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Our Trip to Crater Lake, By Jack Wharton, 1912

3:41 AM · Nov 11, 2022

In 1912, Gilbert Finlay and Jack Wharton made a trip from Roseburg to Crater Lake on horseback over the course of a few weeks. Gilbert Finlay's written letter recounting their adventure can be found here: This is Jack Wharton's version of their exciting trip. (Story digitized by Hannah Finlay, Gilberts's great great grandaughter) June 23rd, 1912 "Crater Lake or bust" we said, and from what some of our friends told us it looked very much in favor of bust. Gib Finlay and I had talked Crater Lake for about two weeks before we made this decision. It was then the middle of June, and we planned to start on the twenty-third and take the trail up the North Umpqua River. There are several ways to go, but this seemed to be the wildest and most picturesque. After the first twenty-five miles there is nothing but a narrow trail through a rough country where no one lives except in the summertime, when the forest rangers go in there to patrol the government reserve to keep down fires. When it was learned that we were going to take the trip so early in the season, some of our friends began giving us some well meant advice: "Why I Just read in the paper the other day that the snow was seventy-two feet deep around Crater Lake now", "I heard that the horseflys and mosquitoes were so thick over there this time of the year that they'd eat you and the horses alive", "Why you can't get through now. The rangers haven't been in there yet and there'll be all kinds of logs and trees across the trail", "Two fellows started there a few days ago, went up the trail about forty miles, got into a snow storm and had to come back", and "Gee the storms you'll get into over there!” If we had believed all they told us we would have gone right home and crawled under the bed. But we didn't think that we were afraid of snow, mosquitoes, horseflys, logs in the trail, etc., so got busy and made out a list of what we wanted to take with us and began getting it together. We had to be real careful in selecting our provisions, as the limit for our one pack horse was one hundred and fifty pounds, this included tent, bedding, cooking utensils, and everything in the way of eatables, besides twenty-five pounds of oats for horse feed when we got into the snow country. We tried to take nothing but what was absolutely necessary, and after close figuring our pack, when ready, weighed one hundred and forty pounds. -2- Sunday morning, the time set for starting, we were up at half past four and ready to start at seven. The place where we were to get our horses was twenty miles from home, so we went that far in a rig. The roads were rough and muddy, and it took us until almost noon to get there. All the way it threatened rain and sprinkled once, but our spirits were up to the top notch, and nothing short of a cloudburst or a blizzard could lower them then. It seemed good to get started. We ate our lunch at the function of the North and East branches of the Umpqua, then went to the farm house to get our horses. They were all ready, even the pack saddle was on the pack horse. This seemed quite thoughtful of them, but we found the reason later. It was a young pony, just broke to pack a week before, and they thought we might be afraid to take it if we saw how it acted when saddling. The other two were fine old steeds, both probably twenty-five years old, but in good condition. They had been in the mountains all the summer before and were accustomed to it. We led them over to our things and started to pack up. Not knowing very much about it ourselves we had the fellow help us with our first pack to see how he did the stunt, also to see how he handled the little cayuse. He was very careful with her, and besides shying a few times, she gave no trouble. All packed up and just before bidding good-bye to civilization, we asked what the horses names were. "Bally, Bunch, and Rosey", said the fellow, "but you'll be calling them all by the same name before you get back. That'll be S-*-!-?-**+?***!" We remembered it later and if the truth was known, we came very near using it several times. We were off. With our faces turned eastward, we soon crossed the river on a ferry and proceeded up the left bank. Then the real scenery began. The river passes through a long narrow cut between the rocks, and is very pretty as it rushes foaming along. A mile farther on we came to Rock Creek. It is a noisy little -3- stream that rushes down between two mountains. Its bed is lined with large boulders and is quite picturesque. Many people go there every summer to spend their outing and fish and hunt. Near its mouth the river falls in several places making some more very pretty scenes. From here the trail ran along the side of a mountain with the river almost straight down on one side and the steep hill side on the other. The river scenes were great. There is so much fall to the North Umpqua here that it would be difficult to find a still place. Some times it rushes between bluffs several hundred feet high, and other places large rocks protrude here and there in the channel. It makes one wonder why it is in such a hurry as it goes splashing and foaming down between the mountains. It seems that it never rests. About five miles from Rock Creek we came to the end of the road, if it may be called by that name. At times of the year it is possible to take light wagons over