Nature Notes

Volume XXI - 1955

Chipmunk Sequel
By Edward A. Burnham, Ranger Naturalist

In the last issue of this publication, I described the events which followed the "chipnapping" of a baby Allen's chipmunk by a "villainous" Clark nutcracker at the eastern end of the Rim Campground (Burnham, Edward A. 1954. The nutcracker and the baby chipmunk. Nature Notes from Crater Lake 20:14-15). This chipmunk was picked up by the big bird, which tried to fly away with him and then dropped him. Mrs. William Loftis, wife of the Park Engineer, took over the upbringing of our little "orphan."

The young chipmunk was released last fall by Mr. and Mrs. Loftis in an attempt to adjust him to his natural environment. According to Mrs. Loftis, they did not band or mark him in any way; however, they now have one Allen's chipmunk which sits on the window sill of their home and seems less nervous and excited than most Allen's chipmunks. He will even approach within a few feet of them for food. They are not certain that this is the same chipmunk, but since he is much tamer than the other chipmunks, they think he is perhaps the matured baby of last year.

A Wildflower Garden
By Edward A. Burnham, Ranger Naturalist

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the bird for mirth;
One is nearer God's heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.

-- Frances Louise Gurney

There are many hidden gardens in the 250 square miles which comprise Crater Lake National Park. Most of these are for the more adventurous souls who enjoy out-of-the-way places.

But there is one wildflower garden, close to the road, which even the elderly or those to whom walking is a chore may visit with a minimum of effort.

Castle Crest Wildflower Garden
Eastern side of Castle Crest Wildflower Garden, looking southward.
From Kodachrome by C. Warren Fairbanks

Castle Crest Wildflower Garden may be found beside the Rim Drive, one-quarter mile eastward beyond the service station near Government Headquarters. At this point a large sign indicates the way to the wildflower garden, the path beginning near the parking area across the road.

A cold stream flows through the shady glen beneath the hemlocks and firs. The half-mile trail passes over a rustic bridge and through a nursery of young Shasta fir trees. Beyond, one may start the loop walk by either of two branching paths. One of the fascinating aspects of this wild garden is its inclusion of wet, mushy parts and dry, dusty sections. Each area has its characteristic variety of plant life, and one may give way to the other within a very few feet. Springs flow from many places on the slope to one side of the garden, forming wet areas where profuse growths of plants are found.

It has been my privilege, during the seasons of 1954 and 1955, to place identifying signs for many of the flowers and plants, not only in Castle Crest Wildflower Garden, but also along the trails to Garfield Peak, to Discovery Point, and to the lake. Often my wife and eight-year-old daughter come along as helpers. Here at Castle Crest, late in the afternoon, we have watched yellow-bellied marmots feeding peacefully among the rocks. Here, too, flit many tiny hummingbirds, sipping nectar from the wild flowers.

We have found peace in the quiet of early evening at Castle Crest Wildflower Garden. Perhaps you, too, may find here a sanctuary!

Interrupted Feast
By John Mees, Ranger Naturalist

During the month of August, Castle Crest Wildflower Garden has an abundant growth of many varieties of wildflowers. In addition, it is often frequented by many of the animals that make their homes in the park.

I was enjoying the half mile stroll through the gardens on August 2, 1955, when I came upon a chickaree, Tamiasciurus douglasi (Bachman), eating a fungus-like growth at the base of a lodgepole pine, While I was watching this squirrel for several minutes he appeared to pay very little attention to me and kept eating busily away. When I moved closer to see what he was eating, the chickaree scampered up the tree carrying his lunch with him. Apparently the item was greatly relished. When the squirrel reached a higher branch, he resumed his eating.

Being curious about the nature of his meal, I tossed a few pieces of pumice near him, and the chickaree dropped his fungus near the base of the tree. It was later identified tentatively as false truffle, Rhizopogon rubescen, by Wm. Bridge Cooke, Mycologist, U. S. Public Health Service, Cincinnati, Ohio, to whom appreciation is expressed for making the determination.

Chickarees often carry mushrooms up trees and store them under loose bark or in the fork of a limb, intending to return later and eat them (Cahalane, 1947; Palmer, 1954). Apparently this fellow wanted to take no chances on having his delicacy stolen from him and was going to finish if off immediately. Save for an interruption by a curious naturalist, perhaps he would have completed his feast.


Cahalane, Victor H. 1947. Mammals of North America. New York, The Macmillan Co. x, 682 pp.

Palmer, Ralph S. 1954. The Mammal Guide. Garden City, New York Doubleday & Co., inc. 384 pp.

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