainingly, but we slept by the crackling fire as soundly as tired nature can, after a day of mountain adventure.
Samuel A. Clarke, "Klamath Land," Overland Monthly, December 1873, pages 551-554
SWINGING ROUND THE CIRCLE.
FORT KLAMATH, LAKE MAJESTY AND ROGUE RIVER FALLS.
Well, according to promise, after seeing the sights about Lake Majesty, enjoying the hospitality of the generous "boys in blue" at Fort Klamath, who have enrolled themselves as soldiers under the "banner of temperance," and are now ready to set an example of morality both by precept and example for those who should themselves be the teachers and models, and enjoying many other pleasures and seeing sights too numerous to prelude my article by stating them, I am partly prepared to give them to the readers of the Sentinel, who have not had the exquisite pleasure or could not spare the time to take this trip and see for themselves.
Let me see, how shall I commence--by stating--? yes, now I have it! It was a very gusty morn somewhere between the 20th of August and middle of September (if you want the exact date call at the P.O. and our P.M. will give it) that fully prepared and equipped with the necessary apparatus for camping we started forth with bright anticipation of what we should see, fully determined to enjoy ourselves in the most approved style. With a hack that moved with a light and graceful motion, and a team that bore well on the bits, we headed for the mountains, took dinner at Madame Caldwell's spring, and camped for the night at Keene Creek, where the kind thoughtfulness of Col. Mason furnished us a spare tent, for which our appreciation was felt if not fully expressed. The Colonel is superintending the construction of the Southern Oregon Wagon Road, and deserves great praise for the manner in which he is doing his work. The Green Spring hill, which has always been a terror to teamsters, being so steep and difficult of ascent, is now traversed by a safe and easy grace; also the descent to Keene Creek is no longer dreaded as of old--but our province is sightseeing, and following our present purpose we pause on the summit of the hill between Keene Creek and Green Spring and look back; our eyes are greeted by a very fine view of several ranges of mountains raising their lofty crests one above the other till far in the distance the dim outlines of the California Coast Range are traced by the eye of the traveler. Pilot Rock looms up grand and gloomy, as if it were a mighty sentinel to guard the pass of the Siskiyous. During the succeeding day nothing occurred to relieve the monotony of the unchanging scenery. The road for thirty miles traverses a densely timbered region seemingly almost level, and were it not for the rocky sections of road one now and then passes over, the traveler might slumber sweetly or indulge in daydreams and lose nothing by deigning the surroundings more than a passing glance. On the third day we got a first glance of Little Klamath Basin from a high bluff overlooking Klamath River. The day was smoky, and the view as as "through a glass darkly"; in the foreground was seen Klamath River winding its tortuous way through tule and marsh, smooth and placid as the bosom of the lake, seen in the dim distance resembling a huge mirror covered with a thick veil and reflecting the rays of the sun through a mist. The scene was one calculated to awaken the muses, or stir to action the soul of a poet.
With considerable reluctance we descended from the brow of the cliff, resumed our seats in the hack and were soon whirling along through a cloud of alkali dust, forced to refrain from commenting on the sudden change in the topography of the country or submit to a strangling dose of dust prescribed by Dame Earth and administered by the gentle zephyrs which kept us completely enveloped in its cloud. This basin, being well adapted to stock raising, is being rapidly filled up, and agriculture is carried on with a considerable degree of success. One great drawback is the water. Though there is an abundance of it, it is of a very poor quality, and people who have been in the habit of quaffing nature's beverage as it comes "sparkling and bright" from the snow-covered heights of Ashland peaks almost famish ere reaching the pure aqua beyond.
We reached Linkville about three o'clock p.m., pitched camp above town, and in the cool shades of the evening my wife and I (for be it known that I am a married man now, and wouldn't change places with the Czar of Russia, no sir! not much), well, as I was about to say, my wife and I accepted the kind invitation of our estimable friend H. M. Thatcher to take a boat ride, and soon we were gliding "o'er the waters blue," and not until the song of birds had ceased and the small still hours of night were fast approaching did we moor "our little boat," bid our friend a kind good night and repair to camp.
Linkville is situated on the bank of Link River at a point where the river loses its identity, merges into a beautiful little lake [and] is henceforth known as Klamath River. The surrounding country presents rather a barren, unproductive and uninviting appearance, but facts do not carry out the impression, and we find that nearly all the fruits, vegetables and grain peculiar to the latitude and climate are successfully produced. Messrs. Nurse & Miller are doing a good business in the mercantile line. Uncle George has in the past year erected a commodious and substantial hotel building and gets good patronage from many of the citizens of the place as well as from travelers and visitors. Linkville is peopled by a class of men who are not only devoted to business but are careful to make visitors feel at home and assist in heightening their enjoyment if they chance to be seeking pleasure.
Leaving Linkville for Fort Klamath, our road lay over a low range of hills, from the summit of which a fine view can be obtained of Link River Basin, Lost River, Little Klamath Lake, Klamath and Link rivers, Mount Shasta and Mount McLoughlin. Here the admirer of the beauties of nature may feast his eyes unto weariness. Our road for a distance of 9 miles from this point passes through a fine open forest of timber and descends to Big Klamath Lake by an easy grade. Here is a fine ranch, where, when he is at home, Captain Ferris' (the proprietor) jolly face may be seen, and his clear ringing voice is always a pleasant welcome to his many friends. Here the Capt. tells me he raises an abundance of choice vegetables and feels confident that whatever he wishes from the soil he can produce. Looking from the balcony of his house a fine view of the lake is obtained.
One and a half miles from this place we arrive at a very rough piece of road known as Modoc Point, and he who wishes a thorough shaking, and a severe test of his temper and nervous system, I would advise to take a trip over Modoc Point. We succeeded in passing this terrible ordeal without any nervous injury and, remembering our trip to be a pleasure trip, refrained from the use of any expletives. We arrived at Williams River in time to fix up our camp by firelight. But my article is getting long, and to my readers I expect rather tedious, but as we are now just nearing the principal object of our visit, and that, for which I commenced this article to describe, I will conclude in the next issue by giving a few remarks on Fort Klamath and surroundings, and last but most important of all, Lake Majesty and Rogue River Falls.
C. B. WATSON.Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, September 19, 1874, page 2
SWINGING ROUND THE CIRCLE.Oregon Sentinel, Jacksonville, September 26, 1874, page 2
STILL ON THE WING FOR LAKE MAJESTY AND THE FALLS.
On the morning of the 6th we broke camp and started for the Fort, thirteen miles distant. This morning, as on the two previous ones, the whole country was enveloped in smoke. Our view, therefore, was limited, though what there was in the circle of our vision was fine, the veil of smoke giving a novel appearance to the scene. As the rippling of Williams River died away in the distance we cast our eyes about us and found ourselves surrounded by sagebrush, peering over the tops of which was now and then seen an Indian hut, wigwam or tent. They prowl about the country like the Arabs of the desert. Their habits are nomadic, but few having permanent homes. Some, however, seem very comfortably fixed--have houses "like unto the whites," and cultivate small fields of grain. Two or three miles bring us to the shore of the lake again, but on this occasion the opposite shore was not visible, owing to the smoke, which gave it the appearance of a boundless sea. Four or five miles from the river in a northwest direction we come upon the site of the old Agency, and why it should ever have been established at this place I cannot imagine, as (to me, at least) a more uninviting position could not have been found in that part of the country. Next in turn comes
pleasantly located on a fine stream, which, at this place, rushes in one volume from beneath the mountain which bounds it on the east. The town is situated in the edge of a fine grove of tamarack and pine, is neatly built and cleanly kept, contains a well-regulated school for the rising generation of savages, a flouring mill, saw mill, and a full quota of other establishments. Several families are residents here and seem to appreciate the pleasantness of their situation. The water of this, as all other streams flowing into the north of Big Klamath Lake, is of such transparency as not to obstruct a close observation of objects lying beneath its ever-flowing current, even where the water is several feet in depth. The Agency is so situated as to overlook a fine stretch of rich prairie land, suitable (were it not for the severity of the winters) for successful agricultural operations. And even as it is, a considerable amount of grain, hay, and I am told some vegetables, are produced. The distance to the Fort is five miles, over an almost perfectly level country, beautifully diversified with prairie and timbered land, traversed here and there by silvery streams of crystal waters, their banks bordered with evergreens and a luxuriant growth of vegetation. In vain did I listen [for] the sound of fairy trumpet, and expectantly watch for some woodland nymph to cross our path. The whoop of a savage or the sight of a dusky dame of the forest might have dispelled the delusion, and have caused us to realize the fact that we were not in fairy land, but traversing groves where ribald scenes of brutal barbarism had been, and might again be enacted. We come now to
FORT KLAMATH.The spot upon which it is built was selected with a view to convenience, beauty and its adaptability to the purpose. Abundance of pure water, broad expanses of meadow land, a superabundance of excellent timber for all purposes, the general healthfulness of the location, and the abundant supply of fine mountain trout are among some of the more important characteristics of the place. Were it not for the frequent and severe frosts and great depth of snow here in the winter Oregon could not boast a more valuable or beautiful tract of country than this of Upper Klamath. And even as it is, I look in the future to see it utilized for grazing purposes. Each year now, during the summer season, extensive herds of cattle, horses and sheep may be seen quietly cropping the luxuriant herbage with which the plain is so extravagantly carpeted, and a good steak purchased of some of the grazers of this vicinity testifies as to quality of the grass. And now a few words in reference to
THE SOLDIERS AT THE FORT,and what they are doing. Here is an order of things peculiar, I believe (as regards soldiers as a body), to Klamath alone. The boys at the Post have organized a Lodge of Good Templars and have gone into the work with earnestness. The Good Templars among them only associate with their brother Templars. They have completely revolutionized matters at the Post, and instead of lounging around or engaging in drunken revelry, we see them following steady habits, using their utmost endeavors to reclaim their comrades and to save others from falling. Among the most zealous workers may be mentioned Jas. Lynch, the W.C.T. [Worthy Chief Templar], an intelligent, genial gentleman, and an honor to his lodge and to the cause; Frank J. Murphy, W.S. [Worthy Secretary], a lively, practical man, full of life and jollity, making his presence felt wherever he is and forcing mirth and laughter upon his homesick or depressed companions; private [Jasper Newton] Terwilliger (I have forgotten his initials), D.G.W.C.T. [Deputy Grand Worthy Chief Templar], another very affable, intelligent and pleasant young man, tired of the army but determined to do good while in it, and many others too numerous to mention, and whose names I have forgotten. They all deserve praise for what they have already done, and will yet succeed in putting down this fiend [i.e., alcohol] which has come to be a national curse. They are mostly privates and are laboring under many disadvantages. They met with a great loss when Gen. Wheaton took his leave of Fort Klamath. The General did all he could to assist the boys, for he appreciated their efforts. The same can't be said of all the officers. And this elevates, in my estimation, the sober, moral private far above the dissipated officers. We look not to title for the man; though title and rank be piled on and heaped up in profusion, yet if that manly spark and principle be lacking I defy you to show me the man. We should all remember that beneath the meanest exterior may sometimes be found the purest heart or brightest intellect. But we must move on and get a view of
LAKE MAJESTY,and even now I fear time and space will not permit me to do it justice, though I possessed the power, which I do not claim. I had hoped to describe the scenery on Anna's Creek, which stream we follow up for a distance of seven or eight miles, on our way to the Lake. But as time will not permit, suffice it to say that it is grand, the stream having its course through a canyon with perpendicular walls of stone from 200 to near 1,000 feet in height. We took dinner about fifteen miles from the Fort and arrived at camp, two miles from the Lake, and proceeded to construct a bower of boughs to shelter its slumbering inmates from the rude intrusion of the blasts and chilling dews or frosts that never fail, in clear weather, to moisten the face of nature in this elevated region. Having made all things ready for the night we sought our couches to dream of what we should see on the morrow. This great natural wonder is situated on the summit of the Cascade Mountains. The trail to it is becoming plainer and more worn each year, from the great number of persons who visit it during the summer and fall months. It is yet very rough, crooked and difficult to drive a team over, yet teams are driven to the bank of the Lake. The trail is through a dense forest of timber peculiar to the altitude, only such as grows on high mountains. Small streams and bubbling brooks greet the eye and slake the thirst of the traveler at every turn until you get within about a mile and a half of the Lake. The ascent is not very steep nor difficult for horsemen or footmen, and good grass is plentiful this time of the year, as far as water is found up the mountain. There is nothing beyond, however, to indicate a body of water ahead, and the adventurer is impressed with the idea, or rather the feeling, that he is above all traces of water--in fact beyond the power-- of vegetation to grow. There is no change in the scenery to notify one that he is nearing one of the grandest scenes in the world, but knowing that it was ahead of us, patiently we toiled onward and upward, pausing now and again to get breath to enable us to pursue our journey. One has no notice of the nearness of the Lake until the whole scene, in one grand view, breaks upon the astonished gaze of the traveler. Here we stand, upon the brink of a mighty basin hollowed out by the hand of nature in some of her terrible upheavals. Standing upon the brink, the placid bosom of the Lake is spread out two thousand feet below. There are but two places discovered where it is possible for man to reach the water, and even here the utmost caution is required. The Lake is said to be about ten by fifteen miles in extent, yet so pure is the atmosphere and so transparent the water that the distance across does not seem one third of what it really is. An island stands about two miles from the shore, and is estimated at 1,500 feet in height, composed of lava and cinders. An excavation is left in the top about one hundred feet deep. This island is supposed to have been the last chimney or crater to the mighty volcano that was in active operation here, and was the instrument in the hands of nature in changing and transforming a vast extent of country. For many miles around, the country is covered to a considerable depth with pumice stone and other rocks of volcanic origin. Just imagine this immense cauldron, containing between 100 and 150 square miles, and mayhap thousands of feet deeper than is indicated by the surface of the water, filled with molten lava and threatening every moment to inundate the country with liquid fire--its fiery tongues of flame shooting upward as if defying the gods themselves, for its perpendicular rock-bound sides bear evidence of having struggled with the flames in their mad attempts to escape from this rocky prison--and you have a faint idea of what I conceive this lake once to have been. There are points about this mystic spot that are probably 3,000 feet above the water. One point is known as "Sore Thumb," from its peculiar shape, resembling, as it does, the hand of a man doubled with the thumb projecting above the fist, with a portion torn off. It is one of the highest points in the vicinity, and from its summit an extensive view can be had. The Lake, it is said, has been sounded to a depth of 600 feet, and in places no bottom has been found. There is no visible inlet or outlet, and the water is as transparent as crystal. Huge banks of snow repose on the inner rim of this basin the year round. From the south bank we turned southward and were surprised with the splendid view spread out before us. There, twenty-five miles away, slumbered Big Klamath Lake, mountain barriers encompassing it, and its many tributaries wending their way to add their mite to swell its burden of waters. The whole Lake and Basin was spread out in one extended view and gave such a view as many would travel hundreds of miles to see. But we were destined to see what no other party has seen--
LAKE MAJESTY IN A SNOW STORM.About noon the sky became darkened with clouds, the wind arose and the blinding snow limited our vision to a few hundred yards. I descended to the water's edge, entered the boat and pushed out into the Lake, whose placid bosom but so short [a] time ago had seemed incapable of motion, but now the agitated waves began to roll, and whitecaps to break on the shore. The majestic cliffs, now that I had got to the bottom and was looking up, seemed terrific [i.e., terrifying]. I was getting uncomfortably cold, my boat was leaking and I floating upon the surface of the waters which had smothered out the fires of this once lake of fire, and a storm was upon the deep. The sensation was not a pleasant one. I succeeded in reaching shore, moored my boat, and after the hardest task for the same length of time in my experience reached the top, met my wife, who was almost ready to start in search of--a husband--thanked my fortune she was not a widow, took a last farewell look at Lake Majesty, and returned to camp, tired and hungry, while the ground was rapidly being covered with snow.
I'll tell my readers of Rogue River Falls in my next and ask pardon for making this so lengthy.
A TRIP TO CRATER LAKE IN SOUTHERN OREGON.
[The following sketch is copied from the Daily Oregonian of June 28th. We presume it to have emanated from the pen of Judge J. H. Reed. Everyone conversant with the scenery referred to will at once recognize the faithfulness of the description. Our people are so accustomed to looking upon the natural beauties surrounding them that they do not appreciate their charms as do those who visit and view them for the first time, and their description in this instance is by one fully able to appreciae natural beauty and competent to express the truth in a charming way without at all encroaching upon the realm of romance. Of such is the statement following:]
Of all the varied and beautiful country which is found between Los Angeles and Puget Sound, none is more lovely in climate, more fertile in soil, more varied in products and more exquisite in scenery than the valley of Rogue River in Southern Oregon.
