Nature Notes

Volume III No. 2 - August, 1930

A Glaciated Surface
By F. Lyle Wynd

The greatest geological characteristics of the Crater Lake Area are those of tremendous volcanic activity and extended glaciation.

Characteristic glacial valleys and an intricate system of moraines may be found throughout the region, but only very rarely have glacial striae and polish been seen. This is due to the fact that during the last eruption of the Mount Mazama a deep blanket of pumice and finely powdered material was explosively thrown out, covering what striae and rock-polish that may have been present.

According To Indian Legend
By Earl U. Homuth

La-o was the chief spirit who occupied the mystic land of Gaywas, or Crater Lake. Under his control were many lesser spirits, who appeared to be able to change their forms at will. Many of them were monsters of various kinds. Among them the giant crawfish (or dragon) who could, if he chose, reach up his mighty arms even to the tops of the cliffs and drag down to the cold depths of Crater Lake, any too venturesome tourists of the Primal days.

Skell's Head

The spirits of beings under the control of La-o assumed the form of many animals of the present day, when they chose to go abroad on the land, and this was no less true of the other fabulous inhabitants of Klamath land, who were dominated by other chief spirits, and who occupied separate localities.

Skell was a mighty spirit whose realm was the Klamath Marsh region, his capital being near the Yamsay River on the eastern side of the marsh. He had many subjects who took the form of birds and beasts when abroad in the land, as the antelope, the bald eagle, the golden eagle and others, among which were the most sagacious and active creatures on earth.

Now a fierce war occurred between Skell and La-o and their followers, which raged for a long time. Finally, Skell was stricken down in his own land of Yamsay and his heart was torn from his body and carried in triumph to La-o Yaina or La-o's mountain, the eastern escapement of which is the great rock rising above Crater Lake. A smooth field sloping to the north was a favorite playground for the fabled inhabitants of Gaywas and all the neighboring communities. Hither all the people were summoned for a great celebration of the fall of Skell. Even the followers of Skell were invited. In the course of the festival, the heart of Skell was tossed from hand to hand in a great game of ball.

The men of Skell knew that if the heart of Skell could be restored to his body he would live again, and with a secret understanding between them, they awaited their opportunity. Finally when it reached the hands of Antelope, he sped eastward swift as the wind. When nearly exhausted, he passed it to the Bald Eagle and he in turn to the Golden Eagle, and so on, and altho the men of La-o pursued with utmost speed, they failed to overtake the swift bearers of the precious heart. At last they heard the far away voice of the dove, another of Skell's people, and they then gave up the useless pursuit.

Llao Rock

Skell's heart was returned to his body, he lived again and the ware was resumed. La-o was himself overpowered and slain. His body was borne in triumph to the great rock, the cliff overlooking the lake near his own capital. A false message was conveyed to La-o's monsters in the lake that Skell had been killed again. The body was torn to pieces and hurled into the water. As each part of the body was thrown to the lake, the monsters of La-o devoured it. But when the head was thrown in, they recognized it as that of their own god La-o, and refused to touch it. So it remains today as an island known to all as Wizard Island.

Arranged from Crater Lake Legends in
Steel Points, Vol. 1, No. 3 with permission.

Two great cliffs facing each other across the Lake have been given the names Llao Rock, and Skell's Head by William G. Steel, "Father" of Crater Lake National Park.

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