Smith Brothers 1896

“Late in August, the Mazamas visited Crater Lake and I accompanied them. While in Ashland I received a telegram from the (forest) commission, asking me to return to Portland and accompany them to Crater Lake. I continued with the club until we got to the lake, then, at six o’clock Friday morning I left for Medford, 85 miles distant, walked and arrived in time to catch the North bound five o’clock train Saturday, arriving in Portland Sunday morning, where I conferred with the commission, then we returned to Ashland, where I fitted out and we went to Crater Lake over the Dead Indian road. We spent a night at the lake and returned to Medford by the Rogue River Road. (Steel, 1932)

August 21
The Mazama, an Oregon mountain climbing club, meet in solemn conclave at Crater Lake for the purpose of giving “the mountain that swallowed itself” a name. It had occurred to several members of the club that the destroyed mountain had no name. They proposed the name of their club, which has since been generally accepted. The name comes from a term applied to the Mountain Goat and antelope in Mexico about 300 years ago. The meeting of the executive Council was held in the crater of Wizard Island, at which time it was decided to set aside August 21 of each year as Mazama Day. On that date, 1896, Fay Fuller, the first historian of the society, and the first white woman to climb Mt. Rainier, christened the “Phantom Peak of Yester year” as Mount Mazama by breaking a bottle of crystal water from the bluest lake in the world against a rock on the rim. That night an awesome spectacle was enacted as the crater on Wizard Island was illuminated. Hundreds who watched from the distant Rim, near where Sinnott Overlook now stands, will carry that memory in their hearts forever.

August 22
The Lake’s first water gauge is installed by the Mazamas. A copper pocket is fastened to the upper part of the gauge which contained a record book in which visitors were asked to note the height of the water. The gauge was broken off during the following winter.

August 27
From the Journals of John Muir: Met Sargent and Abbott at Ashland, and we immediately set out for Crater Lake, we three and the driver. The grades were steep and our horse feeble-one spotted roan with the colic and nervous debility, and the other grass-soft and balky-and the spring wagon shackly but tough. Abbott wanted to turn back…but the team driver said it would soon be all right. Ash on the stream side, also alder and oak, the Kellogg and the white oak, with maple, grapevines, clematis, and glossy dark-green smilax climbing thirty feet up the alders. It was soon dark, and we saw the Douglas and yellow pines and the Murray pine in the starlight. Our astonished horses and river ran point-blank against a clean=shafted Pinus ponderosa…When we arrived at Hunt’s we found them gone to bed, but we drove into a cow corral and I built a fire. The wife arose and good-naturedly gave us an eleven o’clock supper. “I’m going to double you fellows up,” said she. Tough!

August 29
From the journals of John Muir: Camped six miles north of Klamath on a pumice plain. Firewood was scarce; Sergent and I made a fire between two young contorta pines. Chat and Jersey mosquitoes.

August 30
John Muir arrives at Crater Lake with the National Forestry Commission, including Gifford Pinchot. Charles Sargent, Director of the Arnold Arboretum; William Brewer of Yale; Arnold Hague of the U.S. Geological Survey; General Henry Abbott of the U.S. Engineer Corps; Alexander Agassiz, marine biologist, member of the U.S. Coast Survey; Gifford Pinchot, practical forester, and Silas Diller. The sky was clouded, but the commission started for Wizard Island anyway.

From John Muir’s journal: The lake walls of thirty to ninety degrees slope descended to the shore, where the slope averages thirty-five degrees…Crater Island is a fine symmetrical volcano and comparatively recent. The sky in the evening was clouded, but we started for the island. Halfway over it began to thunder and whitecaps broke into our overloaded boat. We turned back to the shore at the nearest wooded point, and built a fire to dry our drenched clothing. Pinchot and I went a hundred feet up a ridge and made a fire on a flat rock. Arnold Hague and the boatman and Sargent stayed down on the shore. After the rain, it was too late for the island, so we rowed back to the foot of the trail and climbed up to camp; rather tired but none the worse-rather better for the exercise…Heavy rain during the night. All slept in the tent except for Pinchot.

August 31
John Muir and party leave on a wet and drizzly morning, headed for Grants Pass. Muir writes in his journal: A wet morning, drizzly, large drops from the hemlocks overhead. Mr. Diller put his head in the tent and talked until we got up. Then we went out to the lake. It was still full of mist, the trees gradually vanishing in gloom, producing a weird effect. We had glimpses of the farther shore, the rim laden with glacial detritus. Started off in the cold drizzle…Found fire desolation nearly everywhere…

J.S. Diller reports finding a broken off tree floating upright in 37 feet of water near Wizard Island. The trunk was broken off just above the water level and the roots at the base could be seen through the clear water on the bottom as if the tree grew where it was standing.

Hillman Peak, first named Maxwell Peak, for an early explorer, renamed Glacier Peak and then finally to Hillman Peak by William Steel.

Jesse Sarvish Barton, age 15, carves his name and the date onto a Mountain Hemlock, located near the present Visitor Center in Rim Village. The kid got into trouble because he used a surveying tool to do the carving and he broke the tool. Barton was in the Park because his dentist father was working on a surveying crew. (Reported by Ranger Wanda Naylor, 1980)

While the Mazamas were camped at Crater Lake, over 200 Klamath Indians were also in camp on the Rim, “since which time they visit the lake without fear.” Meals are provided at the lower campground at Government Camp, for $1.00 per day, two miles below the Lake Rim.

The U.S. Forest Service founded by an act of Congress Rep. Tongue introduces into the House, a Crater Lake National Park bill. Much vandalism is discovered around Crater Lake.

September 25
W.W. Nickerson of Klamath Falls, as requested by Steel and Diller, installs a copper bolt 50 feet to the west of the Mazama water gauge at an elevation of 5.75 feet above the level of the water.

Late 1890’s
Josephine Schrinscher, teenager, spends night on Wizard Island. Claims to be first white lady to do so. (???)

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