Jackson County, through which the Rogue River runs, is one of the southern counties of the state. There the almond, the fig and the magnolia, the pride of the South, grow and bloom in the open air. With the Siskiyous on the south, dividing it from California, the Cascades or Sierras on the east, and the Coast Range on the west, and its beautiful prairies--dotted with oak groves and teeming with grain, orchards and vineyards--running up to the foot of the mountains, it presents a scene at once soft and grand like "Beauty sleeping in the lap of Terror." The river itself was originally called Rouge River by the voyageurs of the Hudson Bay Company [not true], then Gold River, and at last it has been doomed to bear the title of Rogue River, a corruption of its first name. [The river was named after the propensities of its natives, not any supposed color.] Some few years ago, it was rumored that at the source of the river in the Cascades a lake had been discovered of such surpassing magnificence that the like had ne'er been seen. On one of our lovely September days of last year it was determined to start out to find the lake and enjoy the mountains. The party consisted of General John E. Ross, "Jimmy" Stewart and the writer. The General is an old Oregonian, and has been in every Indian war from the days of "Old John" and his men, the heroic age of Indian warfare in 1855-'56, until and inclusive of the Modoc troubles. "Jimmy" is a Scotchman, as his royal name would indicate. He has been gamekeeper, sailor, packer and an old "'49" miner. He is a good shot with both shotgun and rifle, Purdy or Winchester, and in the mountains is worth half a regiment of men. Nothing can break that he cannot lash; nothing can happen which is beyond his resources. There is one acknowledged weakness, however, in "Jimmy's" character. His perception of the right of property in dogs is not acute. He recognizes no ownership in a good dog of any species, save in himself. He is not altogether to blame, however, for his acquisitiveness in this particular, as ninety-nine dogs out of a hundred will follow him, "will ye, nil ye."
Having laid in seven days' provisions, we started up the river, traveling for the first twenty miles through the valley, by farm houses and mills and fields full of horses and cattle and sheep, until we crossed the river. Then the ascent began, which never terminated until we reached the summit of the range, eighty miles away. Higher and steeper becomes the trail, grander the scenery, and the mountains are piled up as you advance in inextricable confusion. Sometimes the river lies below you thousands of feet, looking like a silver thread, and again you are down on its banks with scarcely room between them and the mountain for your animal to walk. At one point, some hundreds of feet above the river, the General remarked, "This point is called 'Gut's defeat.'" Upon inquiry I found that the place had been thus named from an accident which happened there to an old horse belonging to an old pioneer named Hi Abbott, or the Alcalde. It seems that once when returning from a hunt, the old horse with the classic name, being loaded with the carcasses of eight deer, missed his footing and rolled down into the river, deer and all. He was not drowned, however, for as Jimmy said, "He shed his pack in the river and crawled out." But, as Irving says of Braddock, "His is a name forever associated with defeat." This Master Abbott was one of those men created for the purpose of being the forerunners of civilization. When Jacksonville was a mining camp and unbaptized, old Hi undertook to keep the boys awake one night by imitating the cry of a coyote, and moving his leg up and down from behind a log where he was concealed. A fellow named Berry, not liking to be disturbed, took a crack at the coyote with his revolver and shot Hi through the leg and lamed him for life. Just about this time the American idea of law and order and self-government and "all that" broke out in the camp and Hi was elected Alcalde. The old fellow, after some years, went up Rogue River to Flounce Rock, where, notwithstanding his short leg, he became a famous hunter. Flounce Rock is one of the landmarks on the river. At present the country about it is filled with cattle, the mountainsides and valleys being full of grass. The rock itself is perhaps a thousand feet at its base above the little valley which it overhangs, and from its base to its summit is about five hundred feet more. When the country was all under water, or rather when the water was subsiding, there were peculiar marks like water lines made upon the rock, which were thought by the discoverers to resemble the flounces on a lady's dress, hence the name of Flounce Rock. Proceeding up the river and diverging a mile or so from the trail to the right, you come to the falls of the river. Of course the whole stream at this elevation (4,000 feet above the sea) is nothing but a series of rapids; here, however, we have a perpendicular fall of one hundred and ninety-four feet. It has the usual concomitants of all large waterfalls, the roar, the spray and the rainbow, but it has what the others have not, its stupendous forests of fir, white pine, sugar pine, hemlock and yew trees standing around as silent spectators.
The party moved on from the falls, intending to camp at a camp called Union Creek, tolerably near the summit. Before reaching the place night set in. The weather for two weeks prior to this time had been unseasonably warm, and long before we made our camping place the heavens "were hung with black," and owing to the darkness of the night, increased tenfold by the storm clouds and the dense forest, it was as much as we could do to find our way. In fact we could not have found it save for the sheet lightning which every moment or two absolutely covered the heavens. Just as we reached our camping ground and whilst we were unpacking our things, the storm culminated and the sheet lightning became forked, and then ensued such a scene of unparalleled grandeur as does not often fall to the lot of a man to see. Most men have to look up to see the lightning flash, and wait a moment for the thunder, but here we could look around us and on a level with us and see the chain lightning and look into it and see it as if it were running down like the molten metal that issues from a furnace, the crash and the flash being simultaneous. The isolation, the gigantic trees, the darkness lit up by oft-repeated flashes, and finally rendered more weird-like by the flames of two trees which the lightning had struck and set on fire, together with the sighing of the wind through the firs, and the roaring of the creek over the rapids where we camped, made it impossible to add another circumstance toward the completeness of the storm and its surroundings. We understood afterwards that in the valleys on both sides of the mountains towards the east and towards the west, and a hundred miles apart, people had been looking at the storm and wondering at its fierceness. We were in the midst of it and admiring it.
"Oh! night.Jimmy was proceeding to spread our blankets between two of the very tallest trees in the group. A member of the party suggested that it might not be a safe place, as the trees towered so high, to which Jimmy quietly remarked that if he had to be killed by lightning that night he was going to be dry when he died, and so proceeded with his duties as chambermaid. Our fear of getting wet, however, was unfounded. We had all the beauty of the storm and none of its inconveniences. It went down into the valley and left us above it, not wetting us in the least.
And storm, and darkness,, ye are wondrous strong,
Yet lovely in your strength as is the light
Of a dark eye in a woman!"
In the morning we pursued our way with the animals until noon, when we took it afoot for about a mile, which brought us to the rim of the lake. One glance repaid us a thousandfold for all the fatigue and trouble we had taken. The lake first known as Crater Lake, but now, with our national love of dollar-store jewelry and tawdry finery, called by some Lake Sublimity and by others Lake Majesty, lies at an elevation of seven thousand feet above the sea, measured by triangulation. It is seven and a half miles long by five and a half wide, and it has been sounded to a depth of five hundred and fifty feet and no bottom. It is in the summit of the Cascades, as we call them in Oregon, or the Sierras, as they are called in California. The ground recedes in every direction from the rim, and there are no higher peaks in the immediate vicinity. The depth from the rim of the lake down to the water varies from two thousand to four thousand feet, almost perpendicular. In the middle of the lake stands, covered with timber, a conical mountain, fifteen hundred feet high, a perfect sugarloaf, with its concave apex filled with snow, evidently an extinct volcano settled down and sunk, and now surrounded by water. An adventurous party descended the wall which forms the sides of the lake and, making a raft, sounded the depth as far as their fishing lines would reach, and then explored the sunken mountain to its top. There is no beach to the lake, the ground preserving the same inclination under the water as above it. Jimmy descended the precipice forty or fifty feet to disengage a boulder some two feet and a half in diameter from the soil and roll it down. We timed it for precisely one minute by the watch, tracing its course by the eye and by the ear when it disappeared from sight and sound, and we could hear no splash, nor could we see any ripple in the water.
The storm of the night before had purified the atmosphere, and the sight which met our gaze when we first caught a glimpse of the lake surpassed anything that any of our party had ever seen, and we were all old mountain men. It was not solely grand and terrible, awe-inspiring like the thunderstorm, but it was grandeur tempered with calmness and gentleness and serene beauty. There was not a ripple or the slightest motion in the water, and the General could not be persuaded that it was water that we first saw. He insisted on it that the lake had sunk: He was deceived by the extraordinary clearness of the water and his mistaking the water line as it then was for an old water line such as you see left by high water on all our watercourses. No mirror ever made reflected more perfectly than did the lake. The stupendous banks with every rock, with every obelisk and prism and peculiarity of shape, every mark and cave were as perfect in the water as they were above it, so that it was difficult to tell where the water commenced and the bank ended. Had your name been carved on the wall rock you would have seen it reflected in the water below. Every fleecy cloud and the deep blue of the sky intensified by the water into such a blue as never was seen before were reflected until you felt as if you were above the sky looking down into it.
The point from which we looked down was two thousand feet above the water beneath us, and that was the lowest place in the rim. You can get no nearer the water without descending the almost-perpendicular sides. The lake looked like an opal, not seeming to us more than a mile or two long and a mile broad.
From our standpoint, with the lake at our feet, looking up the Cascades north, we could see at long intervals Diamond Peak, the Three Sisters, and Mount Jefferson, covered with their eternal snows, and turning our faces east and south, we had away below us the Modoc country and Klamath Lake, with Sprague River, Williamson's River, Wood River and Annie River threading the desert, and in the far south, grand old Shasta, with his 14,400 feet, and his living glacier, the king of Northern California. Why was not Bierstadt there?
As the lake is as high as the summit of the mountain pass where the road leads over from Jacksonville to Fort Klamath, and as there are no mountains within a great distance higher than the lake, and the ground is descending on all sides from it, the question naturally arises, how is the lake fed and whence comes this great body of water. The answer may be arrived at by observing how the lake discharges itself. The plateau on which Klamath Lake and the rivers emptying into it is situated on the east of the mountains is 2,000 feet higher than the valley of Rogue River on the west of the mountains. At the foot of the mountains on the east, Wood River, a large river, in whose waters there is never any variation, Annie River and some smaller streams at a distance of 20 or 25 miles from the lake, and at a depth of 5,000 feet below it, all come out from under the mountains. They do not rise like pools or springs; they come out as rivers with a rapid current, and the fish can be seen at any time swimming upstream and under the mountain where the stream breaks out. There is no doubt but that these streams are the outlet of the lake. The whole country is lava and nothing but lava, and the water of the lake percolates through the lava, and finds its way through fissures and crevices until it forms the rivers above mentioned. There is no other visible outlet to the lake, and there can be no other source of the rivers. Is it not then probable that the lake is fed in the same manner that it is discharged, and that it is supplied by subterranean channels, even from the snowy peaks which tower up along the whole range, although they are miles, aye, some of them hundreds of miles distant?
No Indian ever treads the bank of the lake. There is a tradition that the lake is inhabited by a monster, to obtain a sight of which is death to a red man.
The whole scene has the look of enchantment--not a fish in the water, not a bird flying over it, not a motion in its glassy surface. Men born and brought up in a mountain country, however rude or unconventional they may be, are more or less all poets. There is many a "mute inglorious Milton" who can feel, but cannot speak, poetry, and few of that class of men will ever stand by Crater Lake for the first time without being silent, and becoming conscious of their own littleness; involuntarily they will look up to Him in whose boiling crucible at the appointed time, rocks, rivers, mountains and woods shall melt together.
Democratic Times, Jacksonville, July 7, 1877, page 1. The article originally ran in the Oregonian, Portland, June 28, 1877, page 4, and was subsequently reprinted in the Ashland Tidings, July 13, 1877, page 1
During my sojourn in Jacksonville a party of gentlemen planned an excursion to the Rogue River Falls and Crater Lake, two scenes well worthy of a visit from those who appreciate the beauties and wonders of nature, and at their invitation I accompanied them. Starting out early in the morning, we looked, as we emerged on the plains, like a body of guerrillas going on a raid, as our raiment was composed of many textures and colors, and we were armed with rifles, shotguns, revolvers, and bowie knives, while our mustangs ranged in hues from black to piebald and white. Our motley appearance produced many witty comments from members of the cavalcade, but one was so carried away with its imposing mien that he compared it to the march of a body of knights going on a chivalric mission to break lances with their foes. A practical individual destroyed the effect of this noble simile, however, by suggesting that we looked more like horse thieves, or outcasts from civilization, who were rushing all over the country in search of something to steal, and he strongly intimated that our presence in any hamlet would cause the people to lock up their houses, or to turn out and fight us. With such good-natured badinage as this the morning passed rapidly away, but finding that we should not reach our destination as soon as desirable by keeping at the pace we were then going, the leader gave the driver of the wagon containing our tents and provisions instructions where to meet us, then slyly hinted that we ought to gallop away from the wagon as rapidly as possible if we would not be suspected of being out on a poultry-stealing expedition. The hint was laughingly taken, and putting spurs to our mustangs, we were soon dashing over the prairie at a breakneck pace, and in a comparatively short time reached our first halting place, on the wooded banks of the Rogue River.
I noticed here, as I had in the open spaces, the unusual abundance of liliaceous plants, and the gaudy colors of nearly all the flowers. This gave the region a most brilliant appearance, for red, yellow, crimson, purple, straw and light blue hues were the most prominent; modesty of floral attire was, in fact, conspicuous by its absence, and this I subsequently found to be the case throughout the whole of Northwestern America.
Our first movement, after tethering the horses and turning them out to graze in a pasture so rich that the grass reached above their knees, was to make a pilgrimage to the Rogue River Falls, and drink in their beauty for an hour. These falls are formed by the river not far from where it breaks through the Coast Range on its way to the sea. The stream, being surrounded by magnificent firs, pines, cedars, and other trees throughout its entire course, it has the appearance, in perspective, of an undulating silvery thread stretched through an extensive field of foliage; and where it takes its abrupt leap the forest is so dense as to be almost impassable in summer, owing to the luxuriance of the shrubbery and undergrowth, and so dark and cool, even in the warmest weather, as to exhale a palpable humid coolness. Looking upward at the falls from their base, they are seen to emerge from a narrow opening between two huge masses of dark crags; but ere they reach the ground they seem divided into three sections of foamy spray, owing to the interruption of the line of sight by the dense and tangled foliage. Their actual height is estimated at 200 feet, and their width at 30, and their volume of water in early summer, during the spring freshets, at a depth of 8 feet. They are then in their finest condition, and the stream possesses such powerful velocity that it whirls large crags along its course as if they were pebbles. One of the most interesting features of the falls is the luxuriance of the mosses and lichens wherever the spray falls. Their base is surrounded by cedars, junipers, alders and willows, which are covered with moss to such an extent that their trunks and branches are almost concealed. This, of course, prevents much leafage, so that they present the appearance of a forest of gigantic mosses. Desiring to avoid the spray, I tore away some of the mossy covering from a tree, and found between it and the trunk a chamber, large enough to hold ten persons, and thoroughly waterproof. In this snug retreat I had a fine opportunity of studying the delightful scene before me, which in picturesqueness excelled any of a similar character I had seen before. The water in its fall threw copious showers upon the evergreens, and produced a permanent rainbow in the forest which extended from the highest tree to the lowest shrub. This was the first effect of its kind I had ever noticed, and most pleasing it seemed, as the line of foliage through which it passed was brilliantly illuminated with all the prismatic hues.
Having feasted our eyes on this vista of wood and water, we returned to the upper world once more and made preparations for supper. As we had no fresh meat it was decided to kill some deer, while others went fishing; but who should hunt and who should fish was a difficult matter to decide, as all seemed to be aching to practice their rifles or shotguns on something, if it were only a squirrel. The dilemma was solved, however, by drawing lots as to who should be compelled to try and drown a worm for an hour or two; and as I was one of these, I cut a twig for a rod, tied my line to it, and soon had my legs dangling over a bank, trying to drown a very small angleworm. I was not long engaged in this arduous duty when my hook was seized with a vigor that seemed to bring my heart to my mouth, but I soon recovered myself, and fought as well as I could against a 6-lb. trout as to whether I should land him on the bank or he pull me into the water. Science triumphed and I was victor. The fish were so plentiful and voracious that it became a labor to haul them ashore; and thinking I had enough, after I caught two dozen splendid fellows, I returned to camp, and there found some of the expedition busily engaged in skinning two fine stags which they had slain within half an hour after starting on the hunt. The others were not so fortunate, but everyone brought in something--a hare, a wood duck, or a grouse; and one individual who could find nothing else, and was resolved not to return empty-handed, brought in a long-tailed wood rat--the greatest thief on earth--which he found trying to steal an old boot heel, hoary with age and hard work. When he threw his treasure on the ground, a cry was raised immediately to hang him as a "heathen Chinee" sailing under false colors; but the sentence, after much argument, was changed into making him bring all the water needed for supper, and this he promised to do. That al fresco meal was a joyous one, for wit and humorous story enlivened it. When it was finished, and pipes or cigars were lighted, the "yarners" commenced their work and kept it going until near midnight, when the laughter-satiated expedition retired to rest. We were astir early the next morning, and after breakfast moved for the Cascade Range, about eighty miles distant, to visit Crater Lake. Our route led over some of the finest views to be found on the continent, for on one side were the cumulus-covered snow peaks, and on the others, heavily timbered mountains 4,000 feet high, while between, like a sea of verdure, rolled the undulating valley. We camped out the first night without any other covering than our blankets, and by noon of the next day reached the object of our journey, high up amidst the forests of the Cascade Range.
