Volume 8 No. 1 – July 1, 1935
All material courtesy of the National Park Service.These publications can also be found at http://npshistory.com/
Nature Notes is produced by the National Park Service. © 1935
A Prefatory Note
By The Editors
Sometimes Spring arrives late at the Rim and the surrounding peaks of Crater Lake, and then early visitors to the Park, having come up from the warm valleys of Klamath and the Rogue, delight in the coolness of snowbanks and inspect with eager curiosity the flowers pushing up through the volcanic soil at the dwindling edges of the snow. Naturally to them the question arises, “What is this place like in winter when blizzards sweep the ridges, or, the storms ended, the sun strikes down upon the white stillness of great snowfields”?
To that question the present issue of Nature Notes is, at least in part, an answer. After a glance back at winter, we move on to a consideration of some of the phenomena of Spring, and in notes on flower, and rock-slide, and waterfall attempt to bring to those who have seen the lake in early July quickened memories of sights once witnessed, and revival of thoughts, once pleasant to the mind.
Crater Lake in Winter
By L. Howard Crawford, Ranger-Naturalist
With an annual precipitation of seventy inches of water, practically all of which falls as snow, Crater Lake National Park is transformed each year into a truly magnificent winter wonderland. To describe the magic transition wrought by a sixteen foot blanket of snow over rugged volcanic peaks would halt the pen of a Ruskin. To paint the silent sea, more silent, more luminously blue, the frowning walls, serene now, ermine clad, crowned by upward-pointing silver spires, and in reflection far below reaching down toward the peaceful depths where once was fire and hell, would still the brush of a Michaelangelo.
Exiled in such a world of beauty were five men, the winter crew, stationed at Government Headquarters, living and working together through the long winter, recording snowfall and temperatures, maintaining telephone and power lines, painting, repairing, caretaking, photographing, and shoveling snow. Shoveling tons of snow, and during the long winter evenings, reading, narrating, developing photographs, listening anxiously and intently to the news and weather reports at the radio, or perhaps later in the evening to music and gaiety from some distant spot where all was light and laughter.
But it was not always so. Sometimes it was a tortuous hell, battling foot by foot, ski shod, through miles of newly fallen snow in black weather, when returning from the monthly leave, seeking a break in the phone or power-line, or patrolling the Headquarters area.
To the winter crew, all of whom had an appreciation for the beauty and wonders of our mountain fastness, the hardships which so often had to be met and endured, were mitigated and made bearable by nature in her gentle moods. Skiing, and occasionally snow-shoeing, were our only means of locomotion for many months, principally between December and June. A hardship on long trips made necessary by emergencies which always occur during the course of a severe mountain winter, the blanket of light, the snow, was a never falling source of recreational diversion and sport on Sundays and during that silvery grey twilight which ushers in the winter night.