Tragedy on the Lake Trail
It was Friday afternoon, July 27, 1956. I was all alone placing plant and flower identification markers on the as yet unopened trail to Crater Lake.
At about 3:15 two park employees came down the trail checking on the telephone line, getting it ready for any emergency or routine needs.
At 3:30 one of the workers, Gene Cott, breathing heavily from rushing up trail, came up to me at a switchback below the telephone box at the halfway point on the lake trail.
In his cupped hands lay a tiny, baby, golden-mantled ground squirrel he had found lying on the trail where he had been hit by a falling rock. On his left flank was a mark made by the blow.
The little fellow was trembling. I placed him in a cardboard box in which I had been carrying signs and placed him on a ledge above the trail while I finished my labeling work to the lake.
At park headquarters I picked up a medicine dropper and a live trap from the naturalist laboratory to use as a cage.
“Adult golden-mantled ground squirel. N.P.S. photo.”
At our cabin we warmed milk and fed him one and a half droppers full of milk. We put a sleeve of flannel pajamas into the can part of the live trap and laid him gently in. The warmth from the milk and my cupped hands seemed to help stop his trembling.
Next morning he was again shivering. He took only a little warm milk and made a squeaking sound when fed. That afternoon the little fellow was still not hungry and had one eye open end one eye shut. We placed some cotton batting in his cage and he went about making a nest in which he curled up.
When we again took him out to feed at about 6:00 P.M. he was asleep and kept his eyes closed when we attempted to feed him.
On Sunday, the following day at 10:00 A.M., the baby ate three half-medicine droppers full of warm milk with a bit of sugar added. He became more active, took a sun bath and walked around in the cage. At 2:00 P.M. he took two whole medicine droppers full of warm milk with a little added sugar. Both eyes were open; he lay in the sun and was quite active.
On Monday, July 30th, we found him gone from this world into the beyond of the “Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrel.” He was too tiny and the rock was too big.
A Jog in the Bog
There is little doubt that Crater Lake National Park is one of the most beautiful, and geologically speaking one of the most interesting of our 29 National Parks. The visitor, too, has more than ample opportunity to become acquainted with some of the wildlife of the park. Displayed at the Information Building are many of the wildflowers commonly seen in the park. In addition, the flowers along the trails are identified by signs.
There are, however, areas in the park which are accessible only by way of fire control roads. These areas are rich in flowers which are not found elsewhere in the park, and therefore are not seen by the visitor. I would like to tell you about such an area, and some of the things that can be seen.
Our field trip was planned when there was still a considerable amount of snow on the ground, and all of us were eagerly looking forward to the day when the roads would be open. Finally in late July, Dick Brown, our Assistant Park Naturalist, announced that the road was clear and that we would go to Crater Spring Bogs the following day.
We met early the next morning all loaded down with cameras, lunches, maps, boots, mosquito lotion, lunches, hand lenses, picks, fishing rods, and lunches. An hour’s drive over a dusty, bumpy road brought us to our area. After walking through a dry forested area for several hundred feet we were suddenly in ankle deep water. Stretched before us in large yellow patches was the mountain bladderwort, Utricularia intermedia Hayne. We soon forgot about wet feet in the excitement of finding this insectivorous plant in flower. At the time we didn’t know it but we were in for many pleasant surprises. We sloshed along a few more feet, when Felicia, my wife, exclaimed over the great abundance of sundews, Drosera anglica Huds. and Drosera rotundifolia L. The sundews are also insect “eating” plants, differing from the bladderworts in that the many green leaves of the sundew have many red sticky hairs which trap the insects. A little more searching soon revealed the small, delicate, white flower of the sundew. I was quite pleased and for myself the day would have been complete. However, there was still more in store for us. We splashed along for awhile working our way through some heavy willow growth and suddenly came before a deep pool. A close look revealed quite a bit of wildlife present. The most abundant form was the tadpole stage of the cascade frog, Rana cascadae Slater. Two forms of aquatic insects were noted, (1) the back swimmer, Notonecta sp. and (2) one of the water striders, family Gerridae. Lying on the bottom of the pool was a long dark form, a salamander of some sort. Nothing would do, but that we should have a closer look, so Naturalist Brown went into the pool, where he succeeded in stirring up the water but no salamanders. After Dick became thoroughly wet and chilled, we found our game in ankle deep water a few feet from the edge of the pool. Close examination showed our catch to be the northwest salamander,Ambystoma gracile Baird.
As we sloshed along a species of plant known as Montia chamissoi (Ledeb.) Greene was found. This find was of particular interest for it had not been found in this area previously.
As we approached the wooded section of the bog we found lungwort, Mertensia paniculata sulcordata (Greene) Macbride growing in great profusion. The lungwort is a beautiful plant, growing several feet tall, with large oval leaves, and clusters of pale blue trumpet shaped flowers. This was truly an impressive sight.
The bog areas frequently present hazards to the uninitiated. Dick warned us about the deep holes that were omnipresent. We no sooner had the words uttered, when lo and behold I found myself in cold, muddy water up to the waist. The day was warm, however, and I was soon dry.
The climax to our field trip came late in the afternoon when we drove into the Boundary Springs region. These springs are the beginning of the Rogue River, which is noted for its fine salmon fishing. As we walked around the area we were awe struck by the beauty of the many springs bubbling out from the rocks to cascade over the moss with the pleasant sound of rushing water. Just then a water ouzel landed on a rock across the stream. This gray bird with tilted up tail sat there long enough for us to get well acquainted. As we watched, the ouzel went through his curious dipping actions as though he were doing deep knee bends. Suddenly he jumped into the fast moving stream and disappeared from sight, thus ending a perfect day.