I had heard much of this lake, and expected much, as a matter of course, but I must say that it went far beyond my most sanguine expectations. When we first reached its summit the mountain was covered with an almost impenetrable mist that concealed all objects; but that soon cleared away, and we had a fine opportunity of gazing down into the cavernous depths of the rock-bound tarn. From measurements made by a party of engineers, the lake was found to be the most deeply buried body of water of its size known, the altitude of its walls being placed at 2,500 feet, and its superficial area at thirty-six square miles. It is said that a ball fired from a rifle cannot be seen to strike the water, a statement very natural to believe, inasmuch as it is nearly half a mile from the top to the surface of the lake. Several of our party tried it, but in no instance could the bullet be seen to strike, nor did I expect it at that distance. We reached the water by following a steep trail formed by the large wild animals which frequent it to allay their thirst, and considered ourselves quite fortunate in doing so without suffering any greater injury than a few gashes from jagged stones. Once below, and we had a splendid view of the watery waste that stretched out before us like a lake of ink, and the towering walls that enveloped it in so close an embrace that no vestige of a shore line was visible. The water had a dark-blue look, exactly like ink, and this blackish effect was increased by the sooty crags and the somber conifers that grew on their summits. The picture it presented had no expression of brightness or gentleness in its composition; all was savage wildness, rude grandeur and cold desolation, for look were one would and nothing greeted the vision but black waves, bare crags and gloomy trees. The silence was so oppressive as to seem droning, and the absence of all life gave it an air of weird solitude that appeared unnatural. It is a perfect tarn of death, for not a fish lives in its inky waters, nor a fly in the air, and no songbird ever enlivens its brooding stillness with a merry warble. After gazing upon it for awhile it seems exceedingly unearthly, and arouses a feeling of strangeness akin to awe, which is difficult to shake off.
Our party went on a tour of exploration over it, having found an old skiff, which had been built by earlier visitors, near the shore. Our first halt was at a rocky islet which rises up in its center to a height of 1,200 feet. This has a crater in the top which is 100 feet deep, and whose mouth is one mass of scoriaceous lava. A long line told us that the water at the base of the island was over 500 feet deep, so that the lake from the top of the walls to the bottom is over half a mile in depth. It is certainly a wonderful spot, and one well worth visiting, if only for its unique character.
John Mortimer Murphy, Rambles in North-Western America, London 1879, page 78
Sentinel: The so-called Dead Indian route from Ashland to Fort Klamath is between 30 to 35 miles shorter than that by way of Soda Springs and Linkville, and is a much better road. Last fall a number of the reservation Indians, who took this route to come into the valley to do their trading, cleared it of the fallen timbers, etc., that had obstructed it for the past few years. Since that time the road has been traveled extensively by people going from Jacksonville to the upper Klamath basin. The road leads through Lost Prairie, cutting that body of land right in two, leaving Lake of the Woods at the foot of snowy Mount Pitt to the left and striking Pelican Bay at the head of Lake Klamath. It is the nearest route to the fort and Crater Lake.
"Southern Oregon," Oregonian, Portland, August 10, 1881, page 1
Camp Trip to Crater Lake 73 Years Ago Is ReviewedReading an old diary, written 73 years ago, recalls a narrow escape Clarence Farnham and I had from being killed by a cougar at Crater Lake in 1883.
Old Diary Recalls Narrow Escape for 2 Young Campers
By FRANK S. BRANDON
211 North Ivy St.
We were residents of Ashland and each 17 years of age when we went on a camping trip to Fort Klamath and Crater Lake.
We left Ashland on July 6, 1883, traveling on horseback. We took a pack horse to carry our camp outfit and supplies.
Camp by Night
The two of us traveled the Dead Indian wagon road, camping night at Dead Indian Springs, Lake of the Woods and Pelican Bay. We then proceeded northward, circling around the northern end of the big Klamath Lake and into the Wood River Valley, known for its fine pasture lands.
We soon came to Fort Klamath, a beautiful sight. The white-painted buildings; Fort Creek, with its deep, slow-running, crystal-clear water; the grass growing so fine, and the one company of infantry dressed in navy blue, completed a spectacular scene.
We laid over one day at the fort, since there was so much to see and learn.
Reach Crater Lake
We reached Crater Lake camp ground on the evening of our eighth day from home. There was no road or trail then leading up the hill to the rim of Crater Lake. We made camp, staked our horses close by, set fire to a big old fir stump and cooked our supper.
Since it was becoming dark, we piled dry limbs on the fire for more light. We knew nothing concerning wild animals, such as bear or cougars, being near us.
As we sat down to eat our supper, our horses were suddenly frightened, and all jumped, broke loose and ran as fast as they could go.
I yelled, "Let's follow them!" We did. The pack horse got its rope caught in some logs, which held him. Since it was too dark to follow the two saddle horses, we decided to wait and hunt for them the next day. We searched until 3 p.m. and failed to find them, so we ate our lunch and went to see Crater Lake.
Fascinated by Lake
The wonderful sight so fascinated us, we viewed it for hours. Because so many millions of visitors have been at the lake since 1883 and have described it so thoroughly, I will say little concerning it.
The lake was discovered on June 12, 1853, by John Wesley Hillman. He named it "Deep Blue Lake." Later, it was discovered by two different parties. One party named it "Blue Lake" and the other named it "Lake Majestic." In 1869, the name was changed to "Crater Lake" by visitors from Jacksonville.
Those who have not seen Crater Lake are missing a thrilling experience. The bluest of blue water, 2,000 feet in depth, surrounded by perpendicular cliffs 500 to 2,000 feet in height, are to be found there. The lake is six miles wide and has a shoreline of 20 miles.
On our 10th day, we got up early. I made coffee and "campfire bread," baked in a fry pan. Clarence fried bacon and potatoes.
While eating our breakfast, I heard a noise. I looked up. There came our two saddle horses. They walked right up to the pack horse and stopped. Were we happy! Soon, we had the load on the pack horse, our horses saddled and we were off for the Rogue River Falls.
There was one man and a cabin at the falls. In the three days coming from Fort Klamath, we did not see one person. Crater Lake was but little known 73 years ago.
The lone man at the falls was a cougar hunter and lived on a homestead. He said he owned the falls and all the land. He told us he expected to sell out to some power company someday. California-Oregon Power Company owns the site today.
When we told him a bear jumped from a tree and frightened our horses, he laughed and said bears don't jump from trees. He said, "That was a cougar--sure and certain!" He knew the camp ground and had killed several cougars there.
Asked if we had a fire burning, we told him the big stump had burned for two nights.
"That was surely luck for you kids," he said. "Cougars are deathly afraid of fires. That is the only thing that saved you boys."
Our last camp-out night was spent on the banks of the Rogue River. We went home when our last piece of bacon was fried.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 25, 1956, page 12
CRATER LAKE.From those who are fond of curiosity, and admirers of the wonderful works of nature, or those who like rambling about in the wilds of the mountains, Crater Lake is attracting a great deal of attention. It is situated immediately in, not on, the summit of the Cascades about 100 miles northeast from Ashland, and 4 miles from where the Rogue River wagon road crosses the summit.
Our party, with our amiable agency physician Dr. Smith as escort and guide, with comfortable vehicles, camping outfit, rod and gun, and plenty of the article most necessary on such occasions, viz: provisions, emerged from the dense heat of the Klamath basin at 3 p.m. on the 13th inst. Good roads and brisk teams soon brought us into the upper part of the valley, which is a beautiful diversified landscape. On leaving the valley we followed up and immediately on the verge of Annie Creek canyon, which in some places is immensely deep and abrupt, perhaps 600 feet almost perpendicular, very picturesque and reminding one of the wonderful Colorado. The evening being the most pleasant for traveling, and having good moonlight, we pushed along until 10 o'clock, here finding a splendid camping ground with abundance of grass for horses, and a gushing spring of beautiful clear water, so extremely cold as to hold the mercury very near the freezing point. The next day after laboring up a very steep road until near noon, we suddenly found ourselves directly on the very bank of the wonderful Crater. Well, it's grand! An immense hole in the top of a mountain. The lake is oblong in shape, about 5 miles by 8 miles in extent, and enclosed by a precipitous bluff, the lowest accessible part of which is 800 feet above the water's surface; so abrupt is the bluff that in a very few places only is it passable for a human, by great effort and tight holding, to go down to the water's edge; getting up of course is one kind of fun. I will give some figures which may not be exact, but will be very near the actual measurements taken by the U.S. geological party, who only a few days ago left the lake. They found the greatest depth to be 1886 feet, the deepest body of water in the U.S., and the deepest for its size in the world. The altitude at the surface of the water is 6000 feet. In the southeastern part of the lake is Castle Rock, which in the distance resembles a ship with masts and spars. In the western part stands a butte, with an elevation of about 900 feet above the water. This hill is covered with pine forest, and has a crater in the top about 100 feet deep, which is partly filled with perpetual snow. Near this butte the surveying party sunk their boats, for future use, in 900 feet [sic] of water--the shallowest part. The appearances are that this was once a heaving volcano. The butte in the center must have been heaved from the interior, and when nearly out the top blew out, and hence the mountain remained standing, this probably being the last exhaust.
Underneath a thin surface of soil in the valley below is a layer of 8 or 10 feet of volcanic ashes, which evidently came from this hole in the ground.
While camped at the lake, we had our choice of melting snow, which lay about in great banks, or carrying spring water half a mile up a steep hill, for camp use.
Having had an artist in company we expect to be able to present some fine views.
During the second day of our sojourn, three of us climbed from the rear to the top of the most rugged and precipitous pinnacles of towering rock cliffs that ever stood still under our feet. Just think of it! Get down on all fours, and creep very cautiously to the very brink, where you can spit around 1000 feet right down into the topmost branches of lofty pines, and at the same time [you] can turn a stone with your feet that will roll and tumble with great velocity for half a mile. At every wave the very mountain seems to tremble as if it would topple over. I tell you it's grandly awful. No one can realize the very peculiar sensation until they have actually experienced it. In trying to sleep during the following night we would imagine ourselves losing our hold, or tumbling headlong into the abyss below.
The water of the lake is very clear, with a medium temperature, and, although in a very cold region, on account of its very great depth, has never in the knowledge of man been frozen over. One of our party visited it during the coldest part of last winter and found a very little ice around the border.
A 20-mile square including this lake is now held by the government as neutral grounds, awaiting decision as to whether it shall become a national park or not. I don't like to dictate to Uncle Sam, but will comment a little:
In the immediate vicinity of the lake we find no special inducements, except sightseeing, and this is limited. No fish in the lake, a few mule deer and an occasional grizzly, otherwise no game, no mountain fruits nor flowers and no mineral springs.
I'll stick to old Linn again. I think the Santiam, sulphur and soda springs, including Fish Lake with abundance and variety of game, fish, fruits and flowers much the preferable resort.
O.C.M. [Oliver C. McFarland]Albany Democrat, Albany, Oregon, September 3, 1886, page 1
Diary of Fletcher Linn
Crater Lake Trip, August 1889Wednesday, Aug. 7
Party composed of Miss Carrie C. Beekman of Jacksonville, Miss Nina Beekman of Dundee, N.Y., Miss Anna Breyman of Salem, Or., Prof. G. H. Watt, principal of Jacksonville public school, Everett Mingus of Medford, K. K. Kubli and Fletcher Linn of Jacksonville, started on [a] pleasure trip to Crater Lake.
Vehicles were: large wagon for provisions, drawn by steady farm horses, and carriage drawn by spirited livery team.
Provisions:30 loaves bread, 2 sacks flour, 5 pks. coffee, 1 package tea, 35 lbs. sugar, 10 lbs. rice, 70 lbs. potatoes, 4 cans baking powder, 2 cans syrup, 10 lbs. salt, 10 lbs. dried apples, 5 lbs. dried plums, 3 hams (two ready boiled), 11 lbs. bacon, 1 can lard, 1 fine marble cake, crackers, cookies, two watermelons, box peaches, sack apples, 2 bottles pickles, cheese, 2 bottles mustard, box pepper, 6 lbs. butter, tartaric acid, lemon, 80 patty-cakes.
Complete cooking outfit, ax, hatchet, saw, nails, rope, wire, brace & bits, file, etc., portable temporary table, camp stools, tent and poles, bedding, etc. etc.
Hunting implements:2 Winchester rifles and 161 cartridges, shotgun and 100 shells, target gun with 800 cartridges, revolver with 150 cartridges.
Games:Deck of authors, chess and checkers with board, and deck of cards.
Music instruments:Cornet, guitar, three harmonicas.
----Left Jacksonville at six o'clock A.M. Ate lunch consisting of ham sandwiches and marble cake at eleven o'clock on the bank of Bear Creek. Arrived at Johnny Murphy's place on Emigrant Creek six miles above Ashland, or 23 miles from Jacksonville, at 4 o'clock P.M., and pitched camp. Had fine supper at six, after which we spent the evening in singing, playing games, etc., while Messrs. Watt & Kubli also interested the crowd in a few gymnastic exercises.
Retired at 9:30.
All were exceedingly jubilant and anticipated a grand trip and jolly time.
Perfect harmony was foreseen, and all members of the party seemed nothing but congenial.
Passed through Phoenix, Talent and Ashland; at Ashland we remained half an hour to view the principal parts of the city, and all the many improvements recently made. The city seemed quite lively and prosperous. The population is about 2000. (So claimed.)
First day's ride was very pleasant and enjoyable.
Thursday, Aug. 8
Arose at 5 o'clock A.M. Had fine warm breakfast, and continued our journey at 7:16. After being on road about two hours, Kubli in roaming about came in contact with a huge fierce badger, which he killed after a desperate (?) struggle. Arrived in Dead Indian at 3:40 and camped at the foot of Dead Indian hill.
Traveled about eleven miles.
Roads were not rough, but all uphill.
Ladies walked 2½ miles across the summit of the Cascades. Elevation 8000 (?).
Obtained 6 lbs. butter on the road, and 2 qts. milk at camp of Inlow's.
Evening spent in playing whist, checkers, and in singing and playing on cornet, guitar and harmonicas.
Retired at 11:30, considerably fatigued.
Game killed:Badger and a quail. Water--grand, ice cold.
Friday, Aug. 9
Arose at 4:30 A.M. Prof. Watt and Everett took an early hunt, but killed nothing but a rabbit apiece. Had a fine breakfast and plenty of fine new milk. Renewed journey at 9 o'clock A.M. Arrived at Neil's ranch at 9:40. There obtained gallon of buttermilk, which Prof. Watt and ladies greatly relished.
At Neil's we took the wrong road and went five miles out of the way. In attempting to take a shortcut when returning we again took a wrong road and went two miles further out of the way. Got on right road at three o'clock, about 3 or 4 miles beyond Neil's.
Camped on small mountain stream, at six o'clock, about eleven miles from our camp at Inlow's. The road was terribly rough, and riding extremely tiresome.
After enjoying a good warm supper and arranging camp, we spent the evening in playing cards, chatting, joking, etc., and retired at 11:30 P.M. Though all were somewhat disheartened and disappointed at our misfortune, all were jubilant after we found a good camp on the right road, and our pleasure was greatly intensified rather than marred by our mistake.
"He shall rejoice most, who endureth misfortunes most nobly."
Saturday, Aug. 10
Arose at 5:30 A.M. Had good hot breakfast, and were again moving along on our way at 8:16 o'clock.
Roads terrible--the worst yet passed over. Reached Lake of the Woods at 2:30 P.M.
Water very scarce along the road, and not very good at the camping ground near the lake. Forest fires raging and smoke very dense.
We rode twice along the beach or shore, then pitched camp near the lake at 5 o'clock. Had grand hot supper. Gathered huckleberries along the road, and they formed a part of our bill of fare for supper.
Spent the evening in playing whist, checkers, in singing, playing guitar, harmonica, cornet, and in a good social time.
Retired at 11:30.
A party of three from near Ashland were camped beside us, with whom we had a pleasant visit and social time.
Found plenty of fine feed for horses, and a good huckleberry patch near camp.
Intending to stay at Lake of the Woods several days, we arranged camp very orderly and as conveniently as possible, and prepared to take a good rest and have a jolly time on the lake shore.
Sunday, Aug. 11
Arose rather late, and had breakfast at 9.
After breakfast, a general cleanup of persons was indulged in--the men retiring to the lake to take a bath, while the ladies held possession of camp.
Everett further proved his skill in all things by the efficient manner in which he manipulated the razor, while "Cap" [Kaspar Kubli], not wishing to be outdone, skillfully managed the curling iron for the ladies.
A prohibitory law was established and enforced by Miss Carrie Beekman, who had previously been formally designated president of the party, forbidding hunting, shooting, traveling or anything not agreeable to the proper observance of the Sabbath, or which would seem in the least disrespectful to Him who affords us our pleasure.
Soon the ladies presented themselves arrayed in attire fit for any occasion, even the most exalted, while the men came forth in the best they carried with them. All having congregated, the third and fourteenth chapters of John, the fifth chapter of James, and the last chapter of Revelation were read by Miss President, and "Sweet By and By," "Home, Sweet Home," "Nearer My God to Thee," "Just As I Am," and other hymns were sung by the party to the accompaniment of the cornet.
A fine dinner was then prepared, with huckleberry pie for dessert.
This afternoon was spent quite pleasantly in singing, playing musical instruments, talking, joking, etc.
At six o'clock we took the musical instruments and all went for a stroll along the beach. Visited a camp of "old pioneers," about a mile from our camp, and stayed until eight--about two hours. Played and sang for them, and spent the evening quite pleasantly with them.
Returned to camp and had lunch consisting of bread and butter, cheese, stewed huckleberries and cake, and amused ourselves around our own huge camp fire.
Then having spent the Sabbath in the mountains in a civilized and quite praiseworthy manner, we retired at about 10:30.
Everett, suspecting something wrong in the actions of Carrie, Nina, and Kubli, retired dressed, and with shoes on, ready for any emergency during the night.
Monday, Aug. 12
Prof. Watt and Everett took a hunt for deer starting at about four o'clock; returned at about ten with no game.
Rest of party arose late and had breakfast at nine.
Party from near Ashland who had been with us since our arrival at the lake left us about 6:30.
