Nature Notes

Volume XXI - 1955

Sounds In The Wilderness
By Orville Page, Ranger Naturalist

As one walks through Munson Valley, with keen ears listening to the sounds of the wilderness, he may hear creaks and groans as if some giant were struggling under a great burden. This particular sound came within my hearing one day while I was out enjoying nature's vast storehouse of treasures. By following the sound, a Shasta red fir was discovered as the cause of the muffled complaint. At about forty feet above the ground the trunk forked, forming a crotch, and the two trunks ran up another thirty or forty feet. Lying in the crotch was an old dead tree with its broken-off base resting on the ground. As the light winds worked their way through the valley, they swayed the trees gently, causing the dead tree to rub over the bark of the fir and send out the remorseful sound. Indeed, a forest giant was complaining of its unwelcome load.

sketch of mouse in a bottle

The Plight Of An Unsuspecting Mouse
By Beatrice E. Willard, Ranger Naturalist, 1953
Sketch by Ardis Hamilton, Telephone Operator, 1953

On day in late June, when I was near the South Entrance to Crater Lake National Park, I chanced to spy a beer bottle near the road. As I picked it up to dispose of it, something in the neck drew my attention. Closer inspection revealed the skull and forepaws of a white-footed mouse, and through the brown glass the hindquarters of this unfortunate rodent were dimly visible.

We can only suppose that this unsuspecting creature entered the discarded beer bottle, flung to the side of the road by an unthinking person, and became inextricably lodged in the neck while attempting to leave. Whether or not he imbibed the remaining contents is questionable, but the smell may have done its share in luring him to his doom.

The moral of this story is clear -- someone not only contributed to the marring of the natural beauty of the roadside, but also lured one of the native animals into a fatal venture.

"Let no one say, and say it to your shame,
That all was beauty here until you came."

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