Marooned – 04

Marooned in Crater Lake by Alfred Powers

 Weather and chance could do with him as they pleased. He could not help himself. He could not attract the help of others. He was marooner in Crater Lake!

All around, in a grim circle, rose the almost perpendicular walls, from eight hundred to two thousand feet high. In front of him extended the silent and now forsaken waters of the lake, two thousand feet deep. It was impossible to scale the one. It was equally impossible to swim the other.

As he paced up and down on the narrow strip of beach, with darkness closing in around him, Jim had opportunity to review the events that had made him a captive in that majestic prison.

With his uncle and aunt and the Smiths, he had reached Crater Lake on the last day of the season. The Lodge was already closed to guests, and a single caretaker of the property had been left to prepare everything against the approach of winter. Late in the season as it was, a half-dozen automobile parties had come up to look at the lake, for the bad weather, though expected at any time, had not yet set in. The man in charge offered to give this late-season group boat service on the lake until four o’clock in the afternoon. But he explained that this was the last time he would go down the trail and that, before returning to the Lodge, he would haul out the boats for winter.

But it was not this circumstance alone that had brought about Jim’s plight.

On the long motor trip, he had been in the habit of riding sometimes in his uncle’s car and sometimes in that of the Smiths. After the trip to Crater Lake the two cars expected to separate. His aunt and uncle intended to go back to Portland by way of Medford and the Pacific Highway, while the Smiths meant to tour the country a week longer, returning to Portland by way of Klamath Falls and Eastern Oregon. Jim was free to go with either, but had not yet made up his mind.

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