Storms (?), hurricanes (?) etc. raged at about one o'clock in the morning and all but Carrie, Nina and Kubli, suffered severely from them.
This being the nineteenth anniversary of Miss Nina's birth, it was agreeable to all to celebrate in birthday style. A fine dinner was prepared and a good "old-fashioned" candy-pulling was indulged in, in the evening, and the event observed in a most commendable manner. A most enjoyable time was had. Singing and playing, and games of various kinds were enjoyed, and no pains were spared to make Nina's "birthday in the mountains" one which she will always remember with extreme pleasure.
Some retaliatory measures were adopted by those who were the victims of the storms and hurricanes (?) before mentioned, which, although discovered before being carried out, were successful in producing the desired effect. Several good jokes were carried out quite effectively, and all taken good-naturedly.
Three fine snipe were killed, and a fine lot of huckleberries were gathered during the day.
Retired about eleven at which time the song "I'll forgive, but never forget" was appropriately sung and well rendered by the ladies.
Having quite a pleasant and agreeable camp, we rather regretted that on the morrow we were again to renew our journey, and leave the lake. Lake of the Woods is nearly directly east [sic] of Jacksonville, and about five miles from Mt. Pitt. It is about three miles long and one mile wide, and is now surrounded by a sandy beach of considerable width. At present the lake is lower than ever before known.
No stream of much size runs into it or from it, but its water is furnished by the rains and snows, and by numerous springs in and about the lake. It is considered one of the prettiest lakes in Oregon.
Mt. Pitt could not be seen on account of the dense smoke. It is about ten thousand feet high, and is usually either wholly or partly covered with snow. This year the snow entirely disappeared--so we were informed by Mr. Fitzgerald, who had recently been to the summit.
Mr. Pitt and the scenery surrounding Lake of the Woods are grand and picturesque when the atmosphere is clear but of the pleasure of this scenery we were deprived on account of the dense smoke.
Tuesday, Aug. 13
We arose about six and began to load our wagons and prepare to leave. Had fine breakfast, and were once more moving on our way at 9 o'clock. Passed slowly along the lake shore, and took our last glance at the lake and our camp ground as we withdrew into the woods and wilderness.
Everett and Prof. Watt, inspired by the grandeur of the lake, wandered too near the water with the provision wagon, and soon found themselves "stuck in the mud." Soon the wagon was free and all O.K., and they were moving joyfully along again.
The road was very rough, yet much better than some we had previously passed over.
Having been advised to visit Stidham's, about six miles off of the main road, to find good boating and fishing, we directed our course thitherward, and arrived there about three o'clock. Not finding a good camping place there, we turned and went to Pelican Bay on the main road, and about fourteen miles from Lake of the Woods. Had fine boating at Pelican Bay, but caught no fish and killed no game, although did much hunting.
Prof. Watt, Carrie and Miss Breyman went from the bay into the lake in [the] boat, and Everett, "Cap" and Nina were boating several times. I did not get to go at any time.
Our camp here was rather dusty and disagreeable, yet had a fine time. Were also favored with plenty of fine water and good horse feed.
Retired at about eleven, after spending the evening in singing and playing and having a good social time.
Obtained six pounds of fine butter on the road from Stidham's to the bay. [erased passage apparently relating to Cap's seasickness on the lake]
Pelican Bay is a very pretty body of water, furnished by large springs at the foothills. It is an arm of Klamath Lake, which is about forty miles long and twelve wide.
The woods surrounding the bay abound in game, and furnish fine timber for lumber. A large logging camp was once located here, and the logs floated to Linkville, about thirty miles from the bay. Forest fires were raging and whole country burned out.
Wednesday, Aug. 14
Everett and I arose early and took a long hunt, but saw nothing. Spent the day in boating and otherwise having a good time.
Party of four from Jacksonville overtook us here, and camped near us.
Kubli was sick all morning, but was ready to have a boat ride by moonlight in the evening.
The evening was spent very pleasantly in singing and playing, and otherwise amusing ourselves.
Prof. Watt further added to the amusements of the evening by some contortions and gymnastic exercises, while the ladies plainly evinced their knowledge and appreciation of operatic and dramatic skill, by rendering several fine selections of that character.
We retired at about eleven.
Thursday, Aug. 15
Arose at six and proceeded on our journey at nine.
The road was extremely rough, and all four horses had to be hitched to the provision wagon to draw it to the summit of a divide about a mile from the bay.
The scenery to the right as we passed along the road is quite picturesque.
Hack arrived at Cherry Creek at 1:30, and the provision wagon an hour later. "Cap" went fishing while the rest of us prepared camp, and returned in the evening with ten fine speckled trout, which we had for supper.
Passed many campers and camps along the road.
Here found the finest camp we have yet had, so arranged everything very orderly and conveniently, as we intend to remain over Sunday.
All were tired in the evening, so retired rather early.
Friday, Aug. 16
Everett and I arose and started on a hunt at five. Saw one deer, but did not get a shot at it. Not finding anything to hunt, we fished a while, and Everett caught 24 and I, 6. I killed a fine grouse while returning to camp, and Everett later killed one in camp.
In the afternoon, Prof. Watts and I went to a large spring about two miles from camp to fish, but gathered shells upon the Klamath marsh instead. Found six or eight varieties of fine freshwater shells, and spent an hour or so in an interesting and instructive manner.
In the evening when we went to tie up our horses for the night as usual, we found that they had started homeward. We searched for them until it was too dark to see plainly, and were compelled to abandon further attempts to find them until morning.
Though the thoughts that our horses had left us rather shrouded our camp in gloom, we spent the evening cheerfully and pleasantly, allowing nothing to mar our pleasures.
Having consulted "Sir Oracle" to ascertain our allotted fate, and finding everything pronounced in our favor, and the "Fates propitious," we retired, greatly eased in mind, cheered in spirit, and thankful indeed to our Protector.
Pro. Watt made a rash assertion which cost him a dollars worth of peanuts for the crowd.
Saturday, Aug. 17
Prof. Watt and I arose at five and started in search of the horses. We tracked them along the road towards home, and found them about four miles from camp. Returned to camp at seven, and found rest, all in bed.
Had breakfast at nine, after which Everett, "Cap" and I went fishing, and Prof. Watt hunting, leaving camp in charge of the ladies (at their request).
Prof. Watt returned at one, with one grouse.
Everett, Kubli and I returned at about five with 156 fine trout. Everett caught 47, Kubli 58, and I 56.
Had a fine supper with plenty of fish, and spent the evening sociably.
Ate cookies and cakes and drank lemonade, after which we retired at about eleven.
Clouded up late in the evening, and threatened to rain, but no rain fell.
Horses were restless all night.
Sunday, Aug. 18
Everett and I arose at seven to care for the horses. Rest arose at nine, had breakfast at 10:30.
The prohibitory law was again enforced, but not so stringent as last Sunday, permitting some necessary work to be performed.
Was rather windy and chilly all day. Smoke entirely disappeared and thus afforded us the pleasure of the surrounding scenery.
Horses got loose, and we had quite a chase before catching them.
After the morning's work was completed, all congregated, and the fifth chapter of Matthew, the fifteenth chapter of John, and the first thirteen verses of the twelfth chapter of Hebrews were read and "Nearer My God to Thee," "Why Not" and "Just As I Am" were sung.
A fine dinner was then prepared, with the most extensive bill of fare we had yet had. The afternoon and evening were spent in singing and playing and having a good social time, while we all took a good rest preparatory to the renewal of our journey on the morrow.
Made a fine large camp fire in evening, around which we enjoyed ourselves immensely. Lemonade and cakes were served, after which we retired at about eleven.
Cherry Creek is a fine mountain stream, about twelve miles from the Fort Klamath. It abounds in fine speckled trout, which afford fine fishing. Best fishing is about four miles above where the stream is crossed by the main wagon road.
The mountains along the creek abound in deer and grouse, and furnish fine hunting.
This is the best camping ground along the road.
The creek flows into Klamath Lake.
It is very clear and quite cold.
Prairie along the lower part of the creek furnishes very good grazing for horses.
Scenery along the creek and surrounding it quite pleasing, but hardly to be pronounced picturesque.
From Pelican Bay to Cherry Creek is twelve miles.
Monday, Aug. 19
Arose at six, and renewed journey at nine. Roads for about three or four miles were quite rough, and woods adjoining were all afire. Rest of road was fine and smooth. Scenery, the grandest we had yet viewed. Mountains surrounding Wood River Valley and Klamath Marsh are indeed picturesque.
Atmosphere very clear and permitted grand view. Passed several fine large springs, and crossed a number of grand, clear streams, the finest of which are Seven Mile Creek, five miles from Fort Klamath and Wood River a mile from [the] Fort.
Today's ride was the most interesting we have enjoyed.
Arrived at Wood River at 1:30, where we ate lunch and fed horses. Then went to Fort, and remained there until three, when we continued our journey. At Fort mailed several letters, sent telegram announcing our arrival there, and "laid in" a few necessary supplies.
Arrived at Annie Creek at 5:30, where we found a fine camping place. Purchased hay for the horses along the road. "Cap" and Prof. Watt went fishing while [the] rest prepared supper and caught six fine trout, of which "Cap" caught five.
Had fine time in evening retired at all hours from eleven to one.
Camp six miles from Fort.
Fort Klamath was built by Father during the Indian trouble in 1864. It is about a hundred miles from Jacksonville.
It was abandoned on last Thursday, Aug. 15, so we were deprived of the pleasure of seeing the soldiers in their drills. For this reason we did not remain there.
Only thirteen officers and soldiers are now stationed at the Fort, and it seemed entirely deserted. Guns, etc. were also removed.
We rode by the grave yard, and all the buildings of the fort, along the enclosure in which the soldiers were accustomed to drill, and passed near the framework of the scaffold on which Captain Jack and other Indians were hung.
Though the Fort was abandoned, the "stars and stripes" were still floating over the deserted spot, and seemed to offer all the protection necessary.
The Indians, though yet quite numerous, are not at all treacherous.
Tuesday, Aug. 20
Arose at seven, and continued journey at nine.
I was suddenly taken sick at breakfast, and felt the effect of it throughout the day.
We passed along Annie Creek Canyon, which affords some of the grandest and most picturesque scenery in Southern Oregon. Along the canyon are many perpendicular cliffs two or three hundred feet in height, which are grand.
The canyon has been washed out by a comparatively small stream, and in some places reaches the depth of nearly seven hundred feet. The walls of the canyon are composed of an alkaline material principally, and all along the canyon pumice stone is found in great abundance, in some places standing upon the inclined walls like pyramids or needles.
The stream which has washed out this grand canyon issues from the side of a mountain and is supposed to be a subterranean outlet of Crater Lake.
This was the most interesting day we had yet spent, and prepared us for the grand Crater Lake scenery which we were soon to witness.
We ate lunch at Bridge Creek, and fed the horses. Proceeded on our way at about two o'clock.
Met many Indians during the day, returning from huckleberry patch at Whiskey Creek, seven miles from Crater Lake. Arrived at fine camp 1½ miles from Crater Lake at six o'clock, where we arranged things for a few days' stay.
After supper Carrie was suddenly taken sick with a severe nervous chill, and was quite ill during the evening. However we spent the evening quite pleasantly in singing and otherwise having a good social time.
Being considerably exhausted from our day's ride, we retired earlier than usual, intending to visit the lake on the morrow.
We passed quite a party from Phoenix camped 2½ miles below the lake, and another party from Grants Pass 2 miles below lake. Later found party from Talent at lake.
At Annie Creek Canyon played the cornet, and listened with intense interest to the sound echoing and reverberating between the precipitous walls.
Wednesday, Aug. 21
Arose with intention of visiting the lake, but after breakfast, Carrie was again taken with a violent nervous chill, which was followed by three others, and in the afternoon had two more. So we abandoned visiting the lake and remained in camp during the day.
Found a fine huckleberry patch near camp, and gathered a lot during the day.
In the evening Carrie was again feeling fine, as she said, and we spent the evening quite pleasantly and cheerfully, and retired with a feeling that all would be ready to take the climb to the lake next morning.
Thursday, Aug. 22
Arose at 4:30, had an early breakfast, and all went to the lake--the ladies riding in the light wagon, with Everett driving the team. Rest walked.
Reached the lake just after sunrise, but the view of the lake was greatly obstructed by the smoke. However the scene was grand. "Cap" and I went down to the water, to see if the trail was in proper condition for the ladies to undertake the descent, and found it safe, yet venturesome. We returned and met rest of party "half way," and assisted the ladies the rest of the way.
Soon after we reached the lake shore, 1600 feet below the point from which we gazed in wonder, we were joined by the party from Talent. After remaining at the water's edge for about two hours, and carving our names and initials in all the most conspicuous places, we commenced the ascent of the precipitous wall, and reached the summit 1½ hours later.
Carrie, weakened by her previous sickness, found the climb exceedingly wearisome, and although threatened twice with nervous chills, held up bravely. She enjoyed the descent to the water's edge immensely.
After returning to camp and having a good hot supper, we talked over our day's adventure and retired to rest--grateful indeed to our Protector for thus having so safely led us in perilous adventure.
Friday, Aug. 23
Arose late, and found it cloudy, with heavy mist falling and smoke almost disappeared. After breakfast all but Carrie and Nina went to huckleberry patch about half a mile from camp, and gathered about six gallons of fine berries.
As the smoke had cleared away, all but Carrie and I went to the lake at various times during the day, and had a grand view of the lake. Various other parties visited the lake during the day.
Everett and "Cap" took a hunt, but killed nothing. Carrie deemed it policy for her to take a good rest all day, preparatory to the renewal of our journey on the morrow, so remained in the tent all day.
After spending the evening pleasantly in playing, singing and having a good social time, we retired about ten o'clock.
Saturday, Aug. 24
Arose at about five and began to prepare to proceed on our way and direct our course homeward.
After breakfast, Carrie and I took [the] light wagon and went to have a last look at the lake.
Provision wagon proceeded on the way at 8:5 [sic], and light wagon followed an hour later.
We passed along Castle Canyon, but did not get out of wagons to look at it. Had very good view from wagons. Passed through some very dense and fine timber and arrived at Rogue River Falls at five P.M. Ate lunch and fed horses at Union Creek at 1:30. Met 92 Indians returning from huckleberry patch at Whiskey Creek.
Having had a long dusty ride during the day, we retired shortly after having supper, and singing a few of our favorite songs.
Road from lake to falls--grand.
Crater Lake is situated to the east [sic] of Jacksonville about eighty-five miles by the Rogue River road, or about one hundred and fifteen miles by way of Dead Indian and Fort Klamath. It is situated directly in the summit of the Cascade Range, at an elevation of 6000 ft. It is surrounded by perpendicular cliffs, varying from 1600 to 3000 feet in height, and its greatest ascertained depth is about 1988 feet, making the depth from the top of the highest bluff to the lowest part of the lake bottom nearly five thousand feet.
Near the western shore of the lake is an island, having the form of a frustrum of a cone. The island is about eight hundred feet high, and the sides are upon an incline of nearly 45º. It is composed of a very loose, ashy material which renders the ascent quite difficult. In the summit of the island is the crater of an extinct volcano. It is several hundred feet in diameter, and a hundred feet deep. The island is covered with large fir trees, which show that the volcano has not been active for a great many years.
The way in which the lake was formed is a mystery. Many think that the entire lake once formed an immense crater five miles wide and seven long, and that the other small craters were formed by more recent eruptions, while others believe that while the volcano was in active operation, such a vast amount of earth was thrown out that a mere crust or shell remained, and this from the constant jarring and shaking gradually became loose and settled in one massive volume into the abyss beneath.
When the lake was discovered is not known, but a boat was first lowered to the water and the island first visited in 1869, by a party from Jacksonville, of which party Father was a member. [The lake was discovered in 1853.]
The lake was thoroughly explored by the U.S.G.S. in 1886.
For many years the Indians could not be induced to visit the lake, as they believed it to be the abode of a great Indian chief or god, whom they greatly feared. But they have since dismissed this superstition, and many have gazed upon it in astonishment. As we gazed upon the lake from a bluff of rocks, 1600 feet above the water, a grand picture was presented to us. Naturally we first looked over the precipice and down upon the water. Near the water's edge, it assumed a greenish tint, which gradually grew denser and denser and finally changed into a blue, and this in turn changed into almost a blackness.
To the right of us arose the highest point of the lofty banks, 8000 feet high, while below could be seen the narrow trail winding down the gorge, over which we passed in our descent. To the left [of] us stood the solitary island, sublime in appearance with its huge crater and scorched sides.
The immense walls were reflected by the clear water as if it were a vast mirror and thus made the depth of the lake appear much greater.
The sun had just arisen and cast a fiery path across the lake, grand to look upon.
In the distance, to the left of us, stood two peaks, one of which is Diamond Peak. The view of these was grand.
Taking all in all, it was indeed a grand sight, and one which can never be forgotten.
Sunday, Aug. 25
Party from Jacksonville passed us at about six o'clock. We arose about an hour later, and after having breakfast, all went to the falls to spend the day.
Had a fine time at the falls, and highly appreciated the grand scenery.
The falls are formed by a small stream known as Mill Creek, falling over a precipice 196 feet high. They are very pretty, though quite small, and form an object of interest and attraction to sight-seekers.
Rogue River rapids, formed by the river rushing madly down a steep incline between lofty banks and over huge boulders, is equally as grand and picturesque.