it. It ends at a small stream called Honey Creek. Here we saw the last house on the way where any one actually lives. Of course there are a few cabins farther on where the forest rangers stay during summer months, but no real homes. One mile farther we made our camp for the night. We stopped near an old cabin with a fenced pasture where we could put the horses. Before turning them loose, we went on a tour of inspection around the fence. We did not want them to go home and leave us stranded the first night out, as we were told they might do if they got a chance. After fixing several places and making sure that every thing was all right, we turned them out and began to make camp. It was lucky we did, for we hadn't any more than got our things unpacked and the tent up, when a thunder storm broke loose. Our first warning was a bright flash and a crack of thunder almost at the same instant. It was quite close, but we knew there was no danger as there were too many high mountains for it to strike on. It would never hurt us down in the valley. -4- Our tent was too small to cook in, so we took what we needed for supper and went up to the old cabin. Here we found fine shelter, as the roof extended out several feet bungalow style, and we made our fire under that. We cooked our first meal and certainly did justice to it. That was not the kind of a night to sit up around the camp fire, so we went to bed early. It seemed much better to get under the bed clothes and hear the thunder crash and the rain patter down on the tent, and say "Go to it, we don't care." We would much sooner have it at night than when we were riding in the day time. Although quite tired, we slept very little that first night. I guess it was the change from soft bed to hard ground. In the morning it was great. The rain was over, and everything was as fresh as could be. It made us feel fine to get out and take deep breaths of the pure air, as the evening before had been quite sultry. We got breakfast, packed our things as quickly as possible, then caught the horses. After saddling Bunch and Bally, we started to put on our first pack. Start was all we did for some time too. Rosey didn't like the looks of the saddle blanket and wouldn't let us get any where near her with it. After trying for some time, we thought of a plan. While Gib held her rope, I rolled up the blanket, put it under my arm, and going up to her head, patted her neck with it a while, gradually getting back farther until I was able to slip the roll onto her back. At first she didn't like it and tried to get it off, but soon quieted down and let me unfold it. Then she was conquered. The pack saddle went on much easier, and we were not long in getting packed up. At eight thirty we were ready to start. That sounds late, but when you consider all the things there are to do, it is pretty good. First we built a fire and cooked breakfast. After eating, we washed the dishes, then packed up our provisions. Next we had to take down the tent and do up the bed clothes. Then catch the horses and pack up. It all takes at least two hours when one is not accustomed to it. We were very careful that morn- -5- ing, and if I do say it myself, that pack looked better and stayed on better than the one the fellow put on for us the day before. Our trail was pretty treacherous in places, being cut along the steep mountain side, where a misstep almost any where would land us in the river a couple of hundred feet below. One place a large rock about one hundred and fifty feet high hung out over the trail. It looked like it could drop off at any minute. Farther on, the trail, as it ran around a bluff, was blasted out of the solid rock. We stopped there and took the wadding out of the horse bells, as it would be impossible to pass any one there if they should be coming from the other way. To meet there would mean that either one would have to back their horses a hundred feet or so to let the other pass. About ten o'clock we met a fellow who had been up the trail after horses which he had pastured back in the hills. We asked him about the trail, and he said it was alright, except that seven miles up there was a big log laying across it where we would have to climb a place that was almost a cliff. Later, when we got there, it did look pretty bad. A tree about four feet through had fallen across the trail and it looked almost impossible to get by. We saw horse tracks up the steep mountain side where the other fellow had gone a round. That was an awful climb, so we tried to find a better way. Going down a short distance below the trail, we found a place where the tree had fallen across another log and broken in two, leaving a lot of splinters. By chopping these out, we thought we could get our horses to step up onto the smaller log and pass through. It wasn't much work, and in about twenty minutes we were on the other side. On account of our late start and being delayed at this place, we didn't get to our dinner stopping place until about two o'clock. It was at a creek called Steamboat. Here we crossed our first mountain suspension bridge. They are built by the forest rangers over streams that cannot be forded and are too wide for a common log bridge. It seems wonderful how they pack -6- those strands of cable into that country. They are over two hundred feet long, about one inch and a half thick, and probably weigh close to a thousand pounds. It must take several horses in a line to carry one cable. It was