Nature Notes


Mr. E. C. Solinsky
Mr. D. S. Libbey
Park Naturalist
September, 1932 Vol. V, No. 3

This publication is issued for the purpose of recording observations and making known the results of research and scientific investigation concerning the natural history of Crater Lake National Park. It is under the jurisdiction of the Research and Education Staff and is supplemental to the lectures and field excursions conducted by the staff. Publications using these notes please give credit to the author and to Crater Lake National Park Nature Notes.

The Community House
By D. S. Libbey

The cover design shows the Community House at Crater Lake National Park. Many of you will recall the programs of song, music, informative talks and moving pictures. Our hosts, Rangers Ray Henderson and George F. Barron, are to be congratulated upon the very commendable character of the programs. This season the Community House programs began July 12. The excessive snow in the campgrounds prevented overnight campers until approximately that date and the last program of the current season was held on the night of September 16.

ranger-led walk

The purpose of the nightly programs is to enable each visitor to learn of the many features of the park. Below appears a copy of a letter written by a visitor of the past season concerning his stay at Crater Lake.

"My wife and I, with our boys, have visited thirteen of your national parks, several national monuments, and many state parks, -- always with the idea of delving into their concealed recesses as well as obvious points of interest, to enjoy them to the utmost.

"So we strolled with Ranger Naturalist Constance up Garfield Peak and learned the names of your plants and flowers, and got a bird's eye view of the terrain we planned to explore.

"We went several times to Sinnott Memorial to hear the story of the building up of the mountain, its destruction and the creation of beautiful Crater Lake from Mr. Count and Mr. Clark, -- always fascinating and never in the same language, but always consistent, without poll-parrot repetition.

"We visited the Pinnacles on Wheeler Creek, recalling Bryce Canyon, yet distinctive. Saw the declining rays on the Sun Notch when Kerr was in shadow.

sunset behind the Rim

around the campfire

"That same day we travelled around the Rim Road to the north side of the lake and then around to Red Cone -- deer tracks across the snow in its crater. Rim Road was not yet cleared of snow, so returned clockwise, with gorgeous sunset views from Wineglass and Cloud Cap. Met up with a porcupine on Vidae Ridge in the dunkelheit, side-swiped him with a sweater and collected some souvenir quills. But that evening we got to Rim Camp at 8:30, -- the hot showers were so rejuvenating, but missed the Community House gathering for the Sagebrushers. Otherwise we had the pleasure of Ranger Henderson's programs for six evenings. He is doing a splendid piece of work.

"It took us two hours to scramble up to the top of Mt. Scott and after asking endless questions of Lookout Doc Grimm for an hour concerning the Klamath County and the Pumice Desert, came down the pumice slide in four minutes.

taking a hike
toboganning down slope

"We climbed the trail to the Watchman Viewpoint and looked down on Wizard Island, oriented our topographic map on Mt. Hillman. Ranger Henderson said the color of the lake could not be fully appreciated from the Rim, although we did get up at 4:30 A.M., to see the sunrise effects -- so we rowed all around Wizard Island, climbed up to its top on the spiral trail and "nature toboganned" down into the pit of the crater on the snow banks. The journey back was dusty and warm so we stript to "Shorts" and dove off the dock on the Wizard Island shore. We keenly felt that 39 degrees was the correct temperature of Crater Lake. By that time we had been above it, around it, on it, and under it!

swimming in the cold lake

"On the way, leaving the park, we crawled through the ice caves of Llao's Hallway, and got samples of rocks that float. Swam in the Rogue River at Natural Bridge.

"A deep impression will last of the splendid manner in which members of the Naturalist Staff aroused such understanding interest in the minds of the group at the Community House gatherings. Without scorn for our lack of knowledge concerning intricate scientific problems and without speaking in a condescending manner the lectures were delivered.

"Such is the way myself and family came to know and appreciate Crater Lake. We enjoyed our stay on the Rim; we must come back in the future to love it all again."

Yours sincerely,
(Sgd.) A 1932 VISITOR

By Park Naturalist D. S. Libbey


The rediscovery of a cavern in the area of Crater Lake National Park is of considerable interest. It is located along the north exposure of the cliff midway between Mt. Scott and the lake, about three-fourths of a mile away from the Rim. The grotto is not one formed by the flowing of lava through a passage way, a lava tunnel, but is a cavity caused by the solution activity of ground water.

The cavern is about 200 feet long and extends backward into the cliff of andesite rock. The mouth is about 50 feet wide and from 7 to 8 feet high. The walls are covered in many places by stalactitic deposits. Curiously these cave deposits are not calcareous but are siliceous. It appears that the weathering action has caused the plagioclase feldspar to be decomposed and the resulting solution activity has caused the silica to be taken into solution and then to be deposited when exposed to the air. Many surfaces are covered with siliceous dripstone formations.

This cave was discovered during the current season by a group of workmen engaged in the Pine Beetle Control work. There is a story attached to this cave.

The story says that an Indian named Pedro years ago visited Linkville, now called Klamath Falls, and told of a very rich gold deposit he had discovered. Two Indians in the vicinity of Linkville followed Pedro back to the region and there found that in place of having discovered a gold deposit that Pedro had found two prospectors carrying very valuable sacks of gold. He murdered the prospectors and cached the stolen plunder in the cave. So goes the story, the authenticity of this seems to be varified by the fact that our park workmen found the cave in exactly the location described by an old Indian this current summer.

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