After a stay at the falls we returned to camp, where we built two fine camp fires and after supper spent the evening in our usual social manner. The 5th, 12th, 13th, 14th & 15th chapters of Romans, 3rd chapter of II Peter, and the 10th, 11th, & 12th verses of the 3rd chapter of I Peter were read during the evening.
Monday, Aug. 26
Arose early, and renewed journey at 7:30.
Passed over pretty rough road. Killed some quail and grey squirrels on the way. One horse nearly gave out, and made us very late in reaching Jackson's, our camping place. Camped in the midst of sixty acres of melons, and were told to "help ourselves." After doing so, and feasting highly, all but the girls retired. It being our last night out, they were bent upon having a good time, and were up until nearly one o'clock. They sang, chatted, feasted upon melons and had a merry time.
Tuesday, Aug. 27
I arose at six and started breakfast and the rest arose later.
After breakfast we rode around through the melon patch, loaded our wagons with fifteen of the largest melons we could find, and directed our course homeward.
Ate dinner on Rogue River, near the bridge, at one o'clock.
Reached home at five.
After unloading our wagons, we bade our "goodbyes" and departed to our respective homes, well pleased with our trip and with the acquaintances we had formed, yet saddened by the thought that we were nearly all soon to depart for other climes, and perhaps would never again all be together.
The thoughts of our reunion to be held on Thursday night somewhat cheers us, and another one of our "good old times" is generally anticipated.
Thursday, Aug. 29
All assembled at Carrie's fine home and spent the evening very pleasantly in reviewing our grand trip, and enjoying our mountain jokes.
A grand banquet was prepared for us, and immensely enjoyed.
Appropriate and impressive toasts were given, and an evening spent, long to be remembered.
Southern Oregon Historical Society Research Library MS888. Parenthetical question marks are in the original.
OFF BEATEN PATHS."Simon Peter said unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee."
So spake the apostles of old; so also said we, Peter, and Thomas, and James, three modern apostles, mastered by the desire to find "fresh woods and pastures new" in which to spend our summer vacation. A trip to the Old World, with "Cook's tourists " everywhere, was not to be thought of for a moment; in the East nearly every nook and corner of mountain and valley was known to us; and for years past we had wandered at intervals through various parts of California. So this one summer found us fishing for something new. Appeared on the scene one day John, a brother apostle, for years past a denizen of Southern Oregon's wilds, and until now by us long time unseen.
"Is there," said we to him, "no strange place of which you know, that would be to us 'something new under the sun'?"
"Yes," said he, without a moment's hesitation; "there is Crater Lake, something probably without a parallel in the scenery of the world. Called at different times by such various names as 'Blue Lake,' 'Mystic Lake,' 'Lake Majesty,' and 'Deep Lake,' its last and most appropriate name of 'Crater Lake' is probably the one it will now bear forever. The deepest clear-water lake on the American continent, reliable soundings by a party of surveyors having been taken to a depth of 2012 feet, it is only to be seen after climbing nearly seven thousand feet above sea level. Comparatively easy of access, and in the midst of scenery really sublime, you will have freedom from the perennial tourist who haunts more beaten paths, besides fishing and hunting for every day you are gone."
With the prospect of such things before us, who would not have done as we did? With John's consent, he was at once installed as guide and director of our party. Within a week we were in Medford, Oregon, a small railroad station in Rogue River Valley. Wagon, driver, food, blankets and all that goes to form an outfit for mountain travel and camping being procured at that place, the railroad was left behind and our pilgrimage begun. Good weather for weeks to come was assured us, storms never--at least, hardly ever--beginning until late in the autumn, and it was now midsummer.
After riding a dozen miles down the valley, Rogue River--corrupted from Roque, the Frenchman in whose honor the stream was named [not true--"Rogue" comes from the English, as applied to the local Indians]--was reached and crossed at the foot of "Table Rock." Here [again, not true], in the days of Oregon's early settlement, were fought many bloody battles between the Indians and whites, and numerous are the tales told of battles fought, dangers incurred and perils braved by the hardy settlers of early days. What a contrast then to the peaceful scene we looked upon!
Our road now followed for miles along the margin, and no river scenery could be more enchantingly beautiful, with its verdure-clad, willow-lined banks, and the smooth, beautiful water, with trout leaping from still pools, or making their way with mighty splashings through its shoals. As we ascended the valley the river grew gradually narrower; farms and dwellings were fewer and farther between; the forests grew more and more dense, while large boulders betokening volcanic origin were occasionally seen, with now and then a waste of pulverized pumice stone over which to travel.
At the place known as "Hole in the Ground" [i.e., Natural Bridge], a small stream pours into an opening only totally to disappear, the sound of its waters growing gradually more and more indistinct as it passes out of sight. It is not a chasm, as might be supposed, but literally a "hole in the ground," whose depths no one has yet been able to sound. Flounce Rock lifted a flattened peak above us, its sides befrilled with stony ruffles representing a bygone style in more enduring material than the pages of a fashion journal.
One encounters queer types of the human family traveling through the woods. It would seem that the ability to conceal one's true character bears a direct ratio to the amount of knowledge. Among these illiterate and poor people generosity or greed, honesty or dishonesty, with many other characteristics, are all freely exhibited. The women of most families, strong and hearty, but rough and uncouth, as a rule do as much outdoor work as any man; plowing, harrowing, sowing, reaping, and mauling rails, with the best of them. The following, which John's wife related as one of her experiences among them on her first trip to the lake, seems worth repeating:
"We too were going to Crater Lake, traveling the same road over which you will pass. We did our own cooking over a camp fire, but intended to stop for the night at houses we knew of along the road as having accommodations for travelers. One day, being delayed by a balky horse, and unable to make our full day's drive, we were forced to find what stopping place we could. The houses, as you will find, are few and far between, so when we came to a settlement about nine o'clock at night, we knew that here must be our stopping place, whether or no.
"Going to bed as they do at the same time with the chickens, everyone on the place was fast asleep. My husband got out of the wagon, went to the door, and returned after some time, accompanied by the man of the house, who looked our outfit over by the light of his uplifted lantern, then said:--
"'I guess you kin fetch up here.' To me--'You come in the haouse an' crawl right in whar I've ben, 'longside my old 'oman, an' us men folks 'll sleep aout in the barn.'
"I didn't relish the prospect in the least, but followed him, a most unwilling victim, to the 'haouse,' which seemed to consist of but two rooms. The one into which he ushered and left me, with the assurance that 'the old 'oman 'ud be thar purty quick,' was not larger than ten feet by twelve, yet contained a dog, two cats, and a bed where four children lay asleep, two at each end. Their clothes were in little heaps about the floor, evidently left just as each little one had stepped out. With window and doors closed, the air inside is perhaps better imagined than described! A little while after I had seated myself, a rustling sound caused me to turn my head, and I saw the 'old 'oman' entering from the other room. A calico dress, evidently donned in a hurry, for the waist was not buttoned more than half way up, seemed to be almost the only garment she had on: being very short, it left exposed a rather shapely pair of ankles, and two bare feet, hard and brown. A crop of short curly hair stood out on all sides of her head, looking as if brush or comb were unknown articles. She came into the room on tiptoe, sat down on one side of the children's bed (I had the only chair in the room), began swinging her crossed feet, twirling her thumbs, and looking at me without a word. I had said 'good evening' as she entered, but received no reply. Pretty soon I ventured to say we were very sorry to intrude on them, and was proceeding to explain how we had been delayed, when she interrupted me, saying:--
"'Geth I hain't drethed up much fer comp'ny.'
"I suggested that full dress could hardly be expected on such short notice as she had received. I never did like to do all the talking, so silence ensued for a few moments, when she said:--
"'Mith Powers's baby jetht had the measles, an' naow Jane's got 'em.'
"I expressed my sorrow--and imagine my feelings, for my little girl had never yet been exposed to them.
"'I s'pose you heern what happened daown to Allen's t'other day?'
"No, I had not.
"'Wall, it war twins.'
"I gasped for breath, and turned the conversation into other channels. Her tongue once unloosened, there was silence no more. Further conversation revealed the fact that she had six children, 'half boys and half girls.' Considering what her life must have been, she was a very youthful-looking woman, so for lack of anything else to say I remarked that she looked very young to be the mother of so large a family. The effect was as unexpected as instantaneous. She quit swinging her feet, folded her hands, sat up very straight, and said: 'O, you jetht ought ter thee me with my falth teeth in!'
"I had noticed that she lisped badly, but had not missed the teeth.
"Imagine my feelings when a little later I found that my little girl and I were expected, quite as a matter of course, to share the bed with herself, a child three years old, and a baby of three months. They meant kindly, but I arose with the courage of desperation, ostensibly for the purpose of calling my husband to get me something from the wagon, but in reality to tell him how strong was my determination to share the barn with him, and not 'crawl in with the old 'oman.' We excused ourselves to them on the score of not wishing to discommode them to such an extent, wanting to start very early in the morning, etc., etc. So we spread out some shawls and rugs on the hay, and spent the night in the barn loft, while in the yard below some pigs kept up an incessant grunting and squealing.
"In the morning, O so early, the commotion among the pigs increased, the roosters crowed, dogs barked, and what with horses, mules, sheep and geese all adding their own particular cry for breakfast, it seemed as if we couldn't get away fast enough. Bad as it was, however, think what it would have been in the 'haouse.'"
Passing the scene of this incident on our way, we smiled, but did not stop to interview the family.
After we had traveled about fifty miles, Prospect--formerly called Deskins--was reached, where a post office, sawmill, and three or four cabins constitute the settlement. Our road for a few miles back had passed through the depths of a vast forest of firs and sugar pine trees, of so dense a growth that, though the mill has been in existence almost thirty years, no visible inroads have been made. But for stumps standing here and there, one would imagine the forest untouched. So gigantic is the growth that trees two or three hundred feet in height, with a diameter of from six to ten feet, are no uncommon sight. The lumber is unsurpassed in quality, but the great difficulty in transportation over the rough mountain roads forbids the immense profits that might otherwise be derived from it. A flume company now organizing will do much to change all this.
Red Blanket Prairie lying near (so called because a red blanket was the price for which it was purchased from the Indians) must become a valuable piece of property, comprising as it does several hundred acres of extremely rich, level soil, naturally fenced by steep and rugged mountains rising on all sides and plentifully watered by numerous streams of clear, cold water. Immense crops of wild hay and grasses are annually cut. When fully cleared and cultivated, it will be a most valuable stock ranch.
Near this point the rapids are found, where Rogue River tears madly through a deep gorge that it has cut through the lava, falling a distance of over three hundred feet in one and a half miles. It is a grand sight to see it plunging from rock to rock, whirling, eddying, boiling or resting in some protected basin until renewed force is gathered again to go rushing on its way.
A short distance below the rapids is Rogue River Falls, one of the finest among several to be found in these wild regions. The stream that turns the mill wheel forms this fall, leaping from a perpendicular cliff one hundred and ninety feet high without a break into the river below. The vegetation being so dense on the brink from which it plunges, the source is invisible, so that it seems to spring directly out of the face of the cliff. Completely undisturbed until within the past few years, nature has worked unmolested, until now, trees, rocks, the ground--everything is covered with a mantle of most beautiful moss. Soft and green, varying in depth from four to twelve inches, of many kinds and varied tints, when lit up by the sun shining through the trees it is of indescribable beauty. The finishing touch is added by a fine rainbow formed on clear days in the cloud of spray at the foot of the falls.
Once more taking up the line of march, we found that our road still ran for miles through "forests primeval," so dense and with trees of such immense size it would almost seem that here was lumber enough for ages to come, were there no other source of supply on the Coast.
Our way now ran along the edge of Pyramid Canyon [Godfrey Glen], which time and water have washed out to a great depth. It must have been many years ago, for in it grow large forest trees. All through this canyon stand curious rocky columns, measuring at the bottom perhaps thirty or forty feet, with a height of from fifty to over one hundred. Evidently composed of harder material than that which surrounded them, they were preserved to form another of the curious sights to be found in this region.
Reaching higher altitudes, we left behind the immense growth of sugar pine. The road grew steeper and much more difficult of ascent as we neared the summit of the mountain. Evidences of volcanic action grew more and more apparent, while the road for miles was bordered only by scraggy pines or red hemlock trees, puny and stunted.
Three miles from the lake we left the main road for one little traveled, so rough and full of sharp angles that, though horses can be driven to the top, it is far better to tether the animals and travel the last few thousand feet on foot.
The scenery now changed rapidly as we advanced, but no indications of water were to be seen, and indeed the elevation, nearly seven thousand feet above sea level, seemed too great to expect it in any large body. The springs and small streams, so plentiful a short distance back, were all gone, the grass less abundant, the trees stunted, presenting a marked contrast to the luxurious growth of regions left behind but a short time since. Through the trees we had occasional glimpses of some towering peak; but for any opening, or for the lake, we looked in vain. To all appearance it was still in the "far dim distance."
It has been truly said that
Oft expectation fails, and most oft thereFor when least expecting it, we suddenly emerged from the timber into a large circular opening. The object of our journey was accomplished: the lake lay at our feet.
Where most it promises; and oft it hits
Where hope is coldest, and despair most sits.
We found ourselves almost on the edge of an immense precipice, looking across a wide stretch of water lying almost two thousand feet beneath us. As we stood in silence contemplating the grandeur of the scene, no evidence of life outside our party visible, the stillness and solitude became almost oppressive, and yet it was not at once we could realize just how wonderful it all was.
Long ago, before all the country round about was covered with ashes, lava and volcanic scoriae, here must have stood one of the grandest mountains in the world. Shorn of its crown, yet almost thirty miles in circumference where we stood, to what lofty heights must it first have reached? Imagine the interior a boiling, seething cauldron--a gigantic witches' kettle eight by twelve miles in extent--with an unknown depth. From its awful mouth shot forth lava in tongues of liquid fire; its bowels of ashes and rock belched for many square miles over the surrounding country. More than thirty miles away the soil for twenty feet in depth is plainly of volcanic origin, beneath which is a dark, rich alluvium. Those miles of desolation, these rocky walls, this vast crater, all bear witness to the terrible convulsions of nature that must have taken place.
In time its fury was spent, but not until several thousand feet of the top had collapsed, leaving the hollow basin that now forms the lake. A rocky wall from fifteen hundred to three thousand feet in height rises on all sides of the lake, only broken here and there by narrow rifts or passages, which sometimes extend almost from base to summit. The basin is more or less filled with debris, consisting of sand, dirt or boulders broken from the ridges on either side, the slope always at a sharp angle; and woe betide whoever may be between the water's edge and a loosened stone, for when it is once started, its speed accelerating as it moves, detaching others on its way, one might as well hope to stand before a battery of Gatling guns. We spent some time in the fascinating, though rather frightful amusement of sending rocks and boulders into the water. Down they would go, thundering along in a great cloud of dust, with dozens of companions they had started clattering after them. Striking an impeding object, they would bound into the air a hundred feet or more, repeating this again and again, until lost to sight, or till we would see them give a mighty plunge into the water almost three thousand feet below us.
There is no shore, the lake's walls seeming to rise directly out of the water, except in one place where a bit of sandy soil is dotted with boulders is seen; and so far as known, there is but this one place where the descent to the water's edge can be made. Here there has evidently been a rock slide, which has worn a passage-way where powdered pumice stone and dust lie ankle deep, to be waded through as one goes to and fro. On account of the loose character of the soil, and danger from rolling rocks, great caution in descending must be exercised. The path varies thirty to forty-five degrees from the perpendicular, and as may be imagined, is easier to go down than up. One of our party insisted that he descended in ten minutes, but was two hours returning. This statement, however, should probably be taken cum grano salis.
In the midst of the lake lies Wizard Island, to which we made a trip in a leaky old boat, left, I believe, by a surveying party. Looking up, one realizes more fully than can be done in any other way, the immense height and steepness of the rocky walls surrounding the lake. Viewed from below, the slide down which we came looked almost perpendicular.
Reaching the island in safety, we landed upon the loose shingle that surrounded it, upon which volcanic rocks lie piled in wild confusion. The sides are covered with a growth of spruce and and black pine, growing more scattering as we ascended. At the top, nine hundred feet above the water's edge, is an opening nearly five hundred feet in diameter, with a depth of about one hundred and twenty-five. This, before the great collapse, must have been the chimney of the volcano, and judging from the growth of timber within it, has slept for ages. We also found inside it a snow bank, from which our thirst was quenched.
The water of the lake is extremely cold and very clear, objects far below the surface being readily discerned. Except the melting snow trickling down in quantities insufficient to make a stream of any size, neither inlet nor outlet has yet been discovered for this strange lake. Annie's Creek, with several other streams, which emerge in a body from the sides of this mountain, are supposed to come from the lake, and one branch of Rogue River, it is thought, also has its source therein, for it rushes with great force from the side of the mountain about two miles from the summit, and its waters are of the same peculiar shade of greenish blue as those of the lake.
Yet is it blue? One could stand for hours, never tiring of the varying lights and shades and play of color on its surface, changeful as a kaleidoscope. Now blue and sunny as Italy's own brightest beauty, or changing even as we look to a darker shade, yes, even to purple. Varying shades of green, brown, crimson, yellow and orange--we saw them all. So smooth and still generally that the rocky margins, trees, clouds, all are reflected with the same unerring precision seen in Yosemite's Mirror Lake--anon comes a soft motion, breaking the surface into ripples: so gentle the breeze, one feels it might be the breath of some Spirit of the Waters.