lucky for us that our horses were used to crossing these bridges, as they swing a little, and a horse that had never crossed one might cause a lot of trouble. As it was, it took a lot of kicking and coaxing to get the first horse onto it. We stopped there about an hour for dinner, then packed up and started again. We were still going up along the bank of the river, and there were many pretty rapids and falls. About five o'clock we saw our first rattlesnake. I lay coiled up just above the trail and Gib's knee passed within two feet of it before it rattled. He yelled back to me, and I got out my gun and took a shot. My horse didn't like the sound of the rattler any better than I, so would not stand still for me to get a good aim. I wanted to kill it, as it was the first one I had ever seen in the mountains, but guess I missed as it crawled on up the hill. Just before dark we came to an open place where there was an old cabin. This was Bill Bradley's home stead. Old Bill had lived there by himself for a long time. In the winter months he probably never saw a soul, as he was cut off from the outside world. About five years ago his horse fell on him and broke his leg. He died before any one knew of the accident. We stopped near the old cabin and began to unpack. Finding a pile of old rails, we decided to make our camp near them, so as to have wood handy. Just before making a fire, we noticed that they were built in a little square over a pile of dirt. Then it struck us, that was Bill Bradley's grave. Well we didn't burn any of those rails, and we found a much nicer spot to put up our tent. It was about a hundred yards down the other side of the cabin. Of course neither of us were a bit afraid of ghosts, sure not, but we didn't want to sleep right on top of a man's grave. He might not like it. -7- During that night we had another thunderstorm, but by morning it was clear again. We were up early and ready to start at seven. After riding a short distance we came to an old log fence. Both of us got off to take down some bars so the horses could get through. While we were fixing it up they must have decided that they didn't need our company any longer, for they started right up the trail. When we ran to catch up, they ran also. It made us think of that peculiar name the fellow told us we would be calling them. If we had had wind enough left after running up hill a hundred yards or so, we might have used it. But it was too long a name for such short breaths. However, we headed them off before long and got into the saddle again. The trail left the river there and started up the side of a mountain. About half way up, we came to a small log across the trail which our little pack horse refused to step over. I tried to coax her with a little stick, but instead of going ahead, she reared up and fell down on her side. The weight of the pack pulled her over and she began to roll down the steep hill side. She went clear over twice before she could get a footing. We thought our horse and pack were gone sure, but when she got up the pack was still on. Just one rope had slipped, and after fixing that, we started to lead her up to the trail. We had to cut a couple of logs to clear the way, and when almost to the top, she slipped and fell again, this time with the pack under a big log. We had to unpack to let her get up, and after that she wouldn't move an inch either way. We tried every scheme we could think of, but it was no use. Our little Rosey had turned to a statue. We even took the other horses up the trail out of sight, thinking she might follow. She whinnied a few times but never moved an inch. There was nothing to do but to leave her, so we packed one of the other horses and walked up the trail about half a mile onto a large plateau. This was Illahee, an open country of several hundred acres that is almost level. Many years ago the Indians used to come there from miles around to match against each other in their sports. It was a pretty place, all covered with grass, with a tall pine or a large oak here and there. -8- When we got off to unpack, we found the ground just red with wild strawberries. They were the finest we had ever seen. Some were as large as tame ones. We were hungry and soon forgot our troubles in trying to get our fill of them. After picking about half a gallon to take with us, we decided to go back and see how our little horse was getting along. We had been calling her Rosy O'Grady, but thought that Rolly O'Gradie was much more appropriate now. Before we got down to where she was, we heard her bell and were glad she had moved. We found that she had not come up to the trail, however, but had gone down deeper into the canyon she was over her stubborn spell, and after leading her around logs for a while, we managed to get her to the trail. But Before leaving home, they told us not to try to ride her as she wasn't broke yet, but we had to punish her in some way, so I got on. I kept my eye open for a soft place to light, but although she humped up her back several times, she didn't try to throw me. Perhaps she felt sore from her fall, and no doubt it was lucky for me that she did. We got back to our horses, and packed up in a hurry as it was almost noon and we were five miles from our dinner stopping place. The first mile was fine riding as it was all open and level, and we were feeling good because we got out of that scrape so easy. It all seemed funny then, and we were glad it happened as it gave us