Nature Notes


Mr. E.C. Solinsky
Mr. Earl U. Homuth
Acting Park Naturalist
August 1, 1929. Vol. II, No. 2

This is one of a series of bulletins issued monthly during the summer season, by the staff of the Educational Division to give information on subjects of interest concerning the Natural History of Crater Lake. It is supplemental to the lectures and field trips conducted by the staff.

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For copies which are free, address the Superintendent or Acting Park Naturalist.

Castle Crest Garden
By Earl U. Homuth

That the variety and profusion of wild flowers in Crater Lake National Park compares favorably with those of other Parks, is not generally evident to the casual visitor. The limited flora found on the immediate Rim where most visitors camp may have given this impression. But the moist meadows and swamps, where the streams are block by moraines, and the slopes where countless springs flow from the rocks provide conditions in which typical mountain wild flower gardens are found.

A natural wild flower garden of this type lies at the base of Castle Crest, less than two miles from the Rim and a few hundred yards from Headquarters, hidden from the road by a series of moraines. A path has been constructed to this garden. It passes through a variety of habitats, including talus slopes, dry pumice slopes, moist cliffs, forest and swamps. The elevation of 6600 feet places it on the border between the Canadian and Hudsonian Zones, so that the forest trees seen on the Rim above, and those of the lower slopes of Mount Mazama are represented.

Among the wild flowers over two hundred species have been listed, including four species of mimulus, or Monkey flowers, of which the Pink Monkey flower (Mimulus lewisii) grows in great masses of color. The Monk's hood (Aconitum columbianum), Senecio (Senecio triangularis), and Fleabane (Erigeron salsuginosus) occur in particular abundance in the moist areas, while the moraines are covered with great patches of Scarlet Gilia (Gilia aggregata) and a veritable hedge of lupines, sedges and numerous others form a boundary between the moist and dry habitats. Countless mosses occur on knolls built up on the meadow. The forest floor is covered with creeping currants and raspberries. Near the entrance to the garden is the largest area of Western Anemone (Pulsatilla occidentalis) to be found in the vicinity. Two species of orchids (Limnorchis stricta and L. dilitata) are also to be found.

Species not occurring now will be transplanted and it is hoped that Castle Crest Garden which has been named for the towering cliff which rises two thousand feet above, may in time become recognized as a distinct feature of Crater Lake National Park.


Fantastic Carvings By Erosive Agents
By Dale Leslie, Ranger Naturalist

The various agents of erosion have carved many fantastic images on the massive igneous outcrops found on the rim of Crater Lake.

weathered boulder

As one views the profile of Garfield Cliffs from the west, he sees a huge boulder jutting from the wall about half way to the summit of the escarpment. This mass of rock from this position assumes the shape of a bear partly emerged from its den. So vividly is this portrayed, one imagines the head and shoulders are undergoing physical strain endeavoring to drag the rest of the body from the den.

How long this masterpiece of nature may be seen is not known as the walls of the cliff are rapidly wearing away as evidence in the small daily rock slides which occur in that area.

However, if the image of the bear is gradually being effaced, it may be possible for another still more fantastic shape to be formed at some point further down from the debris which falls from above.

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