The Indians in this section of country have several traditions concerning the lake. One that it is the abode of evil spirits; that whoever looks into its silent depths will soon die, and solemn warning has been given the whites to keep far away, lest harm befall them. Others say it is holy ground, made sacred by the immediate presence of the Great Spirit; that in the past none ever visited it save the medicine men or their pupils. When one of the young men of the tribe received a "call" to become a healer, before becoming a proficient he must first spend weeks upon its shore, fasting and praying to the Saghalie tyee ["the chief above," i.e., God]. Having communed with the dead, seen visions, and dreamed dreams, after his descent from the mountain, and initiation into the mysteries of the medicine dance, he was ever after looked upon with reverence, as having seen the denizens of the Unknown World, and held communion with the Great Spirit. Certain it is that whether from awe and reverence or fear of harm, no inducement can be offered sufficiently strong to get an Indian within sight of its waters.
All is not yet seen, and still further reward awaits us as compensation for the fatigue of our journey.
At so great an elevation the surrounding country lies spread before us like a map, and in the clear mountain air objects at an almost incredible distance can be discerned without difficulty. With the aid of good glasses yet more can be seen.
To the south, but a short distance away, flows Annie's Creek, where there is excellent hunting and fine scenery, abounding in cascades, falls or romantic canyons. At one side are the Cascade Mountains, parts of the range rising from six thousand to ten thousand feet in height. Near them some tiny spots of white are all that can be seen of Fort Klamath, a small post just vacated in obedience to orders from Uncle Sam.
Off in the southeast a bit of brightness catches the eye, which anyone acquainted with the country knows must be Tule Lake. Just beyond, a long dark line is all that can be seen of the lava beds, scene of the Modoc War. It was in the winter of 1872-73 that the Modoc chief, Captain Jack, and a few braves defied and for a while held at bay a portion of the United States army. It was here, also, that General Canby and Commissioner Thomas were so treacherously murdered by the Indians, for which crime Captain Jack, with others of his tribe, were afterward tried, found guilty and hanged at Fort Klamath.
Yonder old Shasta, hoary monarch of all the surrounding country, pushes his snow-capped head into the clouds, up and up, till a height of almost fifteen thousand feet is reached. It is supposed to have been at one time an active volcano like the mountain on which we stand. Who knows the passion of love one for the other that may have burned within each fiery heart. In what mighty tones must they have given voice to their affection, trembling from the force of it, throwing their stony kisses or flashing their signals across the country in sheets of flame or lava streams, speaking a language awful if incomprehensible to the mortals agape with fear. But commanded by a force yet mightier than they, one must perish--or was it a heart broken in despair? The other, sending no more messages for all the ages, since stands wrapped in his snowy garb, cold and desolate, a monument of grief and constancy.
To the southwest, about twenty-five miles away, Mount McLoughlin may be seen, and in spite of its ten thousand feet altitude forms a marked contrast in point of size to Mount Shasta. Off to the west, the course of the Rogue River may be followed for many miles on its journey to the ocean, while a little north, Diamond Peak and Mount Thielsen can be seen above the horizon, and still farther on the Three Sisters, each ten thousand feet high, covered perpetually with snow.
The secluded situation, away from the usual routes traveled by tourists, keeps the lake still comparatively unknown, but as it is described from one to another the number of its visitors is increasing yearly, and the time is not far distant when it will become one of the regular sights for the tourist in its vicinity. Sufficient interest has already been aroused to cause the President to withdraw all the land surrounding the lake from the public market, and bills have been introduced, if not passed, in Congress, asking for its maintenance and government as a national park. It is certainly a trip well worth taking, for no words can adequately describe this wonderful piece of nature's handiwork. It must be seen to be fully appreciated.
Aside from the minor points of interest on the road, good hunting is found almost every mile of the journey. Elk, deer, bear, wolves and wildcat are most abundant, besides duck, quail and other small game. Nearly all the streams, the water of which is cold as if direct from the Arctic regions and clear as crystal, abound in mountain trout, while in the larger ones another variety is found, weighing from fifteen to twenty-five pounds each, the name of which is still a subject of dispute.
One can retrace his way on leaving the lake, or as we did, resume the main road and continue on over the mountains to the railroad at Ashland, where the train may again be taken for home. We learned much hitherto undreamed of as to the resources of Southern Oregon and the country through which we passed. Gold, silver, quicksilver, chrome iron, gypsum, carbonate of lime and kindred minerals are discovered in many places. The miner drawn thither by the gold fever years since still finds ample occupation, for new and rich discoveries are constantly being made. The immigrant is charmed as he hears of the delightful climate, rich soil and large crops, both of grain and many varieties of fruits, successfully raised in the valleys or on the hillsides.
But to the tourist especially its attractions are great; places visited by few and described by none; hunting and fishing unsurpassed; lofty mountains, weird and majestic, mysterious lakes, splendid waterfalls, all that goes to form grand and beautiful scenery.
Martin A. KennOverland Monthly, July 1891, page 19
JOTTINGS WHILE EN ROUTE TO FT. KLAMATH.Your Eagle Point correspondent, wife and two daughters, Hattie and Agnes, started from their home in Eagle Point, Wednesday, August 7th, for Klamath County. Had gone but a short distance when we overtook Lawyer Phipps and Dave Phipps, of Medford, headed for the mountains for a hunt. As we started with the calculation of only touching the high places we passed on and soon overtook three more wagons. I recognized some of them as the Jeff Grigsby family, and later on we passed Mr. Cranson and family on their way to Klamath County. In the afternoon we camped for lunch at the Big Butte bridge, a new structure that Mr. Hartman had just put up and one that reflects credit on the builders. Along here we met several loads of lumber on the way out to the valley. Passing on, the first place of note was T. B. Higinbotham's ranch and blacksmith shop, where everything looked as though prosperity had struck them hard, and as we journeyed on we passed by several fine farms and soon reached the top of the grade on the north side of Rogue River at 6:45 p.m., and camped for the night. The next morning we traveled through some fine farms, but most of them had changed so since I last passed over the road, twenty-five years ago, that it was hard for me to locate the old ones, several farms having been located since then. The old Akins sawmill at Prospect shows the effects of the actions of the elements there, that the business done now is less than in years gone by. After leaving Prospect we entered one of the finest bodies of timber in the county, where one sees yellow and sugar pine, fir and yew timber of the finest quality, some of the trees reaching one hundred feet without a limb. At Union Creek we found hay at one cent a pound and here we replenished our stock and went five miles further to Silver Camp for dinner. At this place we met two families from Fresno County, California. They were out looking at the country and had traveled up the coast to Crescent City, thence to Jackson County and were on their way to look over Eastern Oregon. After talking with them for a while one of them remarked that Douglas County was the best advertised of any county in the state, except the Willamette Valley, and that was what they had to go by, but after I left him one of the men remarked to the other, so that my wife heard him, that he had a great notion to go home and move to Jackson County this fall. They appeared to be men of means and are looking for a healthy country and I recommended the Rogue River Valley. Passing on from Silver Camp we met with nothing of interest until we reached Castle Court. Here along the banks of the Rogue River are tall pyramids of sandstone that have stood for ages, but I can see that there is quite a change in the last twenty-five years. That night we camped at the foot of the mountain on the way to Crater Lake. Here we met G. L. Davis and family, and Joseph Davis and family, and Joseph Thomas and wife, they having been to the lake the day before and were returning home. The next morning we ascended the hill to the lake, but I will not attempt a description of the grand scenery as that has been done so often. Remaining there just long enough to take in the sights, we crossed the summit of the mountain and started down the Annie Creek road, and here I will express my surprise that there has been so little said about the grand scenery along the Annie Creek Canyon. Shortly after the stream bursts from its hiding place under the mountain, it enters a deep canyon that it follows for several miles, and along which there is some of the finest sights on the whole route. As we entered the Wood River Valley we noticed a change in twenty-five years; then a vast prairie, now cut up into farms, and many of them have large groves of timber growing on them. Some have been planted, while others have simply grown without any assistance. The stockmen are all busy putting up hay, there being very little farming done here. It is estimated that there will be between seven and eight thousand tons of hay cut this year.
A. C. Howlett, "Eagle Point Eaglets," Medford Mail, August 23, 1901, page 5
Distinguished Crater Lake Party.
The Portland and Salem party bound for the Crater Lake National Park arrived in the city Thursday morning and after lunch at Hotel Nash they started upon their journey by the Rogue River route, expecting to camp at Eagle Point last night. Friday noon they will lunch with Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Stewart at their mountain home. The program beyond that is not known except that they will return to the railroad by the Dead Indian Road, and will reach that point on August 20th.
The party consists of Governor and Mrs. T. T. Geer, Congressman T. H. Tongue; Miss Bessie G. Merriam, of Brooklyn; Miss Louie Church and Miss Margaret J. Cooper, of Salem; Mrs. Lee Hoffman, Miss Hoffman, James Steele, F. H. Fleming, Benj. Lombard and Will G. Steele, of Portland.
Medford Mail, August 8, 1902, page 6
COUNCILMAN B. C. CUVELLIER TELLS OF TRIP.
Oakland Official Gives a Description of His Journey from Grants Pass to Crater Lake.
EDITOR TRIBUNE: In the Cascade Mountains, ninety-five miles northeast of Grants Pass, Oregon, the nearest railroad station, and accessible only over rough and rocky roads, steep ascents and deep gullies, lies one of the wonders of the world, Crater Lake. For a trip to this objective point eight people from various sections of the country gathered last month at Rose Cottage, in Grants Pass, by previous agreement. The party consisted of the following named persons:
G. Edward Harding of Chicago.
L. A. Shadburne of New York, who will be designated in this narrative as simply "Len."
Mrs. L. A. Shadburne, "Eva."
G. E. Payne, Esq., for this occasion to be known as just plain "Dad," father of Mrs. Shadburne.
Edward Payne, brother of Mrs. Shadburne, invariably called "Eddie."
Miss M. Yost of Kansas City, "Minnie."
Councilman B. C. Cuvellier of Oakland, abbreviated to "B.C."
Harold Cuvellier, his son, aged 17.
THEY ARE OFF.A complete narrative of the journey would fill a volume, but the following extracts from a diary kept by one of the party will serve to give the most salient incidents of a trip which, when once taken, can never be forgotten.
Wednesday, July 22, 1903, Grants Pass.--All hands up at 5 o'clock in the morning. Early breakfast.
"Here, where's my gun?"
"Where did you put that fishing tackle?"
"Are you sure all the provisions are in the grub box?"
"Oh, where are my gloves?" etc., ad infinitum.
"Hurrah, here comes Len with the stagecoach and four horses. Just look at my darling husband, how he handles those horses. Oh, he's just the dearest man on earth," says Eva.
"Cut it out, child; cut it out," growls Harding. "This is not your bridal trip. You've been married two years. You ought to know better."
"Take hold here, everybody, and pack it up," shouts Dad.
It takes longer to get everything properly placed and securely tied on a stagecoach for a journey like this than one would imagine. "All aboard." Nine a.m., off we go.
The men all attired in khaki suits, the ladies temporarily dressed in shirtwaists, short skirts and leggings. Dust. More dust. Most dust. "My, but it's hot."
EVERYTHING BOILED.Reach Gold Hill at noon. Dine at hotel. Boiled beef (tough), boiled potatoes, boiled chicory coffee, boiled bread, boiled pie, boiled prunes. Off again, through fruit orchards and grain fields, a beautiful fertile country. Now in Sams Valley. Six o'clock and we have driven only thirty miles.
A BREAKDOWN.Crack--bang. "Whoa! What was that?"
"Hind bolster's broke."
"Now, isn't that he-l."
Remarks by Mr. Harding:
"The ladies will please stick cotton in their ears while the gentlemen proceed to swear and to put in a new bolster."
"Everybody pile out and foot it to the next farm. We can mend it there," says Len. We reach Pinkham's farm and find the farmer and his family very hospitable people. We camp near the barn. Unpack the stage.
SUPPER TIME.Eva and Minnie get supper ready on the camp stove. Len, Dad and Harding put in a new hind bolster made of a green fir sapling. Supper. Simply delicious. Fried bacon and potatoes, stewed tomatoes and such tea and biscuit as only Eva can make. No supper at the Palace Grill Room ever tasted so good.
IN THE STRAW.Bedtime. "All you other folks climb up into that hay loft and don't any of you dare to light a match nor take a lantern with you, either," says Harding. "B.C. and I will sleep here on the ground under the wagon."
It takes quite a while to get the ladies calmed down. They imagine that they hear mice in the hay and feel confident that there is a bat flying around in the loft. "Of course there is," shouts Harding. "A hay loft is just the place for field mice and bats to be; it's where you would naturally look for 'em. Now go to sleep."
THE SECOND DAY.Thursday, July 23, Pinkham's farm.--The owner of the place charged us just one dollar for feeding four horses all the hay they ate during the night, and for camping privileges. Cheap enough. Eddie discovers that he has lost his watch in the hay during his sleep. We start at 8 o'clock and soon strike the Rogue River, a beautiful, wide stream, running in swift torrents over the rocks at places, again in ripples and here and there as smooth as polished glass. By noon we reach the upper ferry on Rogue River. We camp. Harold and Eddie build a fire. Minnie cooks lunch and Eva goes off to the nearest house to buy bread.
IN BLOOMERS.Forgot to mention that this morning Eva and Minnie shed their skirts and appeared in bloomers. They look all right.
Eva comes running down the road waving a large loaf of bread in the air. "I have a treat for you, boys, I have a treat for you. See here. Hot bread, just out of the oven," she shouts. The rest of the crowd don't seem to enthuse. Eva looks disappointed and hurt. We all take hold of that bread and fairly devour it or at least appear to be doing so. "B.C." is caught stowing large chunks of the white of the bread in his coat pocket, and only eating the crust. As we are about finishing our meal Eva speaks up and says:
NO PLACE LIKE HOME."Well, I just want to tell you. I have been in filthily kept houses before, but never in any place quite so slovenly as the house where I got this bread from. There is a woman there and four children, and none of them look as if they had ever had a bath. In the front room there was an old sow suckling six little pigs, and on the kitchen table the chickens were walking around picking the leavings of the family's noon meal. Now, what do you think of that?"
General consternation and signs of distress among the rest of the party. Harold says this hot bread has given him hydrophobia (meaning water brash). Dad complains of preliminary signs of indigestion. "B.C." grins and empties the chunks of half-cooked dough out of his coat pocket.
PHYSIC FOR DAD.Again we start. That night we camp at Gordon's farm at the foot of the summit. Dad is really, seriously sick with indigestion from eating hot bread. Eva and Len doctor him up with Bromo Seltzer. "Bid" contributes a dose of compound licorice powder. Harding prevails upon him to swallow about two fingers of Old Bourbon Snake Medicine. Dad is willing to take anything to secure relief. He secured it, all right. Never got a chance to lie down more than ten minutes at a time, but by morning what there was left of him was feeling in the best of health. Eddie, Harold and Harding find a swimming pool and take a bath. All hands slept on the ground under the trees.
A RUSTIC BEAUTY.Friday, July 24th, Gordon's Farm.--Started 6:10 a.m. Nooned at Prospect, a little settlement consisting of a tumble-down building called a "hotel," a residence, barn and a combination store and post office. Postmistress is named Miss [Frances] Aiken. Remarkably handsome and intelligent young woman. Says she was born and brought up right there. Can hardly believe it. Eva and her brother, Eddie, walk down to the Rogue River Falls. Eddie steps on some moss-covered boughs and tumbles out of sight into a hole ten feet deep.
THE TRANSFORMATION.By the way, Eva has shed her bloomers and now wears a man's khaki suit. She looks like a handsome boy of sixteen, and the freedom of action which she can enjoy in this style of clothing causes her to exclaim: "Cracky, but I wish that I could be a man and wear comfortable clothes like this all the time." Then she proceeds to climb rocky ledges and walk on the edge of precipices where not one of us men dare to follow her. She has bantered "B.C." to come along. They start, but when she at last stands on a rock hardly two feet wide and which overhangs a perpendicular precipice almost a thousand feet deep, at the bottom of which are the roaring, foaming Rogue River Falls, "B.C." concludes that Eva does not know what fear is and he reads the riot act to her.
A COLD PLUNGE.Evening finds us at Mill Creek. We stop near McCoy's cabin. He is an old hunter. Harding suggests to "B.C." that they take a bath in the creek. McCoy and some of his mountaineer friends laugh and ask if Harding and "B.C." know that the water in Mill Creek is simply melted snow and colder than ordinary ice water. When Harding and "B.C." persist in their intention to go in, the mountaineers chuckle and poke each other in the ribs. "Well," said McCoy, "you'll come out of that water quicker'n you ever went in, I'm telling you." Then they stop up on the brow of the hill to see those two "tenderfeet" get fooled. Harding and "B.C." plunged into the water, stayed in a while, got out on the bank, soaped and rubbed and went in again and rinsed off. It was like bathing in ice water. In fact it was ice water, but there were those three mountaineers standing on the brow of the hill, watching Harding and "B.C." When the latter returned up the hill old McCoy expressed his admiration at their gameness in language more forcible than elegant, but he meant every word of it.
The night is cold. We cover our heads with our blue cotton handkerchiefs and canvas hats, roll up in blankets and quilts and sleep on the ground.