some excitement. Soon we came to the end of Illahee and started down. Such a trail! It was the steepest yet, and so rough that we thought we must surely be on the wrong one until we reached the bottom and saw the suspension bridge. The scenery around there was great. To our left was Eagle Rock which rises over a thousand feet above the river. Where the trail goes around its base it is not very steep, but farther up it is straight up and down. Behind it was Rattlesnake Peak, a cone shaped mountain about the same height. It must have been named for its snakes as we heard some in the rocks near its base. Up the river we saw two or three tall slender rocks that stood up like fingers. -9- After crossing the bridge we started to climb again, this time back and forth across the face of a cliff-like mountain. The trail made nineteen zigzags before we got to the top. But when we did get there, it was certainly worth our climb. There couldn't be a park any prettier. The grass was as thick and green as any law, and there were large oaks and tall pines scattered all over it. Here and there little creeks ran along the surface. They didn't cut into ditches as most mountain streams, but on account of the country being level and the rocks close to the surface, the water ran along the top of the ground. We stopped under a big pine and unpacked for dinner. In such beautiful surroundings and with strawberries and cream for desert, we surely enjoyed that meal. However, we didn't stop but a little while as it was getting along in the middle of the afternoon, and we had seven or eight miles to go before dark. For an hour we rode through this same park-like scenery, then got into the timber again. About six o'clock we came to Big Camas. That is a large opening consisting of about two or three hundred acres of rather swampy land. It was covered with tall coarse grass. We were surprised to find so many people there. There was a party of five or six from Eastern Oregon, and a fellow from Ft. Klamath. The latter was a packer who guided people through the mountains. He was there looking for summer camps where there would be plenty of horse feed and good hunting and fishing, so he could bring parties out later. He told us he had come around Crater Lake in the snow a few miles down from the rim, but said that it was very difficult to take the horses through. This was encouragement for us, as we knew that if he got within three miles of the lake, we could surely get there. He said, also, that the trail was pretty bad in front of us, as the snow had broken down many of the jackpines. We knew that a party of forest rangers were coming about a day behind us, so decided to stop over and fish until they got ahead, so the trail would be clear. After supper that night we made our first bread. The guide stood around and watched us use our reflector baker, and when the first pan was done, we told him to "have a biscuit". He said he just got through with his -10- supper and wasn't hungry. We told him he had better put some butter on one and try it anyway. He looked surprised and said, "Butter, I believe I will try one." He said he hadn't seen any butter for two weeks. When he was through eating it, he looked surprised again and said, "Why that was good." We wondered what he expected them to be after we had baked them in our brand now shiny reflector. Soon he brought us over some dried bear meat to trade for another biscuit and butter. He had killed two bears a few days before, and had the hides and a lot of dried meat with him. He said it was pretty lonesome to be in the hills all by himself, and wanted us to go with him up through Fish Creek Valley to Fish Lake, but we didn't see it that way. Besides, we thought he wanted our company merely to get some more of our good biscuits. He left next morning just as we were getting up. That wasn't as early as usual, as we were not going to travel that day. After breakfast we got out our fishing tackle and went over to Fish Creek, about half a mile away. It is one of the best fishing streams in the State, but that was rather early to catch many. There were enough to make it interesting though. We had fished for an hour or so and had caught quite a string, when suddenly it began to grow dark overhead. I knew something was going to happen, so started down stream to where Gib was fishing. I hadn't gone but about a hundred yards when it began to hail, and I' never saw such hail-stones in my life. They were over an inch in diameter, and every one that hit felt like a brick. Right in front was a big log lying across the rocks. I got under that and looked around for Gib. There he was, down stream Just a little ways, so I "hollered" for him to come to shelter. I might just as well have yelled at the moon, as by that time the hail was rattling down so fast that it sounded like thunder. Gib scrambled up the bank into the timber, but did n't find much shelter there as the hail-stones came down with such force that they stripped all the leaves and small branches off the trees. It lasted about twenty minutes, but seemed like two hours. Gib was not so for- -11- tunate as I, and was wet to the skin all over. It didn't make much difference though, for when we started to camp the brush was so wet that I got soaked as bad as he. The hail was about three inches deep on the level, and some places where it rolled down hill was over a foot. Although it spoiled our day for fishing, we really enjoyed it. It was something different, and that was what we came to the hills for, a change. We plodded along, laughing and throwing hall-stones all the way. When we got to camp we had to almost dig up our little tent. We scooped the hall away all around it so it wouldn't melt and run inside. Then we built a fire. It surely was a fire too. There were plenty of logs and fir bark all around, so we kept putting it on until we had a pile four feet high and about ten feet long. We made a clothes line and hung out the saddle blankets, bed clothes, and everything else that got wet. Then we stood around in our overcoats while our own clothes dried. In the evening the forest rangers came to their cabin up at the other end of the opening, so after supper we started up to pay them a visit. On the way we ran on to a little spike buck. When we first saw it, it was about forty feet away, and it stood and looked at us for two or three minutes, then slowly walked into the brush. It must have known that our guns were back at camp. Probably it was best for us that they were, as it was out of season and right in sight of the forest rangers. They are all game wardens. When we got to the cabin we told them about it and asked if they were not going to leave next morning, that we needed fresh meat. They were a fine bunch of fellows, and we talked for over an hour before starting back. They said that where they were at noon it hadn't hailed a bit, but that they saw plenty of it in the last mile or two. It had beaten the grass down and was still two or three inches thick all over the ground. In going back to camp we saw the deer again and almost walked up to it before it moved. Then it just walked off as if it was in no hurry. It was dark when we got to our tent and we went to bed quite early. Next morning there was a heavy mist falling, almost like rain, so we built up a big fire of bark and stayed in camp. -12- The forest rangers told us we should go down to see the big falls in the North Umpqua, so after dinner we started out. We rode for two miles on the trail to Diamond Lake, then took another that went toward the river. It led through a dense forest of very large trees, many of them over six feet through. We soon got to where we could hear the river below us, but there was still a mile of zigzag trail down to it. We decided to leave our horses at the top because it was a hard climb up and down, so taking our guns and camera, we were soon to the river. We crossed the bridge and found a sign pointing down stream that said, "Umpqua River Falls One Half Mile." We thought that must be some falls - - one half mile, so started down to find it. The sign being on that side of the river we expected to find some kind of a trail there, but were not very long in finding out different. We scrambled over rocks and down and up the sides of little ravines for about half an hour. By that time we thought we must be there as we heard a roaring sound below us, so went down the steep bank to where we could see the water. It was great. Straight down below us the river plunged through a narrow gorge. As far as we could see both ways, it was a mass of roaring foam. At first we thought this was the falls and took some pictures, but then remembered that the rangers said the river fell over a bluff, so we followed it on down. At Soon we came to where it fell over, and could hear the deep roar below. By holding on to small bushes and rocks we scrambled along the side of the bluff until we came to a little canyon leading down to the river. Its sides were straight up and down, but by hanging on to a little tree, we managed to let ourselves to the bottom. Following this to the river channel, we could then look up at the falls. The whole river rushes out from that deep gorge and falls onto the rocks eighty feet below. It makes such a spray that one cannot see the lower half at all. We watched it for at least thirty minutes, then took some pictures and started up. We found that even more difficult than coming down. The little tree we -13- had used to get down gave way with Gib, and he slid back several yards before he could get hold enough on the rocks to stop. We got back to the bridge at last, tired, but glad we had gone that way. From the trail on the other side it is impossible to get down to the water, so we got a much better view of the falls. After climbing the mile of zigzag trail, we got on our horses and were in camp at seven o'clock. We surely had a good appetite for supper, and many a little trout fried good and brown, took its last dive that night. Next morning we broke camp early, and started for Diamond Lake just behind the rangers. They were going to clear the trail half way that day. We passed them in about an hour and had to cut several logs ourselves. Every one that we could get around we left for the rangers. All morning we rode through long straight avenues cut out of the jack-pines. They were about eight feet wide and some were straight for three or four miles. When almost to our dinner stop our pack horse got it into her head that she had been acting too good for the last couple of days, so layed down and rolled on our pack. The day before we had cooked a large bucket of beans to take to Diamond Lake with us, because there the elevation is so high that it is almost impossible to cook them. When we unpacked at noon we found the bucket bent double, but most all the beans were still in it. We stopped about an hour, and before we got packed up again the rangers