THE FIRST FISH.Saturday, July 25, Mill Creek.--We get started at 7 a.m. and reach Union Creek by noon. Here we decide to make our permanent camp. Harold catches the first trout. Harding, "B.C.," Eddie and Harold find a swimming pool in Union Creek and go bathing. Wow! but the water is cold. On returning to camp, Eva announces that she has been fishing and has caught six trout.
A KINDLY PROVIDENCE.Sunday, July 26, Union Creek Camp.--We make an early start for Crater Lake. Dad remains to look after camp. Before starting, however, we all agree that from the depth of our hearts we render thanks to the Almighty for the kind protection which he has thus far vouchsafed us, for we all realize that while Len is undoubtedly one of the most skillful drivers of a four-in-hand in the whole United States, there have been places, and many of them, where a single misstep on the part of one of the horses, or the crumbling of a little earth on the edge of the road, would have sent us to certain death in the rocky gorges of the Rogue River. We feel that we have had God's protection, and we are truly and reverently grateful therefor.
UP TO THE SNOW.Now on to Crater Lake. It is a steep road and a hard pull for the horses. We make our camp at 11 a.m. at the snow line about one thousand feet below the brink of the crater. Harold complains that the elevation affects him and that he feels as if he had kidney trouble and heart failure. Those symptoms develop just about the time the rest of the party begin to unload the wagon and prepare the camp, fetch wood and feed the horses, set up the stove and start in to do some hard work. "B.C." suggests to Harold that as the crater is at the elevation of one thousand feet higher it will not be safe for him to venture any further up but that he had better remain to watch the horses while the rest of the party make the ascent. Harold feels better at once and inside of two minutes is working like a Trojan at unpacking the wagon and preparing camp. Along comes Mr. Arant, superintendent of the Crater Lake National Park, with a party of friends. Mutual introductions follow, and Mr. Arant leads the way up to the crater.
A LAKE IN THE SKIES.Over and through the snow we plod, our spiked shoes saving us from many a fall and bruise. Suddenly and most unexpectedly we find ourselves upon the brink of the crater and before our eyes is spread a most wonderful and awe-inspiring sight. Apparently at our very feet, almost perpendicularly below us, lies a beautiful sheet of water, a lake the very color of indigo, some four miles wide by five miles long. High above it rise the ragged edges of the crater's rocky rim. Victor Rock, on which we stand, is above 7,339 feet above the sea level. The level of the lake is 6,339 feet above the ocean. The depth of the lake is 1,996 feet. Mr. Arant explains to us that government geologists have concluded that the top of this great mountain, which was at one time a volcano, was not blown off as was at first supposed, but that here and there were small craters from which the molten lava flowed which has formed the lava beds along the slopes and in the surrounding valleys. That one day this flow ceased, the pressure from below having subsided, this great mountain peak, five miles in diameter and no one knows how high, caved in, forming a hollow, like an inverted cone.
SLEEP IN THE SNOW.The rains came and filled this up, thus forming the lake. Subsequently there was further volcanic action and the little crater which one sees in the lake was formed. Led by Superintendent Arant, Eva, Minnie, Harding and Eddie walk down a narrow and dangerous trail to the level of the lake. Harding and Eddie go in for a swim. According to Mr. Arant they are the first white men who have ever ventured to do this. They report the water not so cold as in Union or Mill creeks, still it is far from being warm. Len, "B.C." and Harold return to camp and find one of the horses sick and lying down. We had been warned not to let the horses drink this ice water from the melting snow without first warming it a little, as many horses have been known to drop dead after drinking from these mountain streams. Superintendent Arant and the rest of the party appear. We physic old Frank with hot milk and sugar, lard and turpentine. Mr. Arant says the horse has the bots and a little colic combined. He comes around all right. This night we sleep surrounded by snow banks.
A CLOSE CALL.Monday, July 27th.--Crater Lake Camp--Up at an early hour and off for our permanent camp at Union Creek. Road very bad and rough. The near leader falls, and the wagon nearly goes over him. Close call to a dead horse and an upset. Len is thrown from the driver's seat and lands on the horse's head. Lively scrambling for about thirty seconds. Eva displays nerve and presence of mind. Her first look is for her husband, and then seeing that he is not hurt she rushes to the leaders and in a jiffy has them unhitched. The men back the wagon. The horse makes an effort to rise and falls again. Is he dying? This is serious. One more effort. Up he goes, shakes himself and there is absolutely nothing the matter with him, not even a scratch.
THE FOREST RANGER.We reach Union Creek Camp at noon. There we find Mr. W. J. Nichols, U.S. Interior Department Forest Ranger, whose duties are to protect the forests from fires, to see that the sheep do not overfeed the ranges, arrest any person willfully or through carelessness leaving fires burning in abandoned camps, and to patrol the woods generally. He is a splendid fellow and we soon became friends.
CAUGHT BATHING.Eva and Minnie having gone for a swim at the lower pool, Len and "B.C." have recourse to the ford near camp. In the midst of their ablutions, along come some teams with families moving to Idaho. Lively sidestepping by Len and "B.C." around a large fir tree. They got their feet in a lot of fir gum on the ground and spent an hour or more trying to get it off.
"B.C." LOOKING FOR REST.Then followed four days of delightful camp life spent in fishing and hunting, bathing, gathering around the camp fire at night telling ghost stories or listening to Dad playing sweet old-time melodies on the flute. Eddie and Minnie sing most delightfully. Harding keeps us in roars of laughter with his negro dialect stories and Len, "B.C." and Harold prove themselves good listeners. When asked why he has so little to say, "B.C." explains that in the Oakland City Council he does so much talking, he is glad to give his jaws a rest when on a camping trip like this. Harold, for a city boy who has never before been on a trip of this kind, develops into quite a good fisherman and hunter, but Eddie is the champion shot and Eva sets the pace when it comes to coaxing the trout out of the stream.
A CALIFORNIA GIRL.By the way, Eva is a California girl, born on her father's cattle ranch in Modoc County, and has hunted and fished and ridden horseback in her childhood days in company with her brother from early dawn till late at night. This accounts for her self-reliance, courage, daring and skill as a pathfinder through the woods, her knowledge of every sound of this wilderness from the chattering of a squirrel to the cry of the mountain cougar, and her power to discern and recognize the footprints of every denizen of the forest.
STRATTON ON WATER WAGON.One morning who should drive by our camp at Union Creek but Hon. Fred S. Stratton of Oakland, in company with Fred Page of Portland. They were bound for Crater Lake, Klamath and lots of other places. They had with them a cook, two drivers, two wagonloads of provisions. The wagon that Stratton and Page were riding in must have been some newfangled contraption for a trip like this, for they explained that they were both riding on the "water wagon, honest and true." Wonder what they meant. "B.C." secured from Stratton a copy of a San Francisco paper of July 24th, the first news from the outside world for the past week.
DEER ARE SHY.Friday, July 31st, Union Creek Camp.--Harding and Eddie have been out all night. They have shot a buck. There are numerous deer tracks all around our camp, but the game is shy. Harold saw a buck and took three shots at him. He came back to camp shaking as if he had a chill. Asked if he had buck ague, he explained that he did not, only that when he first saw the deer he was so surprised that he did not know whether or not to shoot at him. Harold grows indignant when told that these are very much like the symptoms of buck ague. Two deer crossed the road just ahead of Eva and Len, but as neither had guns with them, there was no venison in camp that day. Dad says the deer are all around us in the woods laughing at us and that some night they will come into camp and eat the hair off our heads. Our pet robin redbreast pays us his usual morning and evening visit. He has grown very tame and comes so close as to eat the crumbs from the table.
HOMEWARD BOUND.Saturday, August 1st, Union Creek Camp.--We make an early start for home and after stopping on the way at the fish hatchery, passing by Table Rock mountain and camping out in the open for two nights, we reach Grants Pass, Monday, August 3rd, at 1:30 in the afternoon, sunburnt, almost in rags, with bruised bones and barked shins, but with happy hearts. Thus ended a trip of thirteen days' duration, during which mere acquaintance was cemented into firm and lasting friendship, where at times tempers were sorely tried, but where each and every one proved himself and herself "a good fellow," and the pleasant memories of which will ever linger in the minds of those who made this journey together. May we all meet again under the same happy conditions.
B. C. CUVELLIER.Oakland Tribune, August 10, 1903, page 12
NEW VIEW OF CRATER LAKE.
From the Portland Oregonian.
A leading feature of the Crater Lake outing under W. G. Steel was the successful climb of Mount Scott, a little-known mountain near the border of the lake, which towers up to somewhere near the height of Mount St. Helens, 9122 feet. Under the leadership of Messrs. Fred and Oscar Kiser, who are perhaps the most daring and successful cliff climbers in the Northwest, a little party of five made the ascent, this party including the first women, it is believed, to make the summit of the peak.
There are two ways of reaching this mountain from Crater Lake--first, by making a hard two days' trip of it over the peaks that separate it from the camping ground; secondly, by scaling an apparently impossible cliff 1000 feet high from the edge of the lake. The latter was the way selected.
PERILOUS CLIMB.Taking the boat at 4 a.m. Wednesday, August 12, the party, which comprised Messrs. Fred and Oscar Kiser, Ralph Woodford and Misses Helen Akins and Gertrude Metcalfe, reached the base of the precipice after a four-mile boat ride on Crater Lake. Perpendicularly out of the water rose the cliff, composed of bare and massive rocks connected by loose sliding shale, in which some trees and brush had found lodgement. A single misstep would send the climber plunging into the bottomless lake below. A 100-foot rope was put into use and shifted from one rock to another higher up till the 1000 perpendicular feet of precipice had been scaled.
This being successfully accomplished, in spite of the huge falling rocks from above that plunged down across their path, [a] 2½-mile walk over rolling hills brought them to the base of the mountain, which is a tedious but by no means dangerous climb, the loose shale making foothill difficult. There is no snow to speak of on the mountain except on its northern exposure, owing to its location so far southward near the California line. By 10 o'clock the advance guard, Mr. Fred Kiser, stood on the topmost pinnacle, and 11:30 found all the party assembled there.
The view of Crater Lake from the summit of Mount Scott outrivals any that has hitherto been known. The camera was therefore leveled at it in good earnest. The view commanded the entire lake, with the morning light still upon it, the marvelous reflections which are so distinguishing a feature of the lake and which can be seen only at certain hours being plainly visible. Panoramic views commonly seen of Crater Lake are made from a series of plates, and are not, therefore, correct in perspective, whereas a photograph taken from Mount Scott being upon a single plate is absolutely true to nature. As this is the first photograph ever taken from the summit of Mount Scott, everyone who is interested in Crater Lake is on the qui vive to see the finished picture.
After eating luncheon on the summit and leaving their names, the descent was begun. At 4:30 p.m. the party of five had reached the lake and were ready for the return by boat. Miss Helen Akins, of Redlands, Cal., did especially brilliant work on the cliff, and as it was her first experience in mountaineering she has been the subject of much admiring comment in camp.
Medford Mail, August 28, 1903, page 1
L. B. Brown--"It was a great trip that my family and I took to Crater Lake and Fort Klamath, and we enjoyed it thoroughly, not even excepting the morning we broke camp on Crater Lake on our way back. That was a week ago last Thursday, and we woke up in the morning in a blinding snowstorm. I never saw it snow so hard in my life, and I have been where it snowed some, too. We couldn't see the tops of the trees, so fast did the snow fall. It piled up on the doubletrees and tongue of the wagon and froze there in regular winter style. The snow was over two inches deep and extended for ten miles down the mountain. But we enjoyed it just the same, although it was rather cold."
"Street Echoes," Medford Mail, September 4, 1903, page 1
YOUNG FOLKS LEARN TO PACK
School of Instruction Being Conducted by Local Fruit Association.
With the advent of the peach it is self-evident that skilled packers are needed to handle the crop direct at the orchard. With this result in view the local fruit and produce association is conducting a packing school which is under the charge of T. F. Smith, manager, whose vigilant eye is always open to observe best methods either in the cultivation or handling of horticultural products. The other day recently about a dozen young folks were employed around the establishment, being instructed as to the best way of packing fruit, the early peach in fair quantity being in the market just at present. With experienced packers in the orchards direct the fruit can be gotten ready for immediate shipment without so much handling at association headquarters, being only subject to inspection when delivered for loading, and it is for the purpose of furnishing skilled packers that this school is being conducted. Of course there is always a certain percentage of the product that has to be handled at the packing house, and as the season advances this will continue to be disposed of as heretofore.
The six principal commercial packs embrace three classifications of standard grades, as follows:
2-2--7-6, 56 specimens to the box; 8-2--7-7, 70; 3-2--7-6, 65. These packs are specified as "Extra Fancy." 3-2--8-8, 80 specimens to box; 3-2--8-7, 75. These denominated "Fancy." 3-3--8-7, 90 specimens to box. These are classified as "Choice." Some other classifications range from 48 to 56 specimens per box.
The trick is to select the fruit to best advantage in packing these respective classifications. It takes discrimination as to size, quality, etc., and until one has gained proficiency in the knack of selection considerable of the work has to be done over again. A system of numbers in duplicate keeps tab on producer and his shipments.
Alexanders are being handled at the headquarters just at present, and quite a number are coming in. Several wagonloads are being dispatched to Klamath every week, in addition to shipments by rail, while the shipments by Wells Fargo express, several hundred boxes per day, mostly go to Portland.
A limited number of Early Harvest apples are also being packed, and the instruction school will be kept busy as long as deemed necessary.
Placards displayed at the fruit and produce warerooms announce that contracts on Logans, raspberries and blackberries closed some time since.
Ashland Tidings, July 11, 1910, page 1
MEDFORD MEN WILL MAKE FIRST TRIP
WITH AUTO TO FISH LAKE
Two Medford automobile enthusiasts are planning an auto trip for the early summer that promises to not only test the durability of their machines, but their skill and ingenuity as drivers as well. Dick Slinger and W. M. Hodson are the principals of the trip, and their destination will be Fish Lake. No automobile has ever made the trip, but they are sincere in their belief that they will be able to pilot Slinger's Buick to the lake this summer.
Mr. Hodson is an experienced driver and was the first man to take an automobile to the rim of Crater Lake, and has made many other trips of like nature. Mr. Slinger has spent many years in the mountains in the vicinity of Fish Lake.
The road into the lake is not much more than a pack trail, and it is quite an effort to put a common wagon over it, but these men expect to go equipped with boards with which to raise their machine over stumps and rocks and with sundry other devices for simplifying mountain travel. They expect to make the trip as soon as road conditions will permit.
Medford Sun, February 15, 1911, page 1
An Auto Trip to Crater Lake in September
By Frank RiggsA trip from Portland to Crater Lake is an experience not soon to be forgotten and is replete with beautiful and interesting scenery of that wonderful Oregon country.
Starting from Portland late in September, we made the trip through the Willamette Valley via Eugene, Grants Pass and Medford. The better way to make the trip probably is to start from The Dalles and return through the Willamette Valley.
Our party consisted of Miss Helen Harrah, of Detroit, Mich.; Misses Mabel and Stella Riggs, E. J. Clark, Mr. and Mrs. Frank C. Riggs, of Portland, all safely housed in a four-door 1911 Packard Thirty touring car. Leaving Portland at 9 on a beautiful fall Sunday morning, we were saluted by a glorious view of Hood before Oregon City was reached.
Just enough rain had fallen to put the roads in fine condition, with no dust of any consequence. Leaving Oregon City, we passed many Indian outfits returning to the Warm Springs Reservation from hop picking in the valley. A few minutes were spent at Salem, obtaining photographs of the party in front of the capitol. Then we were bowling over the fine road up the hills and through the beautiful orchards south of the Capital City. Arriving at Albany at 1:30 o'clock, we spent the afternoon with the family of Percy Young. Mr. Young has a regular schedule for his frequent runs with his Packard phaeton between Portland and Albany, in which he competes successfully with Southern Pacific trains.
A lazy start was made from Eugene at 9:30 o'clock, and soon a fine view of the Three Sisters was had. Passing Cottage Grove, we climbed out of the Willamette Valley gradually, and into the Calapooia Mountains. In a beautiful wooded spot a stop was made for lunch. The girls' notes here say Mother and Father were stung. We were, and stung right, having forgotten our youthful knowledge of the habits of the yellowjacket. During a two hours' stop at the home of Frank B. Waite on the hillside overlooking the Sutherlin Valley we were entertained by Mrs. Waite, after which a short run brought us to the end of our second day, Roseburg, with 81 miles to our credit.
From Roseburg the highway leads deeper into the mountains; climbing up past Myrtle Creek to Canyonville in the famous Cow Creek Canyon which, while beautiful and a good stiff climb for eight miles, was not so formidable as we had been led to suppose. Into Glendale we went although the direct road to Grants Pass does not pass through that village. Leaving Glendale, we took the shortcut over the mountain which includes many steep pitches, narrow road and many sharp turns. At the top of the grade a very sharp swing around the nose of the mountain brings the beautiful Rogue River Valley in sight spread out before us for miles. The road takes a sudden drop and winds down a rocky ledge requiring most careful driving. This brings us to the main road at Wolf Creek and so on into Grants Pass on the Rogue River which we now skirt to Table Rock, that interesting and peculiar landmark. Table Rock is a natural fortress and stories are told of its utilization for the purpose during Indian days. Mt. Pitt or Mt. McLoughlin, tipped with snow, overlooks the entire landscape.