had caught up. As they had nothing but a cold lunch we gave them what coffee we had left, and bid the goodbye. They told us to leave a few logs in the trail for them, as they would be up that way some time later. That afternoon was fine. The sun came out bright and shined down through the big trees, for we had gotten out of the jack-pines and were in the forest again. On both sides of the trail the rhododendrons were in full bloom. It made a perfect picture. We crossed a creek about every mile. Some had bridges and others we had to ford. One stream we crossed three times as it wound back and forth. -14- About half past six we got to Diamond Lake, and who do you suppose was waiting for us there? The whole mosquito family I think. They gave us and the horses a warm reception for a couple of hours. Before we put shoo-fly on the horses they were such a solid mass of mosquitoes that you couldn't tell what color they really were. They looked a dark grey instead of bay. We didn't get much rest ourselves until dark. I guess They couldn't find us then. Diamond Lake is an oblong or diamond shaped lake about six miles long and two miles wide. We were close to one end of it, and directly across was Old Bailey. It is a large mountain, snow capped the year round. The snow line was then almost to its base. We made our camp that night down close to the water's edge, and after supper built up a big fire. It threw its light out onto the lake and made a beautiful scene. But the prettiest was when the moon came up. It rose down at the lower end of the lake, and every little wave reflected the light, making a bright path from one end clear to the other. We could see Mt. Bailey across, and the moon shining on its snow covered slopes made it loom up larger than ever. I wish we could have taken a picture as it looked then. We sat and watched it for at least two hours. Next morning we left part of our pack, so as to make better time, and started to Crater. The first five miles were along the shore of the lake, and the trail was fine. On both sides the grass was thick and green. Mixed in with it everywhere were wild violets, some purple and some yellow. They made the air smell like a florist shop. After leaving the lake we struck an old wagon road, and as I remembered riding along one when I was there before, we followed it for about a mile. Then we could tell by the sun that we were going in the wrong direction, so had to turn back. We hunted around for some time looking for the other road, but found it at last and started to ascend the divide between the two lakes. -15- As we kept getting higher we saw patches of snow along both sides of the road. We could see Mt. Thielson a few miles to our left. It is another high mountain, with a very sharp peak at the top. This peak is known as the Cow Horn, it is so tall and slender. When we got to where we could look across the country and see the snow covered points that make the rim of Crater Lake, we watched very close for the sign board that showed us where to turn off. We must have gone five miles past the place before we turned back. Then we watched again, but no sign. There is but one way to get through, and we thought by cutting off we might be able to strike the trail over where it was plainer. There is really no trail leading off from the road as it is quite open and every one turns off at a different point, gradually drifting into one path later. We could see the rim rocks, so we headed straight for them. When we got about two miles from the road we came to a place where the logs were too thick to take the horses any farther, so got off and started to look for the trail on foot. We kept on in the same line about two miles more without seeing any sign of it. Then we decided to branch off in different directions, as we might be quite close and traveling parallel to the trail. After arranging to signal each other by firing one shot if we couldn't find our way back, and two if we found the trail, we started, Gib going directly toward the sun and I away from it. This would have been alright if we had kept it up, and we could have retraced our steps to the place of starting, but each of us saw places where we thought the trail might be, and when we started back we were more than half a mile out of line. In that jack pine country there are no large trees to use as landmarks. They are all alike and thick enough so that the only direction we could see was straight up. Pretty soon I heard a shot that sounded miles away. I tell you it was a cheerful sound after wandering around all alone for an hour. I answered and started in that direction. Soon we signaled again. This time it sounded closer, and after a few more we were together. But which way now to go to our horses? It had clouded up and we couldn't tell exactly where the sun was to get our directions. We started in what we supposed was the -16- right way and walked about two hours, listening every few minutes for the sound of horse bells. Soon we got up onto a little raised place where we could see out. Right in front of us was Diamond Lake. We had left it a long ways behind that morning, so knew that we were several miles from the horses. We could see Mt. Thiel son and a small mountain near it that we knew the road went around, so thought the safest plan would be to go back to it and track the horses from there. After walking in that direction about an hour we found the tracks and followed them a mile to the horses. How good