Passing through what is called the "desert" with its various and meandering roads, all of which seem to lead to Central Point, Medford was reached at 5:00 o'clock. The next three days were spent around among the orchards of Medford and Ashland. There are many beautiful drives about these cities, and several days can be spent there to advantage. In old Jacksonville one might think themselves in a New England village. The beautiful and productive orchards of this district are a story in themselves.
Saturday morning we were to start from Medford for Crater Lake, so Friday night we covered the sides of our car with strips of eight-ounce duck to protect if from the brush which grows close to the road and scratches a car badly unless so protected. A five-gallon can of gasoline was strapped on the running board for emergencies and we were ready.
We had intended to start by 6:30 o'clock, but rain dampened our ardor as well as our outfit. Getting away at 7:45 o'clock, it was noon before we crossed the Rogue River on the stream-impelled ferry; we were greeted by a rainbow lying in the direction of Crater Lake. High up above the Rogue River five or six hundred feet on a narrow rocky ledge after passing a small settlement called Trail, we met an emigrant outfit with a team of colts as leaders who could not be brought past us on the narrow road until backed a quarter of a mile to a safe passing place. The road was narrow and winding with a rocky wall on one side and a precipice on the other, making the process an interesting one.
Shortly before reaching Prospect the falls through the gorge of the Rogue River are encountered. The rugged scenery of this region is beyond description. Rapids, cascades, falls and boiling streams are bewildering in their beauty and magnificence. The ground is carpeted with pine needles and looks for all the world like a big park miles in extent. To complete the illusion hundreds of gray squirrels, with big bushy tails, cross the road every moment.
The higher we climbed the colder it became, and before Camp Arant, or the lower camp, was reached, patches of snow here and there were in evidence. We stopped at the camp just long enough of inquire if any gasoline was to be had, but were told there was none, and that we had our nerve with us to attempt the trip to the lake so late in the season. They were just breaking camp and were to leave the next day.
We were five miles yet from the rim and had more than 1000 feet to climb. This 1000 feet made a decided difference in the climate. Shortly after leaving Camp Arant, the snow came down in earnest, the wind blew, and we were in the midst of a blinding snowstorm. The roads were heavy with mud and several inches of snow, making the 33 percent grades combined with our decreased power, due to the high altitude, quite interesting. Most of 1020 feet is in the last mile, but a few minutes of hard climbing brought us to the lodge at the rim of the lake, an elevation of 7100 feet. At 4 o'clock it was 28 degrees; slightly different from 90 degrees in Medford the evening before.
After all the effort to reach the rim of the extinct crater it was most disappointing to see nothing over its edge but a bank of clouds and whirling snow, but we hoped for better things and proceeded to "house" our car under the trees, put up our curtains to protect it from the storm and drain the water circulating system to prevent freezing.
Suddenly like magic the clouds had gone, the snow had stopped falling, the atmosphere had cleared and the lake lay at our feet. Surrounded by snow-clad mountains the sight held us speechless and supper was forgotten.
We poked our heads out of our tents at sunrise into a beautiful clear day. So clear and cool and crisp that it made you laugh. Our tents faced the east and off to the southeast, down in a lower country, we saw great lakes. On one side were marshes, beautifully colored. It did not occur to us that these were the Klamath lakes, as they seemed right at our hand, but Klamath lakes they were, with the nearest point about 35 miles and the lower end about 100 miles from where we stood.
The marshes, the color of which could be clearly discerned, were fully 60 miles away. All around us in every direction were snow-clad mountains; Mt. Shasta some 150 miles to the south looked as Mt. Hood does from Portland. Other peaks in fantastic shapes provide views that are worth a hard trip to see, even if Crater Lake was not to be included.
The conditions were ideal for our early morning sight of the world's wonder. It is impossible to grasp its immensity. We are told that the lake is about six by seven miles in extent, that the shores, which rise abruptly, are from 1000 to 2000 feet above the water's edge, that Wizard Island is two and a half miles from the lodge and 865 feet above the water. These facts are hard to swallow.
The lake has no apparent outlet, and the government soundings show a depth of over 1900 feet over a line more than four miles across. It is alive with steelhead trout. Years ago, Mr. Steel, who now heads the company operating the hotel properties, carried the original stock up the mountain trail from the Rogue River. The government now permits each person to catch five in one day.
There is but one trail to the water's edge, starting where the wagon road reached the rim of the crater. This we did not descend, it being covered with snow, which caused it to be very unsafe for novices. We went, instead, to a sort of promontory nearby, commanding the most advantageous vista of the lake and surroundings. From there we took pictures and drank in the grandest in Dame Nature's store, struck speechless with awe at the splendor of it all.
Resuming our trip, after passing the lower camp, we soon ran into the Annie Creek Canyon. The rock strata here is very peculiar and unlike any we had seen before. At Fort Klamath we inquired for gasoline and found we could obtain only a few gallons. This and the very little in our tank we decided would get us to Klamath Falls, some 40 miles south, where we could replenish, although we had not intended going there.
Medford Mail Tribune, June 4, 1911, pages B1-2
July 13, 1913 Sunday Oregonian
MEDFORD HAS TEMPERATURE OF 92MEDFORD, Or., June 6.--(Special.)--While the thermometer was at 92 on May 27, breaking all records for the month in Medford, the first motor party to Crater Lake for the 1914 season was shoveling its way through snow drifts 20 feet deep. This climatic contrast within a radius of 35 miles indicates what advantages this unique natural wonder has as a summer resort.
AND 35 MILES AWAY SNOW IS DEEP
Motor Party Beats All Records, Reaching Crater Lake Nearly 30 Days Earlier Than Ever Before--Result of Army Engineers' Work Particularly Noticeable on Corkscrew Curve,
Where Grade Is Cut to 10 Percent.
The motor party made the rim of the lake nearly a month earlier than it has ever before been accomplished. The car invaded the Crater Lake Forest Reserve also, thus making a record as the first motor car to cross the line before June 15.
Seely Hall, generally recognized as the most capable mountain auto driver in Southern Oregon, made the trip with his Hupmobile accompanied by Ed Weston, photographer of the Medford Commercial Club, and Homer Rothermel, a newspaper man. The party left Medford at 2 p.m. Tuesday, May 20, and reached Prospect, 47 miles distant, at 5:45. Through the yellow pine forests, beyond Prospect, the Hup made a fast run on excellent roads until the winter weather was reached. Snow drifts were encountered from five to 20 feet deep, soft underneath, but they were all negotiated until within a few miles of White Horse Creek. Here the road became impassable, and it was necessary to detour through the forest, Rothermel going ahead with an ax to clear a right-of-way. The car traveled over half a mile, coming back to the road only 200 feet nearer the lake.
At White Horse Creek, however, the car had to be abandoned, and the party walked on to Arant's Camp, where they passed Wednesday night and walked to the rim of the lake Thursday.
For over a year Army engineers have been extending new roads within the park, while Superintendent Steel has had a force of men improving the present roads leading to the rim. Instead of a 33-percent grade up Corkscrew Curve, for example, the maximum has been cut to 10 percent, allowing all cars to make the hotel and lodge. Local automobile men declared the running time from Medford will be reduced to an average of six hours, with the return easily made in five hours.
The auto stage will run from Medford this year three times a week, and arrangements have been made to carry mail, which will reduce the time for first-class mail between Crater Lake and Portland three days. Formerly the mail was carried via Klamath Falls.
The fishing in Crater Lake is now as fine as anywhere in the state of Oregon, trout being plentiful. Work on the Crater Lake Hotel and Lodge is progressing rapidly. Everything points to a record-breaking season at the lake in 1914.
Sunday Oregonian, Portland, June 17, 1914, page 50
Hidden RichesTo the Editor--Around the second week in October, 1914, I was returning from a season's employment in Klamath County. A friend was driving over to the Rogue Valley for a supply of apples--a lumber wagon load. As the trip would take two days, he suggested I go along and view Crater Lake. We camped there near the superintendent's office.
We arose early to expedite travel at that season of year, and when we were nearing a wide place near Union Creek on the dirt road, we met up with an old-time "hoss trader," who wanted to swap his lone gray to the wagon master, so each would have a color-matched team. After a short exchange of trader's vocabulary, the dicker was closed, my friend getting some cash to boot. (I always will think my friend got the best deal, because the gray horse he got in the exchange was a typical camp horse and would eat leftover camp victuals or biscuits as readily as grain or hay.)
When we reached the sign of the Rogue "Natural Bridge" we rested awhile. A few moments later a posse of nine or ten Indian braves off the reservation on a deer hunting expedition on horseback rode up alongside the wagon. Afterwards I learned most of them were college grads, some lawyers, doctors, teachers and prospectors.
The spokesman ask me if we had any smoking tobacco. Wanting to be polite, before my friend had time to nudge me, I reached in the boot for a sack of "Geo. Washington" brand which the leader generously passed along until the little bag was emptied. (I was left holding the bag then.)
But I learned more; a prospector showed us a piece of white float quartz alive with native silver. Upon questioning the finder where he discovered the specimen, he pointed with his hand and said, "mebbe 9 or 10 miles due west of the Natural Bridge of lava."
We have often wondered about that story linked with the famous river landmark. How much to believe about it? We have never gone in search for the outcropping yet, for the main reason that there had always been places that had a more definite description of location to look for lost or hidden treasures. Far as I know the territory is quite likely mineralized.
Bert KissingerMedford Mail Tribune, April 13, 1955, page 4
September 5, 1914 Medford Mail Tribune
Crater Lake Special Trips.
Parties wishing to go to Crater Lake during the fine weather can make special arrangements with the Hall Taxi Company. Seven passengers, round trip, $10 each; six passengers, round trip, $11 each; five passengers, round trip, $12; four passengers, round trip, $13.50.
For particulars phone Seely Hall, manager Hall Taxi Company.
Medford Mail Tribune, September 28, 1914, page 2
MEDFORD-CRATER LAKE TRIPS BEGIN IN EARNEST
Governor's Party Opens Season with Visit June 24
and 10,000 Tourists Are Expected at Resort During Season.
MEDFORD, July 3.--(Special.)--The first trip to Crater Lake from Medford this season was made by Seely Hall on June 24, when the party got within two miles of the rim and walked on to the new lodge, which opens for the first time this year. The road from Medford to Arant's camp is in perfect condition, and the run can be made easily up the picturesque Rogue in five hours.
On July 1 the season formally opens, although Governor Withycombe and party virtually opened the season on Monday, June 28, when they stopped there overnight as the guests of Will G. Steel, superintendent of the park, and Manager Parkhurst, of Crater Lake Lodge.
All records for travel to Crater Lake already have been broken this season, and everything points to unprecedented travel during the Exposition year. Manager Court Hall, of the Medford auto stage line, has booked tourist parties for every week in July and August, and Superintendent Steel believes that 10,000 people will register at the lake before the season closes.
Heretofore visitors at the lake have slept in tents and have taken their meals in a temporary building, but this year the elaborate stone lodge will be open, the dining room and kitchen are now finished, and sleeping accommodations have been provided in the building formerly used as a dining room. The lake is alive with trout. Guides will be on hand to take parties to various points of interest.
Twenty-eight private automobiles had registered at Arant's camp, June 24, which is a new record for that date. With the road from Medford in better shape than it has ever been before at this time of the year, thousands of motoring parties are expected during the next two months.
Sunday Oregonian, Portland, July 4, 1915, page C10
FROM MEDFORD TO CRATER LAKE REGION
Not until the beginning of next month, if the records of previous years are duplicated, will the road from Medford, Oregon, to Crater Lake be in proper trim for motorists, yet Seely Hall, of the aforementioned town, set out to make this trip early last April. It appears the same spirit that urged Steve Brodie to jump off Brooklyn Bridge prompted Seely to make this attempt; he wanted to show that it could be done. He did not do it, however, but he had lots of fun trying, and incidentally demonstrated to his own complete satisfaction that Zerolene is the motor oil for the Chevrolet, which make of car Hall sells at Medford. Accompanying him on this dash into the wildwoods was S. S. Chadderton, a Standard Oil automobile engineer. In the interests of proper motor car lubrication Chadderton has seen some strenuous going during the past three years, and he states that this trip made much of his previous experience seem like the sheltered life sort. Here's his log of the adventure:
"We left Medford at 1:40 p.m., Sunday the 7th of April, arriving at Prospect, a small village in the mountains, 45 miles from Medford, at 4:45 p.m. The road between Medford and Prospect consists of some very steep grades with treacherous turns, and owing to the recent rains it was very soft, slippery and muddy. Several times the little car buried herself clear to the hubs in mud, but with chains on she managed to pull through it, never missing a shot, and only on one occasion did we drop down to second speed; this was owing to a deep ditch that had been formed across the road with the rush of water down from the mountain. We put up at Prospect for the night. Next morning we left Prospect equipped with shovels, axes and all necessary camp equipment. We struck our first snow about one mile from Union Creek, which I should judge is about 10 miles from Prospect. We plunged through this first drift, which was about 15 inches deep and about one-half mile long. We then continued for about three or four miles on the road, when we struck another drift of snow four feet deep and 400 yards long. There was no way to go around it, so we shoveled our way through, first bucking it with the car, then shoveling off the top snow, then bucking it some more. It took us two hours to get through this drift. Proceeding about another four miles, alternately shoveling and bucking the snow with the radiator, we came to five large trees lying across the road, the smallest being 3½ feet in diameter and about 100 to 250 feet apart. On the other side of these trees was a very large drift of snow, so we decided to leave the road entirely and make our way through the timber.
"You cannot imagine the test on the car here unless you happen to have been in a similar position yourself. We cut down trees, we climbed over fallen logs which were too big to cut, sunk ankle deep in the soft loamy soil, bucked through saplings and shrubbery till you would have thought that there would be no car left. On striking the road again, we were confronted by more snow, so that it was a constant repetition of bucking the snow, climbing over logs, or plunging through the jungle. We camped in the snow on Monday and Tuesday nights and on Wednesday morning about 10 o'clock we found ourselves on Whiskey Creek with snow all around us, in some places 14 feet deep. Seeing that it was utterly impossible to get a car any farther, and as it was continually snowing and the snow under foot very soft, we decided to return to Medford."
The trip was altogether a splendid test of the car and the automobile products used--Red Crown gasoline and Zerolene. Chadderton is most enthusiastic over the scenery of Southern Oregon, and Hall is just as enthusiastic over Red Crown and Zerolene. He says: "The little Chevrolet never missed an explosion from the time we left the agency until we returned. I am well satisfied with the way Zerolene works, and unhesitatingly recommend it for the cars I sell."
Standard Oil Bulletin, June 1916, page 4
'Pumice Hill Is First To Go'Ever since the Peelor brothers started farming their fruit ranch along the Rogue River in the early 1900s, summertime travelers had been stopping to buy a slice or two of cool watermelon before moving on.
Charlie and Tom Peelor lived about 100 yards off the Crater Lake wagon road that came from Medford. The ranch, which was just a little west of Flounce Rock not far from today's Peyton Bridge, is now mostly submerged under Lost Creek Lake.
To get to Crater Lake from the Peelor ranch, tourists had to climb a steep, three-mile, uphill grade, a daunting task for a horse team and a severe challenge for an automobile.
In 1907, Bill Hodson, owner of a Medford garage and one of the first automobile dealers in the area, wanted to set up a regularly scheduled auto-for-hire run to the lake.
"Right now is the time for Medford to get busy on this tourist traffic to Crater Lake," Hodson said. "This is the nearest point from which to leave the Southern Pacific main (railroad) line for the lake."
Hodson said there was only one obstacle to his plan--"and that is known as the Flounce Rock Grade."
A year later, Charlie True, driving a Reo automobile, carried Hodson to the rim of Crater Lake. It was the first automobile to successfully make the trip, but True and Hodson hadn't climbed the Flounce Rock Grade. Instead, they had taken the preferred automobile route of the day.
If you goFrom Medford, the "trip around the Horn," as it was called, meant three days of hard driving. They raced to Ashland, then east over the Greensprings to Klamath Falls. Because of tree stumps still littering the road, it took another full day to reach Fort Klamath and most of the next day to reach the lake.
In 1909, it seemed that Medford's dream of a good road to Crater Lake had finally come true. The U.S. government agreed to build a highway from the lake to the forest reserve line, and Oregon Gov. George Chamberlain had signed an appropriation of $100,000 to build a 50-mile state road from Medford to meet it. Jackson County businessmen had even pledged an additional $50,000 to the project.
In February 1910, the Oregon Supreme Court said the appropriation was unconstitutional, ruling that the road was a "special" or "local" road and "not one which would benefit the state at large."
George Putnam, editor of the Mail Tribune, was furious.
"God threw a pearl before swine when he placed Crater Lake in Oregon," he said.
The Medford Commercial Club, forerunner of the Chamber of Commerce, immediately formed a Crater Lake Highway Commission, tasked with raising enough money to construct the road themselves.
In April, it made its first decision. The Flounce Rock Grade, now known as "Pumice Hill," would be the "first to go."
Blasting and grading began in the fall, and in June 1911, the Pumice Hill portion of the Crater Lake Highway was finished. Widened from 8 feet to 23 feet, with a grade reduced from near 30 to 4 percent, it had cost $6,671.15.
One obstacle down and just a few more years to go.
Medford Mail Tribune, August 7, 2011
Last revised December 20, 2018