it did feel to sit in the saddle again after four or five hours of wandering around. It was almost dark; in half an hour we couldn't see horse tracks. Then we would have had to lay out all night without any supper and no bed clothes, and that surely was a fearful night. We started back to the road, thinking we would find a pile of snow and camp near it for the night, as there was no other water close. We didn't have to look very long for snow. I guess it was looking for us, as we soon ran into a whole bank of it in the shape of a blizzard. How that snow did blow! We rode in for about a mile, finally stopping in a clump of trees that looked like they would make good shelter for the horses. We were almost frozen. Our hands were so cold and stiff that we couldn't untie the ropes on the pack for a long time. We fed the horses some grain, built up a big fire, put up our tent and cooked supper. All this time the wind howled through the trees and blew snow all over everything. We tried to catch enough in our tin plates to make coffee, but it was blowing so hard that very little of it hit the ground. We got enough to make one cup between us. It wasn't a very pleasant meal, but we ate and said nothing as we were both thankful that we had found the horses before it started to snow. We made our bed and crawled into it as soon as possible. -17- By morning the storm had passed, but there was still plenty of snow on the ground. When we went to look for the horses we couldn't find but one. We had never tied the pack horse for she wouldn't stray away alone, but one of the others had broken loose and the two had gone off together. We couldn't find any tracks on account of the snow, but supposed they had gone back to Diamond Lake where the feed was good. There we were, stranded, with only one pack horse and two extra saddles besides all our pack. It was rather discouraging, but we made up our minds to put all the things on the one horse and walk back to Diamond Lake. If we didn't find our horses there, we were going to leave our pack and walk to Crater the next day anyhow. Since we had gone that far we just had to see the Lake. Walking was fine that morning and we made the four miles in a little over an hour. When almost there we heard the bells of our other horses ahead. That cheered us up in a hurry. We took our pack up near the rangers cabin and started out after them. To find them wasn't much trouble, but to catch them was another thing. They seemed to enjoy their liberty and every time we got within fifty feet they would gallop away, so we went out around and drove them toward the ranger's corral. We tried every way we could think of to get them in, but they were too wise. That other name was nothing compared with what we would have called them if we had expressed our thoughts just then. We backed off, held a council of war, and thought out a new plan of attack. I got on the old horse and rode out around the other two a couple of times, then headed straight for the corral. It worked; the little pack horse fell in behind and followed me right in. The other one wasn't so easily trapped, but stood outside and whinnied for a long time. At last it came in too. So far so good, but they were not caught yet. Although the corral wasn't but about two hundred feet square, there was plenty of room for them to dodge us. We tried lassoing, but neither of us were experts at that art, so didn't have any success. Then we got out all our ropes and started to fence them in one corner. We got one that way, but the little pack horse got out -18- under the rope. We didn't care much about her as we always let her run loose. She was easily caught after we had the others. But right then and there we made a resolution that the next time we tied those horses we were going to put the hobbles on them too. It was then noon, so we had dinner, and as it was Sunday we built up a big fire and rested. We decided to make another dash for the Crater on the next day. In coming out that morning we found the old sign board that showed us the way. It had blown down so we missed it the day before. That evening we rode down to the other end of Diamond Lake for the balance of our provisions, as we were about out. In coming back we saw a fellow with seven or eight pack horses, and found that he was packer for some sheep men, who were bringing a band of sheep from Eastern Oregon to graze along the lake shores. We got everything ready for an early start in the morning, and went to bed. At half past four we were up, and were on the way by half past six. We found the trail without much trouble, and put up some new sign boards we had painted and brought along. Any one could find the way after we got through, as we blazed every tree we could find. About nine o'clock we came to a desert about three miles across. It was nothing but sand and pumice, with here and there a patch of snow about a foot deep. People have taken large pieces of this pumice and formed their initials in the sand along the sides of the trail. Some have been there seven or eight years, and although the snow must get ten or fifteen feet deep in winter, not a rock has been moved. They are as plain as the day they were put there. After crossing the desert the trail led into the Jack-pines again, and we couldn't go very far on account of the snow. It was three or four feet deep in places, and where there was an old log or tree, it would break through with the horses. So we tied up, took a lunch and our camera, and started for the lake on foot. -19- Soon we were out in the open again, ascending the slope to the rim of the Crater. It was quite difficult to walk as the snow was in waves, with a ditch about two feet deep between each one. It must have been thirty or forty feet deep in places, as all the little gulches were filled up level with the surrounding country. We didn't dig down to see, but could tell pretty well by the tree tops that were sticking up here and there. We cut branches and dropped them along so we could find our way back. It seemed that we would never get there, but after two hours of slipping and sliding we got to a low place in the rim, and could look down on Crater Lake about a thousand feet below. The atmosphere was quite clear and we could see the peaks all around the lake. Instead of being six or seven miles across, it looked about one. The water had a purple color, except along the shores and shallow places where it shaded off into a bright green. It is certainly a wonderful sight. We took some pictures, and ate our lunch on a big flat rock on which we painted our names and the date, July 1st. Then, after a last good look, we started back to our horses, as it was clouding up and we thought that was no place for us if it started to snow again. It was much easier walking coming back, as it was all down hill and we would slide a foot or two every step. We found our way easily as far as we had marked it with branches, but after that we were lost. With ten or fifteen square miles of jackpines, all alike, it was pretty hard to find a particular spot. We decided to separate, and if neither of us found the horses before we got to the desert, we could track them back from there. In about an hour I found the tracks, and was almost to them when I heard a shot from Gib's revolver. I hurried along and got my gun off the saddle and answered. He knew at once that I had found them, as I didn't have a gun with me, so he wasn't long in getting there. We packed up in a hurry and started back to Diamond Lake. It was well that we got out of that country, as from what a sheep herder told us next day it snowed four inches that night. We made good time -20- coming back. I guess the horses knew they were on the road home. Arriving at camp about half past six, we found we had company. Two fellows from Crescent, Eastern Oregon, were there with a wagon load of provisions for the sheep camps. Next morning we were up early and started back to Big Camas. When we got to Watson Creek we went down to see the falls. It was about a mile of scrambling through brush, but when we got there it was well worth the trouble. The creek falls over a bluff three hundred feet high and makes a noise like thunder on the rocks below. The spray was very pretty as it drifted out over the tops of the large firs and pines that grow at its base. For miles the bluff is straight up and down, so we couldn't get down to take a good picture of it. We snapped one from a point of rock at one side and returned to our horses. We got to Big Camas about half past seven and camped near the ranger's cabin. When we first got there we saw a large deer feeding not a hundred feet away. After it saw us it jumped around a little, then ran off into the trees. We spent most of the next morning there, and went fishing in Fish Creek in the afternoon. About four o'clock we packed up and came down to Oak Flats. That is the park-like country that we thought was so pretty on our way up. The sun was just setting when we got there and it was beautiful. During the next two days, Thursday and Friday, we took our time, riding about fifteen miles each. On Saturday we got to Rock Creek, and as we were getting back into civilization again, we stopped at noon to clean up a little. We shaved for the first time in two weeks. It made us feel much lighter and was easier getting through the brush after we lost our whiskers. About two o'clock we started for Glide and had another funny little incident to close our trip. I had been leading the pack horse, when suddenly she stopped in the middle of the road. My horse kept going, and -21- I held on to the rope until it pulled me out of the saddle. As it did, my saddle turned on the horse and swung around underneath. He got frightened at once and started down the road as fast as he could run. The pack horse made about two jumps to follow, but I still had hold of the rope. If it had got loose, we would have found our pack all along the road, as they would never have stopped running until they got home, four miles below. Gib was about fifty yards ahead, and he caught my horse as it tried to get by. Nothing was hurt, not even the camera that was hanging to the saddle. We laughed all the way to Glide. It was the first excitement we had had for two or three days, and we needed something to "wind up" our trip. We stopped at Little River until the next noon, then came home. I don't think that either of us ever enjoyed a vacation as we did that trip, and I believe it won't be a great while until we will be ready for another like it. It seems to have a fascination that one can not resist, hasn' it Gib? Photo 1 - Gilbert Finlay (left) and Jack Wharton (right) 1912? Photo 2 - These two horses in front of Crater Lake were from a separate trip. Photo 3a - I believe Gilbert took this photo of Jack with Mt Thielsen in the background, 1912 Photo 3b - I believe Gilbert took this photo of Jack at the bottom of Toketee